Nalini Priyadarshni is the author of Doppelganger in My House and co author of Lines Across Oceans. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, podcasts and international anthologies. A university position holder in English Honors, Nalini did her masters in English Literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh. Mother of two, Nalini lives in Ludhiana and teaches high school besides freelance writing and editing.
What inspired you to start writing?
When someone is as fond of reading as I was, writing is inevitable even if it is only for one’s own gratification. I wrote and drew as a child and later was the student editor of English section of our college magazine, Deepshikha. My short story about female infanticide was adjudged the best story. More recently, I started writing poetry after my son was born and I gave up work to be a stay-at-home mom. I realized wiping dirty bottoms all day did not fulfill me and poetry proved to be both cathartic and amusing. I restarted my career after a gap of 4 years as a professional writer and editor but continued writing poems and flash fiction. Poetry is now a huge part of who I am and part of my daily reading.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
Anything and everything I could lay my hands on. Comics, magazines, story books and Hindi translation of Russian literature that was also quite popular in those days. My father is a bibliophile so there were lots of books at home though a lot of those books were on theology and there were biographies and autobiographies. Readers Digest used to bring out abridged version of bestsellers in a book form and dad had several of them which I immensely enjoyed reading.
What motivated you to write the book “Doppelgänger in my House”?
The poems included in Doppelganger in my House were written over several years. I wasn’t even thinking of a book back then. I had a blog Twilight Musing where I used to put my poems. Later, I started sharing them in various poetry groups on facebook. Encouraged by the response, I started sending them out to various literary magazines. It was the support of my mentor Dr. Madan G Gandhi, encouragement of poet friend, guide and co author, D. Russel Micnhimer and gentle prodding by my partner Vikas that finally made Doppelganger In My House a reality.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Doppelgänger in my House”?
As I mentioned earlier, poems collected in Doppelgänger were written over several years there is no thematic unity. The book is roughly divided in five sections. A four line poem before each section sets the mood for what is to follow. There are love poems, food poems since I am a big time foodie, funny poems, poems written in poetic forms, resistance poems as well as totally irreverent poems. Last section contains collaborative poems written in collaboration with D. Russel Micnhimer using various Japanese forms. Writing those was not only a great learning experience as it taught me discipline needed for writing good poetry but also great fun.
Who are your favourite authors?
Now this is a trick question since there are so many authors I read and enjoy. And then I keep discovering new writers that I hadn’t read earlier. List is endless actually but I will try to name a few. Let me see, I enjoy reading T.S. Eliot, Khalil Gibran, Kamala Das, Khushwant Singh, Ruskin Bond, Gabriel Garcia Marquez besides several contemporary poets and writers.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
Though I would love to have some sort of daily writing routine, I have none at the moment. Poems have their own whims and fancies and come to me when they are ready. I try to capture them and if I don’t they just float away.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
There are three things that all aspiring writers must do and that is Read, Read and Read. And then keep writing no matter how futile it might feel. Oft time we are our worst critics. Follow your heart rather than what you are supposed to write. Above all be kind to yourself.
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