‘…But to write to touch a reader’s soul and to write in a manner that one never forgets what you wrote will only be possible if you write what you have lived.’ Says the author Priyanka Sharma Kaintura.
Today we are going to interact with the author, who have made a quintessential debut with her anecdotic book ‘My jiffies’.
1. Welcome to our blog; Kindly introduce yourself to our readers and your journey towards becoming a writer.
Thank you, Sheetal. My childhood was spent in various cities and towns of India because of the nature of my father’s job. This not only taught me to accept a new beginning every few years but also gave me a window to people from various beliefs and values. These movements gave me the plinth for a regional and cultural contextualization of thought processes.
In addition to this, my uninterrupted conversations with my father laid the foundation of the woman that I am today. The walks with him in our small-town-big-house and across the town, brimming with observations of the world are fairly visible in My Jiffies.
The other two key contributors to my flair for storytelling are my grandmothers – both maternal & paternal. My grandma used to put me to sleep every night by telling me stories, a new one every night by diktat. This single-handedly set my basics into Hindu mythology which lends to my writing a very distinctive expression. And my maternal grandmother met me every few years and told me ever awe-inspiring tales from her own life. Her influence revealed to me the transience of life and emotions of varied types.
In my husband, I found an ‘intellectual-courter’ and the conversations only became richer with world history, politics, business, and spirituality. Adding to all this, my work-life has been about drawing observations and deriving correlations for business, fostering a perpetual spectator in me. This aptitude eventually changed everything for me.
2. The stories which you have written around ‘Shiva’ are insightful; can you tell us more about this?
Shiva is an enigma. Mythologists world over are working on the mystery called Shiva. What is Shiva to me? To me, Shiva is a philosophy. Of course, he may have been a far more evolved being from elsewhere. Far greater and powerful than we can ever imagine, enlightened and erudite with a defined purpose. The purpose that he perhaps shared with other trinity members! The purpose of seeding humans on earth, raising them and helping them set certain processes.
He could be still there somewhere, given time is not a dimension everywhere like on earth. He came to earth, lived in a desolate and low on oxygen place like Kailash. Or did he build the Kailash Mountain with his companions? Ganas his companions who could only be comprehended by Shiva. He traveled in the interstellar like it’s nothing much. The chief yogi that this cosmos has ever seen, the most passionate lover that the world knows of, the dispassionate destroyer and many more such titles belong to Shiva.
If I may say, he is the biggest rock star this world has ever known. Which is why we titled him ‘God-of-Gods’ (Mahadev). To cut the long story short, as I said in my story What Makes Shiva So Desirable – His minimalism complemented his completeness.
3. Each story depicts a different essence, which is your favorite among them?
I wouldn’t be able to pick one but all those stories that unabashedly illustrate the barefacedness of an emotion are closest to my heart. The Housecoat which was amongst the first few I wrote; Lily & Tulsi for its narration of unfettered love, Disappearing Memory of Partition for its longing to appreciate the inheritance, Red Rain, I Savour That and Hurricane Katrina for their sensuality of simplicity, The Young Mango Tree for Radhika’s triumph in despair, The Nine Shades of Durga for the juxtaposition of the supreme in normal. And I can go on…
4. Is there any story in the book, which you think could be a novel?
Never thought about it! Your question brings to my mind a story which is from my own childhood and has the potential. Perhaps the novel can tell my life so far and trust me there were quite a few adventures. Or ‘The Young Mango Tree’ which too has the potential.
5. ‘The nine shades of Durga’ is an impeccable work of yours, from where did you get the idea for this?
The nine shades of Durga, one of the most loved sections of ‘My Jiffies’ emerged from a single desire of recognizing Durga in everyday women. I do not want to propagate that every woman can be Durga as it takes a lot to be what Durga stands for. But having said that, Durga can very well be found in ordinary women, when put in extraordinary situations. And one can watch a woman turn into Durga if you have the eye to find Durga. These nine stories do just that. They are an attempt to show Durga in her nine different shades, dazzling in nine different everyday women.
6. Any anecdotic book, which is your favorite and you recommend us to read.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It changed the way I looked at things. Must read!
7. How much time did you spend to write this book?
I have been penning my fragmented thoughts. And as I met more people and more situations, my observations became wider. Most of my stories were met with a response which told me that these observations are striking a chord with my readers. And that’s because they find themselves in the story. I learned that it was quite like I was telling their untold musings. That is when the idea for the book came about. I decided to reach out to more.
The observations are continuing and My Jiffies are being rolled out even after the book.
8. What is the best compliment you have received for your book so far?
There have been a few very interesting ones but the best is still to come. I haven’t jumped on my bed yet!
9. Apart from writing, what are your other hidden passions?
I am so passionate that I border on being devilish.
10. What is the hardest and easiest part of writing?
To write. And to write.
For a writer, thoughts, plots, and words come easy. A thought may enter your mind and soon it will flow on a piece of paper. Easy peasy!
But to write to touch a reader’s soul and to write in a manner that one never forgets what you wrote will only be possible if you write what you have lived. The writer has to believe that he is living the plot and be consumed in it and go through the drudge of emotions he is writing about, even if he has never been through that emotion ever in his own life.
If my subject is let’s say – depression, the reader must wonder if I am myself suffering from depression that I wrote the way I wrote. Unless they do, no amount of crafty writing will make them sit up.
11. Tell us about your future projects.
Writing is a journey which will continue. In the course of this excursion, I cannot predict what I will run into. I have a few book structures in my mind that I am toying with, it could be all poetry, or a love story or something mythological. I would really like my readers to stay tuned. Still better if they tell me what book they would want from me!
12. What is a one thing you learnt while writing this book?
Here is what I learned and then penned down:
“That’s the thing with owning a place in a writer’s heart
There is profound intimacy of mind, body, and soul
Where you are thoroughly explored
And then you never die”
13. A billion dollar advice for aspiring writers.
When you are a writer with a dream of putting together something beautiful, you miss seeing some things till they reveal themselves to you. In nutshell – a good book can be different from a successful book.
Thank you so much author Priyanka Sharma Kaintura, for giving an insightful view on your book and on writing. I hope this would be a source of a great deal of inspiration for our readers. It was a pleasure interviewing you! 🙂
Read full book review of ‘My jiffies’ here
Wanted to read this book, why not grab it from here,