Madhavi Sood‘s first published poetry collection, ‘From the Silence Within‘ came out a while back. The poetess has had a versatile professional life having worked as a computer instructor, teacher, programmer, entrepreneur, and consultant. She enjoys travelling, trekking, gardening, swimming and canoeing.
BTL got the opportunity to interview her.
Q. First question is why did you choose poetry as your medium of expression? Why not prose?
Actually this book was conceived and I started working on it long back- some ten to fifteen years ago. I just took the written poems out of my closet basically. I had been writing them for a very long time, but at that time I did not have the courage to put them forth and I did not think they were not worth publishing. I had this near-death experience which completely changed my outlook.
I remember passing through a huge, long, dark tunnel- going towards a brilliant, radiant light. I had never seen that before in my life. It suddenly began to feel warm. After this experience, I began to write more poetry. Earlier, I used to pen on and off, but whatever I expressed were my feelings; whatever I have felt in life or seen someone going through- I have penned it down.
Q. In India normally, poetry as a form of writing is not that encouraged, unlike the West. So why did you choose poetry? Why not write a novel and then move on to poems?
I have written a novel, but I have been unable to give it a good ending. It’s still in a manuscript mode and I am looking for a publisher. It’s going to be some what related to the experiences that I have undergone because I have been very inclusive. Coming to the second part of your question, I agree that in India, poetry deserves more attention. But then, I think we all know of Gurdev Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize winner (Gitanjali). We must encourage more poetry. That is the reason I thought that poetry would gain recognition and everything else would follow.
Q. Do you write on a daily basis? If so, how many hours do you devote to it in a day?
I try to pen down on a daily basis, but when I sit down I write with my heart. Sometimes, it can go for hours- when I am travelling to different places. Basically, I try to write my feelings down and it’s difficult to say as to how many hours I spend on this each day (laughs). That depends on my mood. I get up early morning around five as that is the time I am very bright and energetic.
I feel that I have come back for some purpose. Everybody doesn’t get a second chance. There are lots of things to do yet in life. My doctor and my father pushed me towards this and this, I feel, is just a small beginning. They read my poems and they couldn’t believe that I had written these poems!
Q. You have mentioned that this book is ‘The book of poems volume 1’. So, when can we expect the second and the forthcoming volumes to come out?
Yes, they are around a hundred and fifty more poems based on similar, inspiring stuff which are unpublished. You see, I had to inspire myself to move. To tell myself to get up and work. Also, as I said before, a novel is in the making. It is a romantic adventure, and has a little of paranormal activities and more to do with dreams, reality and courage. I am not sure that I want to discuss more about it now.
Q. Okay, moving on. So who is your favorite author in any genre, be it Indian or otherwise, and why so?
Any genre? Well, I like Robin Sharma and Paulo Coelho as they write really good, inspiring pieces of work. In science fiction, I like Dan Brown. Also, I used to be a great fan of Agatha Christie but now I have not been able to make the time to sit down and read. Of course, we grew up with Enid Blyton (laughs).
Q. Any suggestions or advice that you’d like to give to aspiring writers or poets?
Yes, of course. Well, there are two important aspects of writing to be kept in mind while doing so. One is, you have to keep adding to your work. You have to keep writing! Even if it is some silly thought of yours, write it down, no matter what. Even if you feel sometimes that you are blocked, you take a little time off writing and enjoy what you do. It can be simple things like listening to music, dance or it can be anything – even taking a walk outside in the park and see the children playing, it will sooth you down immediately. You know, you can even sit down and press clothes, some people find it very relaxing. I also like to do that; put on some music and press clothes.
The second aspect here is that one should read. Read different pieces of work. You see, the more you read, the more ideas you get and, you begin to gain knowledge of what kind of things people appreciate. You get familiar with the style of writing and you sometimes feel that yes, I can also do this. That inspires me. And, moreover, what one writes should come from the heart. That is very important as then only, we can reach out to the larger audience. You can never dream of something else and write something else. Whatever I have told is matter of fact. Just matter of fact.
Ushnav is basically from Mumbai and spiritually from Trivandrum. He spends his time juggling between an engaging life at SIMC, Pune and thinking of and putting down ideas for short stories and his novel. He is a ‘poetic photographer’ and a thespian of words.
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