Read an interview with the popular Indian novelist Anita Krishan. In this interview, she answers the questions about her writing, her books including the latest one – Despite Stolen Dreams, and her future plans in writing. You will surely find it quite interesting. DO share it with others if you like what you read here.
Q. How was the transition for you, Anita, from being an educator to being an author? Why did you decide to quit education sector and then begin to write while you could do it together if you wanted?
Anita Krishan: I discovered my fervour for writing while introducing the pleasure of language and literature to my young students. Once writing became a passion, I decided to take an early retirement to devote full time to it, for I believe in giving my best to the work I undertake.
Q. How has been your journey as an author until now? What are some of the best things you would like to share with the readers?
Anita Krishan: There have been ups and downs, and there have been surprises. Isn’t that what life is all about?
After ‘Tears of Jhelum’ was published, I received a message from a well-known professor from the University of Kashmir saying, “Thank you for projecting pain of the Kashmiris.” It was a fulfilling moment for me, for the message I had intended through my book, had been received and appreciated.
After reading ‘Fluffy and Me’, a journalist sent me the following message – “I have read only two books twice in life, Animal Farm, and Fluffy and Me. But . . . I am reading Fluffy and Me for the third time.”
But, I was staggered when a young 16-year-old girl told me that she had read ‘Fluffy and Me’ 31 times. Such are the moments which make an author feel that the hard work that went into the literary enterprise has been remunerated.
Someone who had remarked how she hated Shakeel after reading ‘Tears of Jhelum’, told me that she fell in love with Shakeel after reading ‘Despite Stolen Dreams’. Such is the power of writing!
Q. You have written novels on various themes, Anita. You have also written one novel on pet, Fluff and Me and then one versatile piece like Tears of Jhelum and also the current one, Despite Stolen Dreams. How do you select your themes as an author?
Anita Krishan: Some themes are impromptu, come to the mind at the spur of the moment, while some had been lingering on always. Fluffy and Me is an autobiographical novel, based on my early life spent on the hills of Shimla.
Q. Tears of Jhelum was published almost three years or more ago. And it was the first which was followed by Despite Stolen Dreams last year. What was the major motivation behind these two novels, Anita?
Anita krishan: Like all common citizens of the world, the incidents of terrorism had affected me profoundly. I watched the world on tenterhook, and slowly integrating on the basis of religious beliefs, which was even a more alarming scenario. I realized the world needed a message on unity and brotherhood. ‘Tears of Jhelum’ became an icon for that.
Q. Because your novel exhibits a wonderful language of fiction, the readers would certainly like to know more about your idea of fiction in the terms of language. Should it be too simple or plain or a little richness should be there?
Anita Krishan: I strongly feel that the language should be rich, with the simplicity that is easily graspable for the readers.
Q. Who are your favourite authors when it comes to reading fiction? Please name a few among the contemporary as well whom you like reading.
Anita Krishan: I love Ruskin Bond’s simplicity of themes, Irving Stone’s ingenuity in telling biographical tales like in ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ or ‘Lust for Life’. Among the contemporary Indian authors, I have extensively read Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri.
Q. Talking about the contemporary fiction in India, Anita, how do you see it taking shape? How do you think we are progressing towards a global readership? And also, why do we often falter when it comes to prestigious literary prizes?
Anita Krishan: Most of the contemporary books lack originality, for I see herd-culture in many contemporary books. There is the latest trend of picking up themes from Indian mythology or history or Mills and Boons type of love stories with added erotica. It’s only once in a while that we do find refreshing and original themes or styles.
I won’t comment on the literary prizes, for it’s an area I haven’t much explored. But I do feel that many a time publishers have a hand in creating the jam by selecting non-deserving books.
Q. And at last, what are your future plans for your writing career? Will the readers see any more instalments in the current series – after Despite Stolen Dreams?
Anita Krishan: I haven’t given a serious thought to the continuation of the series, but definitely there’ll be more literary oeuvres.