An interview with Gauri Trivedi.
It’s been a long journey for you with us, Gauri. Do you remember how you landed on Spark’s website? How has the journey been?
I believe the first time I wrote for Spark was in the year 2011. So yes, it has been a long journey! I came across a friend’s link on Facebook to her article featured in Spark. Clicking on the link, I read hers and some more and found them all to be enjoyable. What got me interested in writing for the magazine though was the profile of its editors. Clearly, Spark was a labour of love, a choice made deliberately over other monetarily lucrative ones. I could relate to the passion that went towards following one’s dreams and the love for writing above other things.
The journey has been elevating. There have been stories that came out effortlessly and then there were times when we (you and me!) had to work very hard to get the sense across. It has been an enjoyable ride!
What do you believe is the role of writing in your life?
Writing is my voice. In some cases, I end up feeling differently about a situation when I write about it whereas a few other times my opinion on a subject becomes even stronger as I start to write about it. Over the years, writing has helped me put things into perspective.
Being able to write has also pulled me through some rough periods of isolation when I found myself in a foreign land, away from my family and a job that had kept me busy for more than 10 hours a day. Writing gave me the crucial support and solace while I struggled to build a new life abroad. I found a friend in my own words.
Right from when I was younger and wrote for fun, to now, where I feel like I am ready to take it to the next level, writing has never let me down.
Being inspired by the authors we read is an integral part of an aspiring writer’s journey. Who are the authors you look up to? Have they influenced your style of writing in any way?
There is always a thing or two to learn from every book. But I have a thing for debutant authors. There is something very fresh and inspiring in a first book ever written. Katheryn Stockett (The Help) is a recent addition to my list of authors who inspire.
Jhumpa Lahri’s portrayal of an immigrant’s life in all her books runs close home and I think my writing style is strongly influenced by the way she puts across the emotions of people who miss their place of birth.
Elizabeth Strout is another favorite and her next book is always as good as, if not better than her previous ones.
Having said all this, I must confess that my infatuation with Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ is still far from over.
As a stay-at-home mom with two children, has your writing changed from when you were working to now (in terms of perspectives, topics chosen for writing etc.)? Also, have you been able to give writing the time it needs?
Experiences not only make us richer, apparently they give us a lot to think about too. I feel like my writing has evolved with each stage of life.
Earlier I wrote about travel, planning and organizing, tips on moving house even. Now I mostly write about relationships, parenting and the challenges in both. Being a stay-at-home mother and constantly having to validate the decision has made me less judgmental about choices people make and that reflects in my writings these days. From mere indulgence to writing like my life depends on it, the change has been incredible.
Staying at home with two very talkative kids gives me more things to write about and of course fewer opportunities to do so! Space, the kind needed to toy with an idea for hours, is limited; interruptions are many but then, so are the inspirations! Hopefully when the time is right I will be able to dig into my experiences and make an interesting read out of it.
We have seen you write both fiction and non-fiction. Which one do you enjoy writing more? Which of the two do you find more demanding in terms of effort?
As a writer, I have always relied more on emotions and less on imagination. So in that sense, non-fiction comes easier to me. I have to work hard on building stories and characters but once in a while I do feel like taking the effort.
‘Womanhood’ is one of your favourite topics. In what ways do you wish to participate/have participated in ongoing discussions on women issues?
Yes it is and I have put my thoughts into words about it to the best of my ability at available opportunities. ‘Dear Mother,’ a piece that I wrote for Spark sometime back, remains close to my heart and even if one person read it and could relate to it, it will be that one small dot in the universe which was mine to make.
Lastly, nothing like winding up with a favourite quote that totally summarises what you believe in. Tell us!
Au Wa Wakari No Hajimari – Meeting is the beginning of parting
A Japanese proverb with a Buddhist origin and it suggests the transient nature of life. And for me, that is enough of a reason to write!
Questions by Anupama Krishnakumar