Hi Vaijayantee, thanks for answering a few questions. Although you're living in Bahrain at the moment, you are originally from India. Which part, and what was it like growing up there?
I grew up in Kolkata, known as the cultural capital of India for its rich heritage of music, films, theatre, festivals, and food. So being born and raised in Kolkata, I was privileged to grow up within this rich cultural treasure and where I had a huge family around me, I was cocooned and protected quite a bit though, and so, to break this cushy existence, I decided to leave my city and move to New Delhi to embark upon the journey of my career, fending for myself independently.
Were there things growing up that still influences your writing now?
Yes of course. I think at the core I am quite like my city of joy Kolkata, that bears indelible marks left by the people I have met in the course of my life; my education, my exposure to music, films, theatre, and all my good and bad experiences, that I often recall with nostalgia and that often get unconsciously reflected in my writings.
Can you remember writing down your first structured words at school?
Well not sure about that really, but my dad had tore out a page of handwriting from one of my earliest notebooks where I was made to stick a photograph of mine and write 'I am a pretty girl' a few times over.
Did you have a love of words back then?
Yes I pretty much did have a love for words from very early, in fact I would compose short poems and set them to tune as well! My earliest self-written songs were one composed for my niece who was born to my cousin's sister when I was all of eight years, and another one on the beauty of Nature during travelling by train to south India for a tour with my family.
Did you go to University?
Yes. After completing my Bachelors in English Honours from Loreto College, Kolkata, affiliated to the University of Calcutta, I went ahead to complete my Masters in English from the Calcutta University in 1999, from where I graduated with First Class marks in 2001.I t was an experience of great honour and pride to walk down the prestigious corridors of one of the oldest universities of the world, known for its globally acclaimed standards of education, faculty and a robust alumni of some of the stalwarts in academia. While pursuing my Masters in English at Calcutta University, I also completed a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. I was also freelancing as a journalist for some of the most eminent dailies of India then, namely The Statesman and the Hindustan Times. I was privileged to interview some eminent celebrities, and also cover and review various cultural programmes then.
Is writing your full-time job?
Well I have worked as an associate editor with various publications, and have been privileged to develop and edit their content, interview various personalities,etc single-handedly. So in all, I have over fifteen years of experience in the print and publishing media. I have also been associated with a PR agency as their PR consultant. In the course of my career, I have worked with globally renowned publishing houses like Macmillan and SAGE while I was in India. In Bahrain, where I have been living since 2010, I have worked for publications like Bahrain This Month magazine, Kempinski Group of Hotels, Weekender (weekly supplement of Daily Tribune), Sabaya Magazine, Bahrain This Week and Mayadeen magazine.
Tell me about Mosaic Vision.
Mosaic Visionis my first anthology of poetry that depicts my perceptions, experiences and emotions, like a tapestry of colourful threads, intertwined at times,and at times stark and contradictory. My poems are varied in their subjects, themes and tones, form a beautiful mosaic pattern that helps the reader get a wholesome understanding of a woman in today’s world delighted and distraught by the travails of the times.
Tell me about the other projects you are currently working on.
I am currently working on a few very interesting and varied kinds of projects which includes working on my next book, content development for a few agencies, and so on. I need to keep working, not so much for anything else, as is for my personal gratification and a sense of being, a sense of purpose in life.
What really inspires your?
Observations of life that emotionally moves me and inspires me to write. I love to write about experiences, realisations, observations, and anything that moves me emotionally.
What is the process of transforming that initial moment of inspiration into actual words on paper?
Well, I mostly resort to writing when I am emotionally moved. It could be a moment of joy, sorrow, nostalgia, anger, etc. So writing for me is a process of catharsis, where I choose words to freeze that emotion forever.
Do you have a particular writing location?
I usually write from the comforts of my drawing room, where I sit across enormous sound-proof glass windows that give me adequate distance from a lively and animated world of cars moving constantly without a single noise!
What are your plans for the future?
Now that my anthology of poems is already out, I plan to concentrate and complete my upcoming book within the next one year.
Name your THREE most favourite books and why.
1. God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - the vivid narrative of the novel is extremely gripping, and I couldn't help but finish the last seventy pages of the book at just one go.
2. Rainbow by DH Lawrence - I like the intense and passionate descriptions of Lawrence, and his perception of the female spirit
3. Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - The novel was an eye-opener into the world of racial disparity, an insight into the differences of world view and values based on something as superficial
as skin colour. Made me cry at the end.
Lastly... what does writing MEAN to you?
Writing is a silent yet eloquent profound communion between the one who communicates and the ones who reads the communique. It is powered with the innate ability of going and hitting the heart and mind of the reader, communicating to them what the writer wants to say and not a bit of it is lost in the cacophony of the noisy world around and between them.
For a little bit more info on VAIJAYANTEE, and to contact her, CLICK HERE.