- Can you tell something about yourself?
That’s my primary quest: To know more about myself. The real joy starts once we begin to be more aware about our real self. Most of the problems of life are born of our illusions, presumed fears and imagined insecurities. As a matter of fact, only 10% situations are objectively challenging and they need our methodical approach to resolve them. The rest are the phantoms of our mind. Now the question arises how to dispel the clouds that hide the sun of truth from us. Well, it’s an exploration, a kind of journey. This journey is what we call as our life. We learn from books, from others, from our own experiences, from observing this wonderful game around. The nearer we come to our self, the better we feel. So I would say, primarily I am a seeker of my true identity. I love travelling in the Himalayas. Reading is my full time occupation. I have decided to be a learner for life. In between, I write my version of truth under the expectation that it helps fellow travelers on the path.
- How are your books different than others?
All of us are unique products of mother existence. Genetically we may share a big pool with our fellow Homo-sapiens but our Karmic imprint related to our individual consciousness stands out, making you a representative of the entire existence. Writing is immensely personal. Every book has a message, so has this humble writer. I write with the intention that my word will reach someone who needs a message at some point in his/her journey. As a writer you have to be sensitive to the fact that by putting your creation on a public platform you are taking a commitment to the cause of wellness of all. All of us have our individual philosophy of life. We have our versions of reality. It includes what should be done as well as what we can avoid. I have seen a lot in life. I believe we are the products of our circumstances. But we have it in us to mould our circumstances as well. We know where we goofed up things. Through my fiction, non-fiction, poetry and sketches, I try to share my experiences. I write about small things in life. It helps in viewing life as a very simple process. I try to simplify the process of life through my writings about nature, little ironies, small tragedies and the interesting quests of human mind. The words, phrases and sentences are mere tools for us to forge our path to the next destination in life.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
From the book of life itself! It’s endless. I think observing things more closely is a habit that all of us can work on. The reality as it appears has multiple dimensions. It’s within our capacity to interpret life at a joyful level. Most of the time we are puzzled and our muddled thoughts create an imaginary baffling situation. Learn to simplify things. There is an inherent simplicity in the design of mother existence. Although there are agonies on the road yet there are many reasons to smile about. As a sensitive heart it’s better that we feel the pain beyond our own self. But I would also advise not to miss the smile of a lone flower by the path. I roam around and observe things. It triggers varied emotions. I observe my own emotional reaction to the stimuli and then write something that may help someone at some phase of his/her journey.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That writing makes me instantly feel better. It’s a sort of catharsis. My Ikigai. Sometimes you don’t know where you stand. There is some deep discontent. Contradictory thoughts and paradoxical emotions pull you in different directions. That is the time when you need some support. It can come in many ways. You can talk to someone, read, play music, do exercise, get busy in painting or write. All of us have our means of feeling instant relief. Writing a few sentences helps me in getting my footing back. How can I expect others to feel better by reading my book if I myself don’t feel that relief while writing it? I am surprised to know and feel how writing instantly uplifts my mood. It gives a sense of purpose, of doing something beyond my own self.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I don’t follow a strict routine when it comes to writing. Words, thoughts and emotions have their own sovereignty and I respect that. A particular routine makes it cumbersome and hence less joyful. Give yourself full freedom. But yes, I try to keep my senses open to what goes around. Writing something on paper isn’t an abstract event. It has a sequence of events. A lot many things are happening at the level of thoughts and demotions as you follow your routine. In my subconscious I have this resolve that all this flux is going to give me a nice, presentable version of reality that will not only help me understand life better but will help someone as well in his/her journey. But there are a few techniques I follow during that preparatory stage. I keep in mind outstanding keywords for the incidences and happenings that draw my attention. I keep them in mind. Sometimes, different keywords link up nicely to give me a story. As they say, nothing is fictitious in fiction except the names and dates.
- What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is an instrument of support to the reader. A broken heart needs some succor, a puzzled person needs some wisdom and practical advice, a sulking human needs some mood uplift through humor, someone going within needs some spiritual guidance to help reach the destination or somebody needs simple entertainment. All of us have the need for something or the other. That’s just to be human. Someone is lonely and a book is a nice friend. A good story will have one or more of these elements. It will add a positive dimension to the reader’s life. Someone has entrusted his/her time and money in reading your story, so it’s your duty to add value to the people’s life.
- What is your writing process like?
It’s a multi-pronged approach. Observing things more closely is a habit that all of us can develop. Once you know that you are working on a particular book of a specific genre, your idea of life comes to centre around the main theme. You observe life from the perspective of your characters and plot. You read the books that help you enlarge your perspective on the topics related to your work. You travel the places keeping in mind the subject of your writing. You talk to the people who may add some value to your pursuit. So basically you look at the world around you as the stage on which your characters will play a little drama. Creative people have a lot of emotional upheavals. It’s necessary to use that surge of energies. I work on multiple projects at a time. Sometimes the soul wants to sing through poetry, so I write a poem. Another time, the mind has hardcore analytical frame of operation, so I write some non-fiction. Sometimes I write stories. In this way, many books develop in a sweet parallel. It helps avoid the process from turning monotonous.
- What advice do you have for budding writers?
Avoid writing strictly to earn worldly laurels. Write only if it makes you feel better and joyful. Feeling the joy of writing is a reward in itself. It’s a lifelong process of learning to write. There is no retirement age. Read as much as you can. Maintain a journal. It helps in enlarging the perspectives on life and living. Listen to the inner voice what kind of writing helps you feel better. Keep the dream alive over a period of decades. Writing is just a portion of our experiences. So naturally all of us are sure to become better writers as we add to our experiences and learn more from life. If you have the real passion for it, you will definitely hit home some day. Till then keep observing, journaling, reading, and on top of that WRITING.
- Tell us how the stories occur to you?
Even a wayside flower has a story to tell, so has a beggar on the railway platform, or a street puppy, or a rag-picker. There are countless stories unfolding every second around us. All we need is to be a good receptor. First we have to acknowledge the existence of something. Greet the wayside flower. How will it tell you its story if you just pass by lost in your miseries? Open to the surroundings. I keep myself open to the nice emotions and ideas and they just float in. Doesn’t water flow to an empty basin? Keep some space vacant inside you and welcome little things to enter your heart. You will have your stories.
- What are the books all about?
My works carry murmurs of gentility and tender aroma of small things in life. He is charming, poetic and generous in his views about life and living. Sandeep elegantly portrays little things that have a big role in making our lives joyful. His writings are an eclectic blend of witty charm, experienced softness and scented receptivity. His characters are wry, insightful, whimsical, lively as well as funny. Not to forget that he writes with intelligence and insight.