Srishti Chaudhary is one of the few writers who can claim to have published 2 books and multiple short stories before turning 30! She writes about Indian girls and women and their struggle with their dreams, like in her short story ‘I Want to Be Miss India’ that tells the story of a young girl and a seemingly impossible dream! She talks to us about what it takes to become a published author so young and what the pandemic will do to Indian literature:
What got you interested in writing?
Growing up I was a big reader and reading so many great books also made me want to write something like that. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a writer and tell stories!
You’re one of the few young writers that has published books with major publishing companies before turning 30. Any tips for young writers out there?
Just write that book and keep persevering. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there, but also don’t think that just because you did, it will work out! Writing and publishing takes years for most people, and you have to remember it’s a marathon not a sprint! Just read, write, publish, repeat and don’t think about the rest.
Do you think the pandemic is going to affect the styles and habits of Indian writers and readers? Perhaps push the dystopian/ apocalyptic genre since it feels real now?
Yeah perhaps, but the opposite could work as well- I, for one, want to escape this nightmare and don’t look forward to the word corona or pandemic being mentioned in stories or movies.
How do you work towards making your writing style inherently Indian – since many writers draw inspiration from foreign writers, many may face issues writing in the Indian context. Do you face this struggle, and if so, how do you deal with it?
This is one thing I don’t struggle with – I feel I can’t write unless it’s in this inherently familiar indian way. It just doesn’t feel real to me. Sometimes I’m making a conscious effort to use more words and phrases from my native language, and use references that are local.
How do you think writing can help spread positivity right now?
Perhaps it can help us make sense of the madness around us. At least for me, writing feels like I’m getting back the control, that there is still something which is in my hands. Stories of love and positivity of course have the power to lift the spirits.
What would you say to anyone who is using the pandemic to discover the serious writer in them?
Well done! There is enough time, what with being home and extra time people might have on their hands. Start with reading a lot, and if there is the will, writing will follow too!
What do you think are the obstacles young Indian girls face in achieving their dreams?
So many! Growing up they are always presented with an idealized version of themselves – the girl who learns housework, doesn’t break rules, studies well, follows the book. Society constantly reminds them things they can and cannot do. I feel as a girl you have to fight double, struggle much more – that’s also what makes girls so resilient, but that resilience is thrust upon them.
One book you would recommend to everyone in the world?