Ayushman Jamwal is author of Chameleon Lights: The Forge Of Identity
Here is how he answered our questions.
1.How does an idea come for a story/poem come to you?
Inspiration is no more than a simple catalyst that profoundly outlines the state of one’s spirit. Working in the news media, one gets to see the best and worst examples of humanity as well as every shade in between. Many charge media professionals of being passive, but the news environment continues to have an impact on my ever-evolving view of the world – opinions of both people and society at large – which fuels my work.
Moreover, we live in the age of information explosion and the liberation of opinion. The powerful expression is all around us, via social media, television, film, news, literature, boosted by the strength of the World Wide Web. It is highly infectious.
2.At what age did you start writing?
I started writing at the age of 16 when I was a student at the Doon School in Dehradun. I wrote poems, short stories interview for The Doon School Weekly. Seeing my name in print for the first time was nothing less than a drug, which pushed me to keep writing, keep exploring my world for new ideas.
3.Is this your first book?Are you working on your next? What is it about?
Chameleon Lights is my first book. I am currently working on a thriller focused around a retired Indian soldier, which I aim to finish this year.
4.What is the story in ‘Chameleon Lights: The Forge of Identity’ about? 5.Why did you name your book as ‘Chameleon Lights: The Forge of Identity’?
We all are constantly trying to find ourselves in life and that pursuit takes everyone through a tumultuous journey. Chameleon Lights is one such journey, with strokes of inspiration, love, despair, hope and enlightenment, similar to the ever-changing hues of a chameleon, which constantly tries to belong. Even as the voyage continues the miles trodden so far are the cornerstone of what I am today. Everyone can find a part of themselves between the lines of the book.
5.Which is your favourite poem from this book? If a favourite character of your favourite book comes alive in front of you, what would you say?
My favourite poem in Chameleon Lights is ‘Prayer to the God of Rebellion’. In 2011, I attended a conference on non-violent civil resistance at Tufts University in Boston, where one of Martin Luther King Jr’s disciples gave a speech on how they congregated in churches to devise Gandhian strategies to counter segregation. I was fascinated by how the civil rights movement fused the tenets of Christianity and Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence to counter racism. I often wondered what prayer they would say when planning their strategies in churches, before stepping out and facing the violence and hatred. The more I learned about the movement, the more I was inspired to write and thus, ‘Prayer to the God of Rebellion’ was born. It is a simple prayer to God seeking strength to fight injustice as well as pure conviction without any hatred or fear.
6.What do you think is more important- the words used or the feelings?
Both are equally important. Expressing sentiments is meaningless without the right words.
7.Is there a particular time of the day when you write your ideas? When?
There is no specific time of the day when I write. I can be struck by an emotional sledgehammer at any time of the day, and I have to scramble for my notepad or my phone to write down my thoughts.
8.Just like you are an inspiration to others, who is/are your inspiration?
I admire authors who eloquently explore the different layers of human struggle and the unrestrained pursuit of hope and strength through despair. Graphic novelist Frank Miller and author Chuck Palahnuik (Fight Club) have a deep understanding of the power of the human mind and the will it inspires, as well as a simple yet profound style of expression.
9.What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
My grandfather was a celebrated Dogri poet. Continuing his legacy is my biggest achievement.
10.They say, “Nobody can judge you, as much as you yourself can.” Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
In 10 years, I will be the author of 3 books. I am currently working on a thriller focused around a retired Indian soldier and then aim to write a fantasy novel.
11.What would you do if you weren’t into writing?
I literally have no idea. I can’t imagine that I would not be into writing.
12.How do you react to the reviews that you get about your writing from your readers?
I look forward to every review, good or bad. It shows that poetry can never be anchored to one meaning and reminds me that my craft should be constantly evolving.
13.Which is your favourite fictional character?
Batman. He is so much more than just a masked vigilante.
14.Who is your favourite author?
15.List any 3 books that you would recommend to our readers.
Wolf of the Plains (Conn Iggulden)
Child of a Dream (Valerio Massimo Manfredi)
Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
16.Is there one specific subject you would never write about? What would that be?
The world of finance, I believe there is very little magic in numbers.
17.Which is your favourite genre? Why?
Thrillers. One can weave in every other genre; play out a spectrum of emotions and narratives.
18.Which genre, according to you, is the most difficult to write?
Comedy. Subtlety is difficult to capture when avoiding clichés.
19.What is your message to other budding poets/writers?
Live life with an open heart and the universe will reward you with inspiration and enlightenment.
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