SWETA MANDAL talks about her collection of poems – AE ZINDAGI | INTERVIEW

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With just 19 years under the sun, Sweta Mandal has a lot to boast about. At such a young age, she is a published author and that is not the only thing that makes her such an inspiring person. Her own story has life lessons for anybody who wishes to follow her example.

Unlike many other people, she thrived under adversity and managed to turn a disaster into something positive. It was when she lost her father at a very young age that Sweta Mandal turned to Shayaris. While writing kept her busy and engaged, it didn’t satisfy her. She wanted more and that was when she became determined to be a published author.

Her anguish at the injustice fate had meted out to her became her energy and from this energy came her debut collection of poetry “Ae Zindagi”.

We at bookGeeks got a chance to get candid with this talented young author. Let’s see what she has to say about her life, writing and other things under the sun.

Check-out Sweta’s Instagram account

bookGeeks:Tell us something about yourself.
Sweta:From being just a simple 19-year-old girl to learning to thrive in chaos, my life changed drastically after a series of unexpected misfortunes. I was in a state of denial for a year. I knew the agony and was determined to overcome it. I knew if I remain silent, I would lose myself. My silence made me feel choked.

I learned gradually that it’s okay to feel bad or worse sometimes. The nectar of pain may have left me in a state of agony but it also taught me self-compassion, self-love, self-reliance. Someday you will realize the pain was useful. The pain gives you a whole new perspective. Be patient, don’t let the trauma break you from within. So life sure took a toss but I too managed a happy ending.

bookGeeks:Would you like to shed some light on your book, “Ae Zindagi”?
Sweta:Ae Zindagi is a nostalgic, subtle observation of self-musings. It is a book on quotes and shayaris.

The book emphasizes on the cruelty of loved ones, weaving melancholy with words, on the chaos of looking for love, in search of peace amongst the chaos, love that was never meant to be, innocent joys of childhood, realizing the unbearable burden of life, being confounded by life, on still taking chances despite it all and finding “the one” and being proved wrong, finding hope over ruin, on learning there are some people you just simply cannot afford to emotionally invest in, learning to walk away when a connection fades and choosing happiness over suffering.

It also focuses on self-worth, balance, perspective, grieving, transformation and not letting emotions to be slaves to your thoughts.

bookGeeks:Every poet has a muse. What or who is your muse?
Sweta:I know life is all about finding one’s muse but why can’t one be her own muse?

I don’t want to sound pompous but I believe I am the force I seek. Every word I scribble and every challenge to write a new verse has come from my own experiences.

Each time I fell, I stood alone amidst this close fisted world and I am not sorry about it. That is how life is…isn’t it?

bookGeeks:Who is your favourite writer and/or poet in Hindi?
Sweta:It has to be Javed Akhtar any day. He strings together words in a manner that bounds to leave a sense of loss and longing. He has been the man who has penned all those evergreen lyrics that we have been singing for decades.
bookGeeks:Apart from penning down heartwarming poetries, what are the other things that you are passionate about?
Sweta:I am also quite passionate about music. I love singing and plan to write lyrics someday.
bookGeeks:When did you first know that you are going to be a writer?
Sweta:To be very honest, I never knew I had a thing for writing. I was never a writer, unlike other writing professionals and authors.

But the past 2 years taught me so much. I lost my dad and was numb for about a year. I did not respond to anything normally. I learnt that the weaker I felt, the stronger I became. The closer I felt, the further I pulled away. It wasn’t easy at all for an 18-year-old girl who has just passed out of her school.

I knew I needed to trust myself. I had to survive it; for me, for my mother. Thus I started writing under the name – Fluttering Feathers. The writing was the only way to let it go, let the phase pass. That was my way of venting out.

The response people gave was overwhelming. The page crossed over 1 lakh impressions over a month. Thus my writing journey started.

bookGeeks:Even though your musings and shayaris are in Hindi, they are published in English. Any specific reason for doing so?
Sweta:Yes, it is just a global gimmick as my book Ae Zindagi (Safarnama) is available in 150 countries. So, to make it easy and convenient for people to read abroad, I decided to publish it in English.
bookGeeks:How long did it take for you to complete “Ae Zindagi”?
Sweta:It took about 1 year to complete Ae Zindagi (Safarnama). I was, at first, apprehensive about whether I should publish the story, but then I decided to go with my gut feeling.
bookGeeks:Any other project/book that you are currently working on?
Sweta:Umm… that’s a surprise… Well, I write every day, so I never know when I will decide to compile those and publish a book.
bookGeeks:Have you ever faced a writer’s block, if yes then how did you cope with it?
Sweta:Fortunately, no.
bookGeeks:Any words of wisdom for debut authors.
Sweta:I believe writing is a very personal experience. The character one writes in a biography or even someone’s story comes from his own experience. Writing is when you decide that your opinions, your experiences are worth turning into words on a page.

Some important points for a debut author or who plans to write a book are –

Power of Social Media

Social media can be useful to market your book to readers. But if you have only a very small following of mostly friends and family, it is almost pointless. Bombarding your one hundred or so social contacts will drive them away in a very quick time.

Social media is only useful if you have a large and growing following and even then, book promotion should only represent about 5% of what you post.

Don’t Write Your Book Description As An Afterthought

Your book description is the hook to get readers interested in your book, so it is vitally important that it does its job well.

Do Blog! Or start write-up accounts

In the long run, blogging or writing daily and posting it is the very best way to show off your writing talents, engage with people, exchange comments and build a true author following, as well as increase your social media following.

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