Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Kuhoo Gupta, author of “Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se – Poetic Reflections From The Jar Of LIFE”
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I come from a middle class family. My childhood was beautiful. My parents tell me I started singing on my own listening to the tape record (in those times). After few years, they put me into formal music education. I was good in my studies throughout & fortunately landed up in IIT Bombay & completed my M.Tech in Computer Science Engineering from there. All this while, I remained active in music. My grandparents used to write, my father also writes, so writing came to me through my genes I believe. Through music & hence lyrics, I was introduced to my God GULZAR & that was how I read through a lot of his poetry books.
What were you like at school?
I was a topper all throughout in my school days. And I was prolific in participating in each of the cultural programs/competitions that happened in & out of school. My love for stage started way back in school days .
Were you good at English?
I would say I am an average Joe when it comes to English. My younger brother writes better English than me. In fact I get to know a lot of new phrases from him every now & then. My schooling was not in a Convent school per say, though it was an English medium school, you know how Convent students are encouraged to “think” in English. So English is not a “thinking” language for me, but I am conversant.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Writing is cathartic for me. I write when I am overwhelmed by emotions, or when I see beauty in my surroundings or when some random life thought strikes me or when my spiritual side takes over my physical body and many such other incidents. So writing as a formal career is a far-fetched possibility for me, though I am sure, going forward I should come up with more titles now that it has started off. I had heard this from other writers but now experienced it myself…you have this itching feeling of publishing more after you come up with your first book. But it’s a very laborious & time consuming process to complete a book. One cannot write for the purpose of writing a book. The words have to come from inside for some reason or the other, and only then those writings can take a form of a book. So lets see, how my writing career goes.
Which writers inspire you?
In poetry genre, it has to be GULZAR, yes I deliberately wrote it in CAPS There are many others but I think this name supersedes all others by margins!
So, what have you written?
I have written a lot of poems. 79 of them have been compiled in my book “Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se”. I have my blog (www.kuhoogupta.com) as well where I scribble on various topics when I feel like. I am going to write guest posts for some blogs soon.
Where can we buy or see them?
My book in paperback is available on all major online book stores including flipkart & amazon.in for Indian buyers & amazon.com (and its associates) for international buyers. Ebook & author signed paperback can be procured exclusively through my website www.kuhoogupta.com. Audiobook of this poetry compilation is in the production process and it will be available on audible, reado.com, youtube & my website by the end of May 2014 hopefully. So I have catered to almost all the audience who can read/write/understand Hindi. For real book lovers, there is paperback, for readers on the move, there is ebook & for the people who cannot read Hindi or who prefer to listen rather than read, there is audio book!
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character in my book is LIFE. “Martbaan” in Hindi means a Jar or “Barnii”. The poems are reflections from the Jar of Life. What we see, hear, feel, experience, the poems are reflections & introspection of varied life experiences. So everyone would be able to relate to the poems. Written in very conversational language, there is not pressure of knowing the language way too much to understand the poems.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on the production of the audio book for this title. I have teamed up with a talented musician who is giving the background score and I will recite my poems over that score.
What genre are your books?
This one is a poetry compilation. Going forward, I do not know what genres I delve in. Only time will tell
What draws you to this genre?
The subtle, crisp yet powerful way to express yourself through poetry!
How much research do you do?
My research is more of reading the existing works of various authors. I read quite a bit I would say.
Why do you write?
I write for cathartic purposes. I feel liberated when I write.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write at home, in office, in car, in traffic, while working out in gym, while swimming, while having a chat with neighbor, on a vacation, outdoors … basically whenever an idea strikes me. I jot down in my mobile or paper, whatever is nearer & that is how my poems are born, almost always!
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I write on paper or cell or laptop, whichever is handy at the moment when any idea strikes me.
Where do the your ideas come from?
My life experiences, my surroundings, natural beauty, Sufi, Spirituality, people around me etc etc etc
What is the hardest thing about writing?
To be able to judge yourself and tell yourself objectively whether what you wrote is worth it or not.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
To select the poems out of my collection and make a crisp compilation of 79 poems.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Outflow of thoughts in the form of words
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Oh yes, there are times when your brain & mind cannot think beyond earning a bread or completing a code deadline! In those moments, the creativity is blocked badly. Even if any thought comes to you, you are not able to recognize & welcome it because your subconscious is busy in the rut of life. It is only when your senses are turned more inwards than outwards, that good writings are produced. Now inward senses can exist when you are feeling absolutely miserable also .
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Let the phase pass on. Time is the best healer for writer’s block also 😛 Or if you want to do something very explicitly, then go and meditate, turn your senses inwards, haha.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
It may become eventually few years down the line, who knows! I do not think anyone had Krishh 3 in mind when they were releasing Krishh (1)
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Paperback for sure. The smell of the book is inviting! And then this preference comes to me because I anyways am in front of the laptop given my job of a software engineer. Facing a paper rather than a screen, is a change that I welcome. I do have a lot of ebooks in my mobile that I read when I travel or when stuck in traffic.
What book/s are you reading at present?
Dyodhi by Gulzar! Can I get enough of him ever? I do not wish to actually!
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I did everything myself starting from book editing, proofreading, cover design, publishing (yeah I self published my book), marketing!
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
I looked around for designers to design my book cover since I had never done it & was apprehensive if I will do a decent job or not. But I was out of budget and then I decided to try myself. My husband clicked a relevant image that you see on the front cover – A Martbaan. And I designed the rest of the cover dirtying my hands on Photoshop! Phew it was one big task but at the end, greatly satisfying!
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely! Specially for the first time authors.
How are you publishing this book and why?
This is a self published book. I have much more control over my book, retain the copyrights, skip the hassle of continued NOs from the established publishers.
How do you market your books?
I am using social media for marketing my book. Also I am planning to have book signing/reading events in the town. Lets see how it works out.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
It is in the pipeline
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
It is a very good medium for marketing. It gives the essence of the whole book to the reader in one visual go.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
In what formats is your book available?
Paperback, Ebook & Audiobook (coming soon)
How do you relax?
I switch my work, if I am tired coding, I read. If I am tired reading, I do gardening. If I am tired writing, I sketch. If I am tired with everything, I go out for a walk in fresh air
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Doing something for the society for sure apart from earning my bread.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep yourself young, oops your mind & soul young
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Do not write for the sake of getting it published. Write for your own inner cravings.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Self publishing is coming up in a big way
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/kuhoogupta
Book Links: http://kuhoogupta.com/purchase-book/
Quick Tip from the admin: I have known Kuhoo from a long time. She is a really famous singer . Google and check it out yourself.
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