It is an immense pleasure to interview Dr. Santosh Bakaya, A Reuel International Award winner. So without wasting even a second let’s start asking Dr. Santosh some questions here. But before that read a quote by Dr. Santosh Bakaya.
It is love and love alone that moves this wide, wonderful, whacky world. had there been no love and just hatred, the world would have hurtled down an abyss long back.
– Dr. Santosh Bakaya
1. Tell us something about yourself.
.At the very outset let me thank you for this opportunity , and let me also emphasise that as a teacher, I have always appreciated the creative spark and dynamism in the youth . So Anuj, hats off to you for your enterprising work.
Well, I am an ordinary person, but always on the lookout for the extraordinary in life. My family tells me that I am always on a high , I laugh easily, I cry easily , a lone tear in a person’s eye can trigger a deluge of tears in me . In all my dealings, it has always been the heart that has had the last word, while the head always takes the back seat. Although , I have a doctorate in Political theory , literature has always been my first love.
2. What is writing for you?
Writing is a passion for me.It is my lifeline. Writing is catharsis. It is therapeutic for me, almost a magic wand which can lift my sagging spirits. It is as important for me as eating. But I can live without eating, not without writing. I have to write every day, come what may. If I do not, I feel something is not right. If something tickles my fancy , I have to write about it , if I do not put my thoughts on paper , it will keep rankling in my brain , until I have given vent to it .
3. Did you always want to be a writer?
No, I never wanted to be a writer, but one day something happened in school, which put this seed in my mind. In class tenth, I had written an essay on Charles’ Dickens, and one of my teachers in St. Angela Sophia School Jaipur, Sr Theodora, liked it so much, that she told the entire assembly, ‘This naughty brat Santosh has the makings of a writer. Don’t be surprised if you find your friend as a novelist one day.” So, this self- fulfilling prophecy prodded me on into writing more than ten books – essays, novels, a collection of poems. My three mystery novels for young adults were quite popular.
4. Who is your biggest influence?
My father, Dr K. N Bakaya, a very eminent professor of English in Rajasthan University was indeed a great influence on me. He flung away the same essay that Sr. Theodora had praised, with the remark, “what a mediocre essay, it has no style, is this the way one writes? You cannot become a writer, without first reading a lot. Once you read, read and read, only then will you be in a position to write. I remember, he gave me Willkie Collins ‘book, ‘The woman in White’ to read, “finish it in a week, and we will discuss it” he said. So it became a ritual. From that day, I started reading every book that I could lay my hands on, and every weekend, I would have an enlightening discussion with dad, in which all the siblings would chip in . Our house was a bibliophile’s paradise, and I reveled in this paradise, gorging on bits and pieces of litearture , enriching myself along the way.
5. Tell us something about your Ballad of Bapu.
One of the students in my MPhil class, always used to crinkle his nose at the mention of Gandhi , and when I told him to first read properly and only then criticize him , he remarked , “Madam , I am a poet , I want you to write a ‘mahakavya’ on him , then I will read” . Ballad of Bapu was my answer to him.
6. Would you like to share your best poetry with us here?
My best is yet to come, for i am learning every day , but I am sharing a few stanzas from my long poem SHE [SHE stands for my imagination.]
Ah she comes, she comes, a song she hums
Rising above the cacophony of war drums
How she loves to change dresses and masks
This fashionista deftly performing myriad tasks.
. She is the arrow plummeting through the forest.
Hugging many an explosive secret to her breast
The swish of the wind galloping through the trees
Misty and mesmerizingly magical, at times a tease.
She morphs into a rain cloud ready to burst
Rearing to quench a parched throat’s thirst
She dies as the last candle in the shepherd’s shack
And then as the rustle of the leaves is again back.
7. What are your other interests besides writing?
I am equally passionate about teaching, and reading, and love to interact with my students. Yes, I have also written and directed many plays, and love to conduct creative writing workshops with my husband.
8. Tell us about your upcoming work.
I have this uncanny habit of working on different projects in a slap – dash simultaneity, as a result I do not have just one upcoming work, but five.
The first one in a collection of my peace poems, ‘Where are the lilacs?’, which will soon go to the publishers .The second is a biography of Martin Luther King Jr, which I will be sending to the publishers in a month’s time, the remaining two are novels- one a satire on higher education, and the other a love story .My most ambitious project is Oh Hark! which fetched for me the Reuel International Award for Writing and Literature , 2014 , I am in the process of completing a sequel to it and intend publishing both as an illustrated book.
9. How can our readers connect with you?