Sunday, May 4, 2014

Author Ayesha Rahman, the teenager who brewed up ‘Turbulence’

Holding a copy of your book at bare age of 16 does make people cock their eyebrows though the act is not totally surprising, given the influence of internet and self-publishing in today’s era. But Ayesha Rahman nails it with an influential book; a canvas of poems which impel you to think, to introspect, to admire and to hope. Through her ‘Turbulence’, Ayesha lends you some of her words and borrows plenty of your emotions.

Please check out the book at Flipkart:

(Coz checking out is free)

For the time being, she spills some of her words (and emotions) on my blog and allows me to probe a bit into the mind of her pen.

Q1. Hi Ayesha, you have come out with a book at an age at which many of us don’t even pick a heavy book to read. Do you know how inspiring a person you can be for many people?

Ayesha: I think inspiration can come at any age, from any place. I would like to think that after seeing me, more and more poets will publish their work. Publishing on paper shouldn’t be a limitation when it comes to writing. And I hope people will follow my idea- never stop. Never stop believing, never stop dreaming. Writer’s block affects everyone, but ideas come to paint all over it.

Q2. Give us a peep (if possible, more than a peep) into your book!

Ayesha: I often write online under a pseudonym, that’s where all the writing started. And when it comes to favorites, picking one wouldn’t be fair to my other poems.
This poem is called Perfect Storm, and it’s about a couple who are about to break apart and the storms outside their house and in their home. My reason for picking this is because this makes the reader focus more on the story behind it- the “what is to follow”. I never urge readers upon a definite meaning but want them to search their own.

Perfect Storm

They say the perfect storm
is the one which
cuts you off
from the bare necessities.

You stood strong,
with three bags full of clothes,
books and everything else.

That you are to leave
this house,
walk away and never step foot
again in this house.

My words break as they
escape my mouth,
as if I am speaking
only in my head.

Then the storm came
and you were afraid.
The water lashed the windows
and now there is a tree inside the house.

There was no light,
no heat and the ceiling cried.
We finished up whatever food we
had left in the house.

The winds lasted a day,
the rain three,
and you six years,
still counting.

In the hum of the stormy night,
as you and I sat together
to find something at the bottom of empty cans,
I hoped you’d see it.

That all it took was a moment.
Of sacred calm in the noise of life
to see that things untangle,
and lies seep into the woodwork.

All it took was a perfect storm
for us to share that moment.

Eight days later,
the skies cleared,
the clouds said farewell.
The storm ended,
and you still walked out the door.

Q3. Those were some gorgeous lines Ayesha. So, why a book on poetry, why not prose? Was there any conscious decision on your part to script an anthology of poems, given that you do have a strong flair for short stories too?

Ayesha: Most of my stories have a poetic flair to it, and many of them also drew themselves to life from lines of poetry. That is why I chose poetry over prose. Because stories need a flow that I can provide most to poetry.

Q4. You got self-published with Penguin Patridge Publishing. Was that your first choice or did you try to reach out to traditional publishers earlier?

Ayesha: I did send my manuscript to a few places before realizing myself into an inbox of silence. Publishers don’t want to print poetry simply because they think it doesn’t sell. Poetry has become a dying art in India. People just want to read novels from popular foreign writers.
So I turned to independent publishers. There are a large number of indie houses that have come up, and that is a good thing. Poets and authors need to be heard. Because if you don’t kindle a fire, it’s going to burn out.

Q5. I am repeating myself but I would again say that you are an inspiring figure simply because you went ahead and came out with a book at 16. So, what have been the sources of your inspiration? What propelled this hunger to write at such a paltry age?

Ayesha: My grandfather’s influence on me was one of the main reasons I took to writing. I grew up hearing him tell stories about his life and adventures as a journalist in the 80s. It was his determination that just showed me that anyone can be a writer, if the passion was strong enough. I do dedicate my work to him, with respect and love, but somehow some of that got lost in a missing back-matter.
Most of themes in my work have been inspired by my favorite poets Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Gadfly. Neruda, as you know, is one of the greatest classics; while Gadfly was the inspiration to the contemporary side of my writing.
On most days my thoughts ran like chaos and they just had to be put to rest on paper. Hunger, you call it. I call it momentary silence.

Q6. I do take the liberty of asking one personal question to all my interviewees. So, do excuse me for this audacity. But I would like to know which is your favorite brand of nail-polish (I hope this wasn’t too personal)?   :P

Ayesha: I actually don’t use any nail polish. I know nothing about make-up and I always ask my sister to put kajal on for me, which is a challenge because my eyes tear up and I start to laugh.
I think that is what’s with our generation- new clothes and old music. Generations get more diverse as they pass. Everyone is different, like caught in the influence of different times.

Q7. And lastly, why should someone who has never heard of you pick your book?

Ayesha: Because everyone knows what love is.
Turbulence is a book that will resonate within almost anyone. It is much easier to write about lifeless things, but when it comes to emotions- words tend to fall short. The book is about love- the cycles of hello and goodbye- and all in between. Now that’s something everyone is stuck in.

~Ritesh Agarwal



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