Name : Nalini Priyadarshni
Date of Birth : 26 April
Academics: B.A. (Hons.), B. Ed, M.A (English Lit.)
Hobbies : Reading, Writing, Traveling, Good Food
1. When did you find yourself in the world of words?
Words have been an important part of my life for as long as I remember. I loved reading so I read and reread books I could lay my hands on from any of the three languages I know. I was editor of English Section of my college magazine, Deepshikha and won the first prize for the short story I wrote about female feticide. In those days, I also wrote poetry in Punjabi.
I started writing again after the birth of my second child. As a stay at home mom, I did not find washing dirty bottoms whole day fulfilling at all. So poetry came to my rescue and then, as they say, rest is history.
I believe that people who do not read have no advantage over those who cannot read. Any day spent without reading or writing is a day wasted.
2. What do you think about the newly emerged genre "Micro-fiction"?
Oh, the popularity of micro-fiction has spread faster than the proverbial forest fire. I like to read it and write it too. We live in the times of 2-minute noodles and 20/20 pajama cricket so why not a 100 -500-word story?
3. Do you believe that we have sensationalized the concept of feminism? What is Feminism for you?
I will answer the second question first. Feminism to me is Humanism. You cannot deprive half the populace of dignity and equal opportunities and expect any real progress or happiness in the world. Any society that robs women of an equal right to live and work with dignity does the great disservice to humanity. Any system that allows people equal opportunity to achieve their potential irrespective of their gender is beneficial for both men and women. Every time we liberate women from gender stereotype, we liberate men too and allow everyone to be themselves, leading a more fulfilling life.
For any system to work, it should be acceptable to all parties involve. So, women are as much party to patriarchy today as men, even if it’s the outcome of their social conditioning and ignorance. It’s the mother-in-law who tortures daughter in law, voices her disappointment at the birth of a granddaughter. It’s the neighborhood aunty that questions a girl’s character should she choose to remain single and her wardrobe does not consist of burkas exclusively. Eventually, it’s not about women against men, its ignorance versus enlightenment, dogmatic versus progressive. And that brings us to the first part of the question. I believe feminism can’t be sensationalized enough. Male superiority has been so much part of our culture and language that we imbibe it without even realization. It takes a humongous amount of conscious unlearning for a lot of us before we realize that equality and liberty are not a gift that somebody will give us some time in distant future but our right to claim now today. Anything that make people wake up and think can’t be bad because we have sleepwalked through patriarchy long enough.
4. Tell us about your book.
Doppelganger in my House is my first solo poetry collection. I started writing for my own pleasure and of course, catharsis when I took a break from my teaching career to be a stay at home mother. It never fails to amaze me when strangers write in to tell me how my poetry resonates with them. A lot of poems in this collection have been earlier published in international anthologies and online magazines and were greatly appreciated. So, many of these poems are actually floating around in the cyber world for poetry aficionados to discover. I have also co-authored a poetry collection with my teacher and poet friend D Russel Micnhimer. Most of it has been written over the facebook as I was learning various Japanese poetic forms from Russel, a thoroughly enjoyable exercise. Again, we did not plan a book, it just grew organically.
5. A message for the writer's community...
Writing is a lonely task and the whole time a writer is torn between carrying on writing and giving it up for good especially when facing writer’s block. There have been times when I contemplated deleting every single word I have written, change my name and move to Timbuktu. So, I would say, dear writer friends - be kind to your fellow writers but first and foremost, be kind to yourself. Keep reading and most importantly, keep writing.