Asif Uzzaman is a young writer based in Ranchi. Born and brought up in Patna, he is currently pursuing his Higher Secondary education in Humanities. Horror, Magic Realism, Literary fiction, and light Romance are among his preferred genres. His stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies including Lifenama, Mocktales, Feathers, and others, and his articles have appeared on websites like YouthKiAwaaz. One of his poems – Veiled Wails – was adjudged number second in Awadh Literary Festival by Serene Publishers in 2015. He can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and on his blog, asifauthor.blogspot.com.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
My name is Asif Uzzaman. I was born and brought up in the city of Patna. I did my matriculation from there – from Ishan International Public School – and for last two years I am living in Ranchi, pursuing my Higher Secondary education from JVM Shyamali. I happen to be youngest in my family which comprises of my parents and my three elder brothers. My father has a thing for Urdu shayari, and it is probably from him that I have inherited my interest in literature. Though I read only English novels and write only in English.
Tell us about your story.
The Mysterious Ailment of Sameer Ansari is a short story. I like the way Juggernaut Writing Platform operates, giving each story a life of its own.
It is a story of two friends, living in a lodge, who do not leave for their homes during summer vacations. So, during the vacations, it is just two of them in the whole building. One is Sameer Ansari, the guy who begins getting epileptic fits, stretching his limbs, twisting his body and all. The other is the narrator of the story named Rishi. Rishi is taken aback by this recent development, and is determined to cure his friend’s ailment. And this is how the story unfolds.
Please tell us something about your early years and major influences on you. What inspires you still?
To be very honest, I get inspired from everything I see and experience around me, but I do not let all of them influence my writing. Getting inspiration for writing a story is not difficult, ideas are everywhere. What is important to make a piece of writing worthy is that you filter out the type of things from your mind, while writing, which can make your stories dull. And of course, the people who read my works are one of the major sources of inspiration for me.
Major influence on me has also been of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps series and Stephen King books. On the question of early years, I can only say that I don’t know which time period to call as such, because my present state is what I consider as my early years. I have got published in several anthologies of poems and stories, and thus it is just a humble beginning.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Well, this is a difficult question. I am working on my first novel right now, I wrote stories and poems two years back as well, I wrote when I was in eighth grade, I wrote when I was in fifth grade, and I used to write very short stories in Hindi when I was in Lower Kindergarten. So I knew I wanted to become a writer since very early days of my life.
What made you write this particular story?
It was an appetite to tell a story – which I keep getting from time to time – which made me write The Mysterious Ailment of Sameer Ansari. And, as you might have figured out that the inspiration for the title came from Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book, The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey.
Did you face any challenge while writing this piece?
Yes! During the course of writing this story, I had to get up from my chair nearly half a dozen times to drink water. Other than that I faced no challenge.
Can you suggest some books for our readers that you think are must reads?
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, and if one is interested in horror and magic realism, he must go for Pet Sematary by Stephen King, and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.
What kind of books inspire you?
All books that I read.
Do you prefer to write horror/supernatural stories or was this story an exception?
I have written several other horror stories before, and this was definitely not an exception. I have a special liking for horror. I love reading Stephen King. However, I can only write short stories when it comes to horror, or at least that is what I feel right now. The novel I am working on has a different genre.
How was your experience with the Juggernaut Writing Platform?
It was wonderful. I just wrote a story on Juggernaut and some days after that, while I became busy, you guys wrote back, telling me that my work has been chosen as Editor’s Pick of the Week. It is wonderful, really. I would like to congratulate and thank your team for this innovative step of creating such an author-friendly writing platform. I am looking forward to write more with Juggernaut.
Read Asif’s story here.