In this interview series where we ask questions to people who are making a difference, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution to our society. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Atul Kapoor is an author of a novel ‘Incredible High’ published in the year 2010. Presently, he is working on his next book which is a group of short stories knitted together to give them a semblance of the novel. He keeps dabbling in poetry and writing articles in between. Following are his thoughts on our questions.
Tell us something about yourself?
Ans. I run a business to earn bread and write to earn liberation for myself. As a businessman my life is more or less monochromatic but as a writer it is vivid as I have dabbled in short stories, poems, satire pieces, articles, poetry in Hindi and Ghazals in Urdu. Besides, I am a published author of a novel and am looking forward to get published my next.
What are the attributes of a good storyteller in your opinion?
Ans. A good storyteller according to me can create an interesting ‘read’ out of a bubble. If one can create a gripping tale out of what at the surface sounds like a humdrum event, then he must think of taking writing seriously. An eye for detail and a knack for creating nuances from slender margins in otherwise a bland narrative go a long way to evolve someone to be a master storyteller.
Do you believe that popular writer means good writer too? What does success means to you personally?
Ans. I don’t think a popular writer is necessarily a good writer. I find a lot of kitsch writing that finds handsome readership, but then one man’s kitsch could be another man’s masterpiece. So yes, one’s viewpoint would be very subjective and I would like to refrain from generalizing it. A good writer, however, must strive to augment his readership by various means and become popular because at the end of the day it’s only readers whose verdict matters.
What motivates you to write?
Ans. Since I am not bound by any method, subject or genre when it comes to writing there is not anything specific that motivates me to write. Randomness of events and flurry of abstract ideas that keep running in my mind at times become impossible for me to keep to myself and I resort to write. Presently, I am doing my book on Urdu couplets, and the very idea that it’s possible to create a profound thought in a span of two lines is an ultimate stimulator to keep going.
What would you say to those who have dreams but either have responsibilities or hesitate to pursue them?
Ans. I don’t think there is anyone around who doesn’t have some dream. And quite often the load of worldly responsibilities pushes him away from one until the dream fades into oblivion. At times there are other factors as well like the fear of the unknown or setback from the initial failures or for that matter sheer lethargy that act as deterrents to pursue dreams. I think it’s the ability to garner unrelenting focus that goes a long way to make achievers. Though it’s an umpteen task to remain focused against the odds but I am afraid it’s the only way possible. One would need to keep moving even if at the snail’s pace towards one’s dream.
In your opinion how do we perceive arts and artists in society?
Ans. I think arts and the artists have mostly been revered in the society. Even in case where people do not understand the art an artist deals in they would seldom cease to pay respect. That is the power of art. It’s a respectful pursuit for the dabblers and no way less than the noble profession for the full timers.
What was the most inspirational moment in your literary career and why?
Ans. It’s about those times when I was in the middle of writing my first novel. At one point I began to believe that it was all crap and would never find a publisher. The thought established so firmly in my mind that I stopped writing altogether and remained depressed for almost a month. My father sensed something wrong and used all his worldly wisdom to extract what was bothering me. He then advised me to just hang on and finish what I had started at first place even if I believed it was crap. ‘You will at least have the satisfaction that you didn’t leave it halfway, and trust me, even that will do wonders to you,’ he said. His advise motivated me to finish the novel, and as it turned out, it found the publisher as well. Nothing boosts your confidence and motivates you the way a considerate pat at your back from your loved one.
Your message for our readers?
Ans. My message to the readers, well, keep reading. Ultimately, it’s only because of you that people like us muster the self belief to bring down the pen to the paper, and trust me guys, it is never easy to do so.