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Writing is a process, not a destination: Sindhu Rajasekaran

Life&More May 2, 2019
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Saurabh Tankha

Author Sindhu Rajasekaran’s stories focus on the prismatic nature of human interactions. At the core, her stories feature femininity, love and loss with a distinct hint of melancholy. After the well-deserved recognition for her first book, Kaleidoscopic Reflections, she wrote a collection of short stories for her next venture, So I Let it Be. Her stories from this book have been featured in literary magazines including the Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong), Kitaab (Singapore) and Elsewhere Lit (USA).

We had a chat with the Chennai-born engineer-turned-author…

Tell us more about So I Let It Be…
While I was a creative writing student at the University of Edinburgh, I started writing short stories to improve my craft. But the form caught on with me, and soon I was writing more short stories instead of working on a novel (which was my original intention). Over five years, I wrote more than 12 short stories, and they somehow all evolved around a similar theme: femininity. So I Let It Be explores the spectrum of femininity. It is about 12 radically different women.

You are a trained electronics and communications engineer. Why the shift?
I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing. Academically inclined, I was also interested in science growing up. A professional engineering degree seemed like a good choice back then, to secure a future in an uncertain world. But after I became an engineer and as I was about to leave to the US for a master’s, my first novel got published. A closet-writer up to that point, I suddenly realised my true passion: writing. So I decided to get a Master’s in English – Creative Writing instead. While at Scotland, I learned to view writing as a craft, one that can be improved through practise. Since, I’ve been experimenting with the written word.

You, like your IAS-turned-director father, moved on from a professional field to enter the creative arena. Was he the inspiration behind this shift?
Yes, to a large extent. My father always encouraged me to pursue all my dreams, make my own choices and stand by them. Even if he didn’t agree with me, he always supported me in my endeavours.

You are a novelist, poet, film producer and director, all rolled into one. Which of these fields is the closest to you and why?
I think at the heart of it, I’m a storyteller. I look for new mediums through which I can express my thoughts and ideas.

Your ideas germinate from…
Everywhere and everything.

How different are you from other authors?
Very. Because no two people are the same. Quirk is everything.

What if your creative work doesn’t get good reviews (honest confession)?
It’d take it in my stride. I think of writing as a process, not a destination.

In your opinion, what is that one thing which is the most important part of a book?
Its soul.

Is writing energising or exhausting?
Energising while it lasts.

The word “creative” to you is…
To embark into the unknown.

Are authors friends with other authors or are they competitors?
They can be friends.

How much time do you write in a day?
Depends on my mood.

Do you believe in a writer’s block?
Yes, I’ve gone whole years without writing a word.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Hustling to make sense of life.

Any book that inspired you to take up writing?
Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things

What does it take to be a good storyteller?
To listen.

Do you write at home or travel to a destination for writing?
I believe that language and landscape are intimately connected. So I like to travel, to experiment with how my words transform in different places and circumstances.

Did any of your creative works get rejected by a publisher?
Yes, of course.

Do book covers matter as much as the content?
Difficult thing to answer. I’ve loved some books for their cover as much as the content, with others, the cover was immaterial.

Fiction or non-fiction…
Fiction

Favourite childhood book…
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Favourite childhood author…
Enid Blyton

Favourite book now…
Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own

Favourite author now…
Joan Didion

You are, at present, reading…
Proust

Some something about your family…
They have a sense of humour.

 

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