August 04, 2017

In Conversation with Kaushal Suvarna...

With the success of his second poetry collection, Kaushal has set a benchmark for all the budding poets. 'Siamese Compassion' strikes the right chord in the right place through the spunky and sharp-tongued verses. Kaushal not only contrasts both sides of the coin but also expresses his emotions through simple yet profound words. His ideas and strong opinions can be easily understood and the satire in the free verses act as a cherry on the cake.

Here is a sneak-peak of the conversation I had with him…

Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.
Well, I'm quite introverted, so most people know hardly anything at all about me. But here's a little secret, I'm quite stoic in my demeanor, so most people assume I'm really calm or a jerk, but of course life's more complicated than that.

I don't really subscribe to a personality; it's like what J Krishnamurti said: "We are fragmented human beings".
Or perhaps I'm just a budding schizophrenic!

Music or silence: what do you prefer and why?
I like music, but don't have to listen to it every breathing moment, as it is with some. I'll take silence most days, as it is there's quite less of it.

But there's silence internally as well, which most people seek, and one can achieve despite the daily clamor. I think silence, like music, like any other thing, is a tool and don't really hanker after either or anything else, for that matter.

Have you written any other book (s) that have not been published?
Siamese Compassion is my second book of poems, after A Trans-Arabian Handshake.

There's another book of poems I plan next year, it's halfway there, n mostly will be called Crowd-funded Poetry. It will see me return to two of my old favorites, love and lyric poetry - Siamese Compassion, though very close to me, is mostly free verse which I don't enjoy as much.

Then there's a novel/episodic short story book I really want to write, tentatively named Survival Strategies, and its first act is done.
But I will only publish it when I feel I have a sizeable audience that's ready to listen to it. Earlier books are just primers leading up to this.

What do you think about eBook revolution?
It's a good idea that needs to catch up more. It's very difficult for some readers to get over the feeling of having a "real book" in their hand. Then there's the pros n cons of environmental issues and the investment in an e-reader that people need to be convinced about.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I really haven't written those kinds of stories to comment, but drawing an analogy with poems, yes more often than not you don't know what you are going to write about.

Even when you start out with a basic idea of what a particular poem or book needs to be about, as e.g. with Siamese Compassion I knew what message I had to send out, but each individual poem, as a character by itself, and even within the poem each idea and image seems to have a life of its own and can lead you, writer, as well as reader, to places you never imagined or dared to go.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
As I mostly keep to myself I don't generally get pulled into pranks, but there are some really funny incidents I was witness to; here's one.

I was practicing with my college Chess team when an ex-student, who was then number one in the Bombay Chess circuit, dropped by and started playing with our 2nd Board. In the presence of greatness, I was trying not to gush and, in between stealing glances of his game, to concentrate on my own match.

And then this bloke offers a piece sacrifice to my teammate and goes "le lo bhai chivdaa le lo" in a typical Gujju tone.
LOL, I've never heard that song since or before; I laughed till my belly hurt.

What is your favourite part of the book?
Some people will like the second section, The Pledge because it's very raw and I've "said it as we see it". Some will like The Turn because it really makes you introspect. My deepest ruminations can be found in the aptly named last section, The Prestige.

But the book is one whole and should be understood as such; so, my favourite part was to arrange the book in these sections, with the cheekily named prologue, The Playbill, serving as a portent of things to come :)

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do?
I've been working in IT for over a decade. Prior to that, I worked as a Maths Course Designer for a major MBA coaching institute. And prior to that, I'd been teaching Maths and English to school, and later college, students, believe it or not, since I was in 8th grade, which is also when I started poetry.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
People often criticize my writing for being too intellectual or having difficult words, but I think that's more self-criticism than on me, isn't it?

But the one good, and at that time tough for me to understand, a piece of advice I got was to choose from according to content. I often wrote in the abcb rhyme and only then began to explore other rhyme, stanza, and rhythm patterns.

Which Publisher would you recommend to the new authors?
Honestly not an expert here as I'm still trying to find one myself.

But for starters, of course, CreateSpace/Amazon will not just get you out there but also globally. Of course, you will still need to do all the hard work of promoting yourself and the paperback prices are on the higher side, but you can rest easy that your friends will find your book, wherever they be on the world map.

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