Sridevi Datta

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Hello Sridevi, thank you for being a part of IWI’s Incredible Women Writers of India 2016, and sharing your journey as a writer. 

How would you define yourself?

A moody writer, complex human being and a loving mother.

What was your childhood like? Any incidents form your growing up years that shaped you as a person?

My childhood was a normal, sorted childhood. Pressure to work hard, score well in exams, a dash of sibling rivalry, friends, fun. The works.  After tenth, I opted for science. Sometime in twelfth, I realized I was not cut out for science. So shifted to commerce. Accountancy and economics excited me more than any other subject. However after a corporate stint, I realized that nothing could bring me deeper satisfaction than writing. Ironically, impermanence has been a constant factor in my life. That said, I don’t have any complaints against it.

When did your journey as a writer/poet begin?

Both my parents are writers, my mother being the more prolific of the two. She would tell stories, make them up and read out the ones by her favorite authors. I loved how the very act of storytelling would transform her. From a diminutive woman, she would morph into this excited, garrulous  little person.

But I guess the seed got germinated, when one day I stumbled upon the “little plots notebook” and “Submission status sheets” maintained by mother. One in yellow and the other in white. One symbolizing beginnings. The other progress. To me they were an integral part of story-telling. Or the story itself.

Again being the quietest girl in the class  helped. I could observe things, while making myself invisible. My interpretations were mine alone. There was a certain pride in that alone-ness.

As for poetry, I guess my journey began when I delightedly penned, “The lazy cat snored on the dirty mat”(No… I actually don’t remember what I wrote, but it had a ridiculous sense of rhyme J )  at around six  years of age and showed it to my equally ecstatic mother, who told me to complete it so that we might send it to the newspaper. It’s another matter that I never got to complete it. J But poetry, with all its quirks and sense of incompleteness stayed with me.

Do you have a muse? If yes, who or what acts as a catalyst to your writing?

Life, life and life. Nothing like the chaos and silence of life to get your writing muscles all pumped up.

Do you plan your work or just go with the flow?

Ummm. That “Plots notebook” again.  No I don’t really plan it out in advance. I go with the flow and let the characters develop on their own. But these days,  sometimes I plan. Not as in penning down in an actual yellow notebook, but writing it all in my head before hitting the keyboard.

For you, what’s the easiest thing about writing and the hardest thing? Do you have any weird/funny writing rituals?

Characterization comes quite easy to me. I find it easy to get into the head of the character. The hardest thing is finding the right word. Especially, when I have a specific Telugu/Hindi word in mind which evokes a certain native flavor and which might not have an English equivalent.

Listening to Tibetan chants is one ritual that helps me focus all my energies on my work.

Do you get writer’s block? How do you battle it?

I get it all the time. Nothing like a brisk walk to overcome it. Cooking also helps me fight the dreaded monster. By the time the dish is ready, so am I.  My muse, monster et al.

How have you evolved as a writer ever since you started out? If you could give one advice to yourself, what would that be? What are you working on now?

When I started to write, I would be bothered about being critiqued. I used to take it as a personal affront. But now I don’t. I actively listen, when I take feedback. I try to see my writing as it might be interpreted by a lay reader.

Secondly, my previous works were mostly one dimensional. Now I try to write, while engaging the reader in all the 5 senses. Lastly, the biggest change is, I am actually completing projects.

One advice I would give myself: Overcome that self doubt. Be kind to yourself. Compassion starts with self.

My current projects..well there are three novels all in progress: A psychological horror(for the first time), A lit fiction with child sexual abuse as the central theme and another lit fiction on hope and survival.

What’s your opinion about the future of writing/ reading/publishing industry in India?

I have mixed feelings about this. While I see great talent around me, I also see impatience and hurry. Even as awe-inspiring stories are being told, I also see the “best-seller” tag being tossed around freely. There are people who swear by reading and there are people who say that marketing is the mantra. I guess we need a more balanced approach, more reading events, and writing workshops. Schools and colleges should invest more on building libraries and encouraging young minds to devour books.

One liners

Favorite food: Kadhi  chawal

Favorite book: The Wind up Bird Chronicle

Favorite Author: Jhumpa Lahri

What are you afraid of: Snakes

What makes you angry: Hypocrisy

Childhood Crush: Only one? Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar. J

 

 

Things that you cannot leave without: My wallet

Any message or advice you want to share with our readers?

Read, read and read. Never give up on yourself.

_______________________________________________________________

 

 

Sridevi’s Writing portfolio: https://sridevidatta.contently.com/

Sridevi’s Blog: http://thewritejourney.in/

 

Listening to My Child Singly

Listening to my Child Singly: http://mothersalwayswrite.com/listening-child-singly/

 

The Terrace Party

The Terrace Party: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/sridevi-datta-/the-terrace-party/

 

 _________________________________________________________

Please Note: This interview has been conducted online via emails by Rhiti Bose for IWI. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My wallet

Any message or advice you want to share with our readers?

 

Read, read and read. Never give up on yourself.

 

My Writing portfolio: https://sridevidatta.contently.com/

My Blog: http://thewritejourney.in/

Image Sources:

Listening to my Child Singly: http://mothersalwayswrite.com/listening-child-singly/

The Terrace Party: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/sridevi-datta-/the-terrace-party/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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