Neha Kirpal is the author of ‘Wanderlust for the Soul’, an e-book collection of short stories based on travel in different parts of the world. She enjoys reading, writing, travelling, music and films. You can access all her published articles in various magazines, newspapers, journals and websites on her blog www.nehakirpal.wordpress.com.
Could you inform the readers a little bit more about your work?
My story is about a man who undertakes a journey into his past in Bombay, the city of his childhood and youth. It’s about love lost, picking up the threads, and finding oneself again. Bombay is an important element, and almost assumes a character for itself within the story.
Please tell us something about your early years and major influences on you. What inspires you still?
Since we would keep moving to different cities, I was exposed to several cultures. So, travel was second nature to me. From the very start, I was drawn to the written word. When I went to boarding school, I carried on my passion for writing. I wanted to somehow make a difference through my writing – a thought that continues to inspire me till today.
What difference does writing make to your life? Do you think you’ll move on to other story formats in your future?
Writing is a huge part of my life. For as long as I can remember, it has been an essential part of me. Ever since school, where I was the editor of my school magazine, to college, post-grad, and work. In the past, I have written for print, television, the internet, etc. I’m always experimenting across mediums and trying new things. I’m sure I’ll move on to other story formats in the future.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew. I wrote my first poem at the age of seven, and have been writing ever since. I can’t clearly remember wanting to be anything much else. If I wasn’t a writer, I really don’t know what else I would have been!
This story goes into a detail description of Mumbai. What is your relationship with the city?
My first trip to Mumbai was when I was about five. Bollywood and everything else had me star-struck back then. Each time I have visited after that, I have discovered and explored – something new and interesting. Even though I have never lived there, the city never fails to fascinate me – as I’m sure it does many others.
What made you write this particular story?
I have been writing travelogues for a while. Some years ago, I began writing short stories based on travel – in a sense, stories where the backdrop plays a big role. This even resulted in my e-book called Wanderlust for the Soul, a collection of 10 short stories based on my travels in different parts of the world. So, after I returned from a recent trip to Mumbai, I thought of an idea for a story that could encapsulate something that resonates strongly with the city in some way.
Did you face any challenge while writing this piece?
Fortunately, the story flowed quite easily in the first draft. I subsequently went back and kept adding newer elements to it. Finally, in the editing phase, I had to decide what to keep and what to chop.
Can you suggest some books for our readers that you think are must reads?
I find Murakami’s writing compelling. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a riveting collection. Being a travel enthusiast, I tend to read quite a bit of non-fiction. I recently read Salil Tripathi’s Detours: Songs of the Open Road, which is a collection of essays on his personal travels. I’m currently reading Amitava Kumar’s Bombay London New York which I’m enjoying thoroughly.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
My mind is always ticking. I pen down thoughts in the middle of the night sometimes! Piecing together distinct ideas into a collective whole is often a struggle. I have such fragments ready and waiting for my next project, but threading them together into a complete story might take a while!
How was your experience with the Juggernaut Writing Platform?
My experience with the Juggernaut Writing Platform was great! It’s easy, user-friendly and responsive. Most of all, it’s heartening to know that someone somewhere cares about your story, and is not just reading it, but also appreciating, acknowledging and celebrating it!
Read Neha’s short story here.