Monday, July 28, 2014

In Conversation with Nidhi Saxena :)

Born and brought up in Allahabad, Nidhi Saxena did her MBA from Mumbai's S.P. Jain Institute of Management Studies. She is an entrepreneur, activist in the making and a writer. Love Chameleon, her first literary endeavor perceptibly resonates her eclectic worldview and bohemian spirit. While she travels globally and has lived in Mumbai, Delhi and New York, the writer in her is at best unsettled.

Here she lets her readers know a little more about herself and her journey so far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you Nidhi Saxena:

  1. Tell us something about your book?
Love Chameleon is my labor of love. It is a collection of poems that simply lends a voice to my life’s experiences, especially those pertaining to love, which arguably is the most engaging human endeavor of all times.

  1. Why Partridge Publishing House?
This is my first book and that too in a very niche genre like poetry that is not seen as commercially viable. So going ahead with Partridge Publishers, the self-publishing arm of Penguin Random House seemed like the best bet to get the book out to the audience quickly and efficiently.

  1. What inspired you to write this particular anthology?
The book is a result of intense introspection over various questions pertaining to the nature of love, attachment, separation and pain. Love itself has been the biggest inspiration.

  1. What do you think is your biggest strength when it comes to writing?
Ms. Nidhi Saxena, At a recent launch of Love Chameleon
I believe that the biggest strength of my writing is the conviction to present the truth in its absolute naked form without any apologies whatsoever. I believe that a writer cannot just be a fence-sitter but needs to take an unequivocal stand on issues that matter -  a writer acts like the conscience of the society and takes the poison on his or her own self by exposing and thereby purging the bitter truths that are buried in deep layers of hypocrisy and denial within a society and form part of our collective pact of silence lest they become too huge a burden to carry. I have tried to do the same with my book.

The other aspects of my writing are of course technical, I like to focus on subtle nuances; the choice of words, the lyricism of the sentences, the power of imagery and impactful endings as these are vital to my craft.

  1. Share some of your interesting memories you lived while writing this book.
Waking up at 5.00 am, having a cup of strong adrak chai and get going on the book. Or sometimes, missing flight announcements or the thread of daily human chores and normal office conversations while being so lost in composing a poem and then being suddenly jolted out of my reverie. So many times, I rang the bell on my neighbors apartments one floor above or below mine thinking it was my own flat!

  1. If you were to describe your book in one line, what would it be?
The book is a chameleon, it changes color and takes you through a plethora of diverse moods and emotions, it is like unhurried love making, take it slow to truly enjoy it.
  1. What made you decide on the title of the anthology?
The title was something that came to me as soon as I started compiling the poems. The chameleon has been used as a metaphor to reflect the transient nature of love and relationships. At another level, the chameleon also reflects the insatiable nature of human desire. I couldn't think of any other title that would be more apt.

  1. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing is a necessary but extremely painful process, especially as you are not creating anything new but correcting what you have already written. A good poem usually gets composed in a single, masterful stroke and does not need much editing. It is only the mediocre works that need to be edited and sometimes you just never seem to get it right!

  1. Describe your writing style in ten words or less.
Intense, Introspective, Bold, Succinct and Sophisticated.

  1. Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing?
All my lovers... that has been my real source of inspiration and this book is clearly dedicated to them.

  1. What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing?
Listening to classical music, savoring art or running my business.

  1. How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
A writer has to be very open to taking in diverse viewpoints including contrary ones and sublimating them into writing.  The whole idea of writing is to spark off a debate and discussion and it would defeat the very purpose if you expect all to agree.

  1. What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you?
Expecting too much and too early. Writing is a laid back endeavor and should be totally unencumbered from any populist or commercial compulsions.

  1. It may be unfair to ask but we’d love to know your personal favorites from ‘Love Chameleon’?
Love Sabbatical from the Chapter “The Irreconcilability of Loss”. I think it is the poem that is very intense and deep and expresses the emotion of pain and loss better than any other work. It is my personal favorite.

  1. Tell us something about your future projects.
Having launched my first book in a niche genre like poetry, I am now working on my first full fledged novel. While the project is extremely nascent at this stage, I am working on a plot which involves the twists and travails of an ambitious and idealistic entrepreneur who eventually turns into a power hungry politician. Enough said!

  1. Lastly, is there a message you would like to convey your readers?
Poetry, one of the most beautiful and expressive of all art forms, is fast becoming an endangered species in the realm of literature. The world may not have the same charm if we no longer have the luxury of relishing fine poetry, be it in English, Urdu, Hindi or any other language. Therefore, we must do all we can to revive poetry and you readers have a big role to play in continuing to encourage and appreciate good poetry so more gets churned out!

Love Chameleon is an anthology of contrarian poems penned over 20 years by Nidhi Saxena, an established entrepreneur, activist in the making, and writer.

Love Chameleon is an anthology of poems wherein the poet uses the metaphor of the “Chameleon” to elucidate the complex themes of love, lust, loss, longing, fidelity, sexuality and outdated social mores. The book is paradoxical in that it blends several contradictory elements to make a powerful whole – it is at once intrepidly bold and sensual, movingly sensitive and absurdly hilarious. The poems are further multi-layered in that they exist at the level of words but also convey higher meaning at another, more metaphysical level. In the end, the book truly captivates by its sheer candidness matched in equal measure with a witty and vibrant play of words.

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