Shurbhrata Prakash is an IRS officer of the 2002 batch. Born and brought up in Patna, she studied Mathematics Honor for her undergraduate studies and then went on to do her MBA in Marketing and Advertising. She is currently posted as joint commissioner of Income Tax at Ahmedabad. Let’s get to know her more-
- Tell us something about your book “Ink On Water“:
It is a small collection of poems written over a 20-year time period.
- When did you start writing?
I have been writing since I was a child of 7 or 8. So, I have been writing ever since I can remember. Poems, stories, and even plays.
- That is amazing! What is the purpose of your writing?
Writing gives me a very satisfying outlet for my thoughts and emotions. I feel fulfilled in some way after writing a piece, be it anything. Writing helps me to understand the world as I see it, and understand myself too, through the process of this discovery of the world. Writing helps me communicate with the world as well as with myself.
- I think every writer will agree to that. In a world where not many authors opt for poetry, what inspired you to bring forth this idea as a book?
As I said, I have been writing since I was a child. Family and friends had been after me for a long time to publish something. So, I just ventured out with publishing a small book. I wanted to see how my ideas are received before going further.
As for poetry, poems are the purest form of expression. They are closest to the heart. I don’t have to write a story to capture the readers’ attention. Writing poetry is just like breathing. It is pure, uncontrived, effortless – and the more you feel about a subject, the deeper the breath you take, the more you explore, the more you express.
- How true! Your poems have deep meanings. Are all of these a work of your mind or inspired from life around you?
The poems are definitely inspired from life around me. Some of them have a light, airy feel like “A Cozy Reading Nook”. But poems like “Waiting for Her” I & II, “The Plasma TV”, “Mirrors” are all reflections of the ills and evils in our society. They are born from the deep anguish a woman feels every time a horrifying crime against another woman takes place. “The River”, “The Sea”, “Food for Thought” and “The Shade of a Dry Tree” are all commentaries on different aspects of our society. And then you have “The Dawn” which is simply my admiration for nature in a pure form.
- A varied effort, I must say! What is your view on positivity and healthy mental state?
Mental health is a subject very, very close to my heart. I have been battling a few issues myself and have managed to survive them. A glimpse into my own struggles can be seen in “Phoenix from the Darkness” and “Surviving the Ocean of Darkness”.
It is extremely important to have a healthy mind. Society has always given importance to physical health, but physical health is nothing without good mental health. I could just go on about the various issues involved in mental health, but that would be another book. So, here, I would just like to say, that a healthy mind in a healthy body is the ideal way to exist. Mental illnesses are real – recognize them for what they are and deal with them the way you would a physical illness.
- Which of your works have been published so far?
“Ink on Water” is my first publication. My works and pieces have been published in quite a few places over a period of time, but this is the first solo collection to be published.
- So how was this journey of becoming a published author? Give some insight to your efforts in getting your book published.
It’s been a long journey……and a very satisfying one. I had a wonderful partner in the form of Vandana Raj of Vama Communications, Ahmedabad. We were a little short on time, and very short on budget. So it was quite a challenge putting everything together. I had some wonderful times getting the theme, the title, the poems and the graphics right. I just love the graphics which were put together by Vandana and her team. And the biggest moment of the entire project was holding the first copy of the book – thoroughly, thoroughly exhilarating.
- You guys did a great job with the graphics of the book. It made the book all the more interesting to be picked up and read. Have you self-published your book or followed the traditional approach?
“Ink on Water” was initially self-published. After setting up my blog, I had been thinking of venturing out more mainstream with my writing, and publishing a book was the next logical step.
- Which approach is better according to you and why?
I don’t think there is one size fits all. It depends on the goals a writer may have in writing a book. For a wider audience and better marketing and distribution, it makes sense to get a publishing house on board. They have better infrastructure to make things happen. But publishing houses may not think it a profitable proposition to publish a particular piece. Many a times, publishing houses may want the writer to put in part of the cost. In such a scenario, the writer may consider self-publishing.
- What is your take on book publishing as you see the current scenario?
It is quite interesting. The book publishing industry has many players now, thus widening the field. You have the elitist publishers as well as the more mass-oriented. And there are plenty of good writers out there. There is e-publishing as well as e-retailing of books. So, on the whole, reading, writing and publishing have never seen more exciting times than these.
- I second that! What are your forthcoming writings?
At present, I am writing a book on mental health. After I wrap it up, I will be writing some fiction.
- Awaiting eagerly to read those as well 🙂
What are the four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
- The reader should want to read it. After all, what is a book without a reader?
- Convey some sense through my writing. The written word is a very important way of conveying ideas.
- The language.
- I must enjoy the whole process of writing and creating. There is no point in writing if one doesn’t get the creative satisfaction out of it.
- What is your favorite genre and why?
As a writer, I don’t have a favourite genre, as least as yet. I like writing fiction as well as non-fiction, poetry as well as prose. As a reader, again, it is just “bring it on whatever you have”, though I do admit being partial to crime thrillers.
- *Laughs* What / Who is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
As a writer, life itself inspires me. Everything in it — emotions, situations, happiness as well as suffering, goodness as well as evil, beauty as well as ugliness. Life, as in the life I live, Life as in the life that I see around me, Life as in the life that I know exists.
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
Too many challenges, too little space! Probably just surviving everyday is a challenge for a person with mental health issues.
- If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I would like to live as myself…..though I am not a personality of note! Still, I believe every life is precious, every personality is special…..and I am so happy with my life – I would never ever want to live as someone else even for a day!!
- Finally, any message for our readers?
Keep reading….be healthy – physically and mentally.
So that was Shubhrata Prakash for you, author of Ink On Water.
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