Sanika has completed her Master’s in English Studies, specialising in Shakespearen Studies from the University of Sussex, UK. She is currently working as a Chief Assistant Director with the company Dreaming 24/7, which is a Marathi production house.
She was awarded as the best Student of the Department of English for three consecutive years during her Bachelors course in Ruparel College, Mumbai. She achieved special recognition for securing the highest marks in my Final Bachelor’s examination. Let us know more about Sanika`s writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
That is indeed a tough question. Inspiration comes from little things that happen in our everyday lives. Some event or person inspires us to write. For me, inspiration came from two places, first, my professors in college who pushed me to keep writing anything that came to my mind. It began with writing college papers, to articles for magazines; penning my views on everything around me. That pushed me to think differently and slowly I began to think creatively. I wasn’t very imaginiative, but I started writing about things that happened around me on a daily basis. The second source of inspiration was a book given to me by my professor; Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude.’ This book has played a major role in inspiring me to write and has re-kindled the passion I had in me for writing.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
As a little girl, I was more of a listener of stories than a reader. I used to love when my father or grandmother narrated me stories that they had read. As I grew up, I began reading books picked up from the school library. These included some Nancy Drew books. Later on, I got hooked to crime series and I read the complete series of ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘The Famous Five,’ ‘Secret Seven,’ and ‘The Hardy Boys.’ By the time I finished reading this, I was transformed into a better reader and now I can read books of any genre.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Personally, for me, the greatest challenge is to put the exact emotions you feel while writing into words. You want your reader to feel exactly what you felt at that point in time, and you have to put it precisely in the same way. Not every emotion can be clearly defined in a book and it is the writer’s job to subtly put it across. Though that is my greatest challenge, I find it extremely helpful in developing me as a better writer.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Research usually depends on the genre of book I am writing. When it came to ‘Alive’ I had very little research to do since I had it all in my head. For chapters that needed some information from the past, I resorted to my relatives who had spent time with my father, to his friends and of course my immediate family. For my second book, which is a crime novel, I am researching extensively on con artists and way things work in the crime world. So, my research depends specifically on the genre that I write and then on the elements that are required in the book.
What motivated you to write the book “Alive”?
‘Alive’ is a memoir of a father by his daughter. Nothing else apart from my father, whom I lost in a tragic car accident could have motivated to write this book.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Alive”?
My father was an actor, a famous name in the Marathi film fraternity. People knew him for the actor that he was. People from the earlier generation and to an extent from my generation have seen him perform on television. But very few people knew who he actually was as a person. ‘Alive’ is an attempt to portray him as the person he was rather than a celebrity.
Coming generations wont even know that a person of this name even existed. I want them to know who my father was and what he did to deserve a book written on him. I want my children to know how their grandfather was as a person and what made the world a better place with him in it.
Also, many people lose their loved ones. Some people are able to deal with the loss, others never get over it. Indian culture has always been very sympathizing with these families or people, even after it has been years and people have moved on. I want, through my book, for people to learn to deal with their loss. I want them to understand that they are not the only ones to have experienced the pain. I want them to understand that the only way we can keep the person ‘Alive’ in our hearts is by keeping their beautiful memories alive and not crying over their loss. Loss is an inseperable part of human lives and I want them to deal with it just as gracefully as they deal with anything else. Through my book, I want people to let go off the pain that they have endured and live with happy memories of the person they have lost. I want people to get out of their sadness and move on. That is what ‘Alive’ is all about.
How did you came up with the idea of writing non fiction genre book?
My father’s life was nothing short of a story that would have been easily put into the genre of fiction. I could have taken him as the central character of my fiction book and written a story as captivating as anything else. I could have also written his biography. But I wanted this book to comprise of my memories of him as a father. No other way of writing could have helped me portray the exact things I wanted. Non-fiction seemed to be the best way to put his life into words. Also, there is nothing imaginative about his life in this book. All my memories are exactly of what happened and true to their very nature. Only the norms of non-fiction would allow me to put these memories in to words.
Who are your favourite authors?
I read a lot. Being a literature student, I always found something interesting in every author. But I have two extreme favourites. Among Indian authors, Jhumpa Lahiri is my favourite. Her simple stories of a complicated Indian life are easy to connect. The way she portrays complex relationships with ease is something I really admire. Her book ‘The interpreter of maladies,’ ‘Namesake,’ ‘The Lowland,’ have had a great impact on my wrietr’s mind.
My second favourite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Never have I read an author who can write magic realism in such a terrifyingly beautiful way. The simplicity of his words convert the fantasy in to reality for me. His descriptions are very easy to understand and help imagine the scenes easily. His ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ has been by favourite and his books like ‘Chronicle of a death Foretold,’ and ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ have left me speechless.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
If I am not working on any writing projects, I dedicate one hour of compulsory writing. I take up random topics and write on them to develop my imagination, creativity and also improve my writing skills.
If I am working on a project, I write till I feel satisfied with whatever I have written. It maybe an hour or a couple of hours.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
I am very new to be giving any words of wisdom. But to be very honest, being a writer is not an easy job and I have learnt it the hard way. First thing is do not procrastinate. Do not put things for the later or say maybe I will do it tomorrow. That never happens. Ideas come with difficulty and it is necessary to put them into words at the earliest.
Second, write every single day. Write about the things that you feel about, the things that happened in your life or on that day, what you felt about it. Write anything, but it is necessary to write on a daily basis.
Another important thing is to read. Reading gives you an insight on how other people write and might as well give you some ideas! Reading will also increase you vocabulary and will be helpful in your own task!
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