Interview: Astha Suneja, author of ‘Yes, I Flaunt My Diamond’by Bastab Chakraborty on Jul 11, 2012 • 9:57 AM No Comments
Astha Suneja, a Leo, was born in Ranchi. An engineer from BIT, Mesra, she is presently working for TCS as a Marketing Executive. She has written two books, writes poetry, is a content developer and a designer. A ‘jill’ of many trades, BTL finally managed to catch her for an interview.
1. Both of your books, ‘Owe You My Fate’ and ‘Yes, I Flaunt My Diamond’, are essentially journeys of self discovery made by the main character, aided by a secondary one. How important has self discovery been in your life?
Exploring oneself is the most important part of life. Several times people say that they are not confident. There is no rule for getting that confidence. The only thing that can make you confident and successful is knowing yourself.
Be it talent that you have or fear that you want to overcome, be it happiness that you feel or problems that trouble you – it is essential to know all of these. Most of us are often involved in analyzing the situation or analyzing others. The focus of giving time to oneself is often lost. I wanted to bring back that focus through both the novels.
2. The main character in ‘Owe You My Fate’, Janvi, is an engineer who moves on to become involved in a diverse career, much like you. In what other ways have your characters been influenced by your personality?
I feel a person writes either his experiences or imagination. Several times our experiences itself lead us to our imagination. Observation gives experiences and experiences lead to imagination. That is the reason several of my traits reflect in one or many characters. Looking at life from a different perspective, living all relations well and doing justice to one’s life, exploring oneself by giving a chance and making the best out of all the moments by giving value to feelings are some of them.
3. On your website, you have said that rain has been a strong motivation behind your book, ‘Owe You My Fate’. Could you throw a little light on the topic?
It’s the monsoons now and the rain is already spreading its magic. A very simple answer would be that – rains make me happy. Going beyond this simple expression, I think it is more about me getting very happy when it rains. There are several things in our lives that are magical. It is only about feeling that happiness. Freedom of mind and feelings is the key. If you give that freedom to yourself – you would start feeling the magic.
Imagination and creativity is driven by happiness. I love to sit on the rooftop when the rain drops hit my hands. I love to walk under the umbrella when it rains, when the water slides down and falls on my feet. I love to stand by the window on dark nights when the drizzle hit my face and I feel the magic.
4. I read in an earlier interview that you have an avid interest in poetry, and you write verses for greeting cards. What is the inspiration behind your love for poetry?
Poetry is something that has the power to touch all hearts. When simple words are placed together so that they convey the right feeling, it amuses us. If you ask me about inspiration, I would say my own aspirations have become my inspiration.
When you have a lot of desires and when you keep on reinventing your desires, you don’t need much inspiration. The entire thought process and the feelings get generated because you think of ways that would bring you happiness. We all have the ability of thinking about problems and getting sad. It’s always good to think about achievements and get happy.
5. How easy/hard was it, writing your first book? Being an employee at a multinational company must have taken its toll. What were/are the challenges that you face when you sit down to write?
It was a very difficult journey for the first novel. But, it’s said that the true taste of success is not that good unless it’s spiced with failures. It was a great experience and learning. I got to know more of myself in the process. I lived it well!
Work is not a burden. It’s a decision that we make. We work because we have to work and we are ready to work. Living your passion is something that you wish for! It is something that brings satisfaction and happiness. I think it would be unfair to mix the two. My work gives me new experiences and learning each day. Without them, I can’t write.
6. On your website, you have said,
“There is a lot to learn in life. We are at the smallest stage of it. Until we fail. We win. We lose. We accept. We fall. We rise. We see. We Feel. It’s not at all possible to explore life. So give it a chance.”
Looking back at your journey, what are the changes that you see in yourself, as an author and as a person? How much of life would you say that you have explored?
These are those lines which are very close to my heart and to my life. I have failed many times in life. I have fallen and risen several times. I have had lots of experiences and I have evolved. With every new chance that I gave to myself, I discovered something new about myself – my reactions, feelings, determination and thoughts. I have several new dreams to see several new things, to visit several places, to explore life in different ways. I have explored little but I want to explore a lot more.
7. Apart from writing, what are the other things that you enjoy doing? Do you see those ‘hobbies’ influencing your work someday?
Apart from writing, I read. I feel that we can live our lives five times our real age if we read books. They bring us experiences that we have not lived. I love to travel. It motivates me a lot. I go for motivational talks in various organizations and educational institutes. It is a great experience to talk with people and know their ideas on life.
Excellence vs. success, is something very often spoken of. I sincerely follow the same. I excel in all those activities because I am interested in them. I am not result oriented but desire oriented. Keeping that in mind, I can’t necessarily say if they might influence my work.
But, yes success follows excellence.
8. At the end of the day, when you sit back and look at your achievements, are you satisfied or is there still an itch somewhere to do something more?
I cherish the achievements and share the happiness with my friends. However, I can’t say that I am satisfied to the extent of not doing anything new. There is a concept in my first book and something that I often speak about – Frog in the heart! It’s that frog that keeps on jumping. It’s something new every time that you want to do and you keep on thinking about it. Extra enthusiasm and excitement to discover the undiscovered keeps me happy!