Through the thought, flows a stream and the stream pours out in the form of poetry... 

Ritika Bhoora
Saturday, 1 June 2019

...Says poetess and author Neelam Saxena Chandra, whose poetry collections will be launched at Social for Action’s Book Club on Sunday (June 2) morning

The Social For Action Book Club will be launched on Sunday, June 2, with the release of poetess and author Neelam Saxena Chandra’s books — The Stitched Heart, Ek Kadam Roshni Ki Ore and Ehsaas-e-Ruh. Sahyadri Echoes, which is a collection of poems, penned by Pune poets and curated by Chandra, will also be released.

Ahead of the function, we chat up Chandra, who has authored four novels, one novella, six short story collections, 31 poetry collections and 13 children’s books. She shares with us her relationship with poetry, what inspires her to write and Pune’s standing in the literary world. Excerpts:

Can you share with us your relationship with verse, poetry? 
Poetry is my best pal. I am an opinionated woman and various things around me that stir me or arouse any emotions inside me find their way out through poetry. I have written more than 4,000 poems now on various themes. But the majority of them are motivational, social, philosophical, spiritual, feminist, romantic etc. I have also written poems for children.

What stimulates your poetry?
Any thought on which I have pondered for more than a day at least, stimulates my poetry. What hurts me, what makes me happy, what saddens me, what motivates me — everything inspires me to pen my thoughts either in the form of poetry or a short story or a novel. Through the thought, basically flows  a stream and the stream pours out in the form of poetry. 

Tell us a little about your new books that are going to be launched. What is Sahyadri Echoes all about?
The Stitched Heart, Ehsaas-e-Ruh and Ek Kadam Roshni Ki Ore are a collection of 50 poems each. They are a compilation of motivational, soul-searching poems written by me.

Sahyadri Echoes is an anthology of poems written by various poets from Pune. I am the curator of the anthology, while Tikam Shekhawat is the Hindi editor and Juhi Gupte is the English editor. This book was conceived to encourage young writers from Pune who write in both English and Hindi. At least 70 per cent of the poems in the book are written by youngsters. Most of them are amateur poets. 

We used Facebook and WhatsApp to publicise this idea and selected the best poems from all the entries we got. All the poets, cover page designers, editors are from the city. 

What gave you the idea to come up with a compilation of poems?
I have a transferable job and I keep getting posted to different cities. I have worked on various anthologies in the past, ones to promote women writers and other groups like these. This time, I told my publisher that I want to encourage writers from Pune because this city has a rich source of talent as far as literature is concerned.

When you write poetry, do words come first or the metre? 
Thirty per cent of my poems have a rhyming scheme while 70 per cent of them are in free verse. In free verse, the metre is not that important. I come up with the idea first and then write my feelings at that point in time.

Have you read any works of Juhi Gupte? Can you tell us about your exchange with her? 
Yes, I have. We were introduced to each other by a common friend. She writes well and has a good command over English. One day, both of us were chatting over coffee, and this idea was born. Juhi is a part of a poetry group here and it was her idea to come up with a compilation like this. She said it will give a boost to the young writers and poets in the city.

How long did it take for you to write this book?
It took almost a year. It took us six months to get the poems and edit them and another six months to publish the book.

You have four novels, one novella and several poetry collections to your credit. Can you tell us about your writing regimen?
I was born and brought up in Nagpur and I used to write as a child. Some of my writings got published in the local magazines but later, I stopped sending them to publication houses and wrote only as a hobby in my diary.  

When my daughter was born, I narrated new stories to her every day. One day my husband said that I should send these stories to some magazines. In 2008, I sent my first two stories to Champak magazine. When these stories got published, it gave me the confidence to write more. I sent my stories to various children’s and women’s magazines like Chandamama, Women’s Era etc. From then to now, it has been quite a journey. 

ST Reader Service
Attend the launch of Social for Action’s Book Club and the release of four new poetry collections at Crossword, Aundh, on Sunday, June 2, 11 am to noon

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