Saburi Pandit is a Literature Major, an avid reader, and always aspiring to be a better writer. She really enjoys analyzing and critiquing everything around her, from pop culture to a long-form essay to banal weather. She’s extremely interested in human lives and how they sustain each other. She sources my calm from the green of nature, writing, reading, and thinking are second nature to her. She’s always working towards change for the better.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m a Kashmiri Pandit, born, (after the migration in 1989), and brought up in Jammu. I grew up in a Kashmir, much different from our homeland. Almost in a make-believe Kashmir, where everything was done in the same cultural manner, but the setting was different, a displaced setting. I studied in Presentation Convent, Jammu, inhaling the books in the library and book fairs. Which further lead me to study English Literature in college, recently completing my post-graduation, in English from Ramjas College, Delhi University.
Tell us about your book.
I have been trying to translate into words, my idea of how much memory, the traces it can leave behind in our minds and the influence and power it can have over us. What I’m trying to do in this book is to descriptively write about transience, at the same time exploring different lives and perspectives through the lens of memory.
Please tell us something about your early years and major influences on you. What inspires you still?
My early years as a reader were filled with Enid Blyton’s, The Baby-Sitters Club, and under the extreme influence of the Harry Potter Series. I read every possible comic, and lot of Nancy Drews, and Hardy Boys as well. I was never restricted by genres. It was during my years in college that I discovered writers that had even more influence on me, Mary Ann Evans, Sylvia Plath, Dostoevsky, Marquez, Jane Bowles, Lydia Davis, Samuel Beckett, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Haruki Murakami are some out of the many, many writers that have influenced me, and pushed me to pick up the pen. Beautiful prose, melancholic strain, and heart in writing, inspires me. My current favourite writer that I am reading obsessively is Lydia Davis; the poignancy with which she writes about the most mundane, ordinary of incidents and objects, inspire me, and move me to look even more acutely at life and the immanence of it.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I was inclined towards the written word since childhood, so this was a dormant desire, but a secondary one. It was while I read Anne Frank’s diary at the age of thirteen that I identified her dream of being a writer, as my own.
What made you write this particular story?
Memories haunt me, and I’d like to explore how it’d be to have lived beyond the shelf life of those memories. Do they still sting as much? What is left of them? What is left of us?
Did you face any challenge while writing this piece?
The only challenge is to constantly battle the mind’s distinct voice to curb what you explicitly want to write, to shut down how my writing would be perceived, so that I can write without any inhibition or glare.
Can you suggest some books for our readers that you think are must reads?
Lydia Davis’ The Complete Works, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories by Marquez, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and The Vegetarian by Han Kang.
What kind of books inspire you?
Abstract, absurdist, surreal that involves you as much as it detaches you from the story. And beautiful writing always helps.
Do you prefer to write horror/supernatural stories or was this story an exception?
I like the element of surreal, or supernatural as you say, but I don’t intend on writing a particular kind of story. I wouldn’t say this is an exception but the specificity is not intended.
How was your experience with the Juggernaut Writing Platform?
This is an absolutely delightful and encouraging platform, that helps aspiring writers find their niche. I don’t think there is any other platform that has been as easily accessible. Thank you for the opportunity.
Read Saburi’s story here.