Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 8/24/2021 8:46:07 AM Books and Authors

Author Interview: Sanah Singh

Sanah Singh is a marketing manager in a leading FMCG organisation. She has pursued an MBA in marketing from NMIMS, Mumbai. She writes and performs poetry, and has done Open Mic poetry at Prithvi Theatre and The Hive, Mumbai. She is certified in Arhatic Yoga and defines herself as curiously spiritual, which is reflected in her poetry as well. She has recently come out with her poetry book, “A Vibrant Autopsy”. In a candid chat with Chirdeep Malhotra, she talks about her latest book, her writing journey, her favourite books and authors, and much more. Read on!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a writer.

I’m a marketing manager who finds her balance in life through stories and poetry. I’ve been writing since I was a child, and it began because I was an avid reader. As a child I related more with books than people. So I started writing, at first to connect with people through my words, and later to connect back to my ‘self’.
For me, reading is a pause – a time when I am shaken awake from my robotic way of living, to a space of contemplation. Writing helps me find my inner voice. It is sometimes a catharsis and at other times a meditation.

Why did you decide to write poetry?

I love words, and writing them comes more easily to me than saying them. When I first read a poem in school, I realised that poetry had been around me since childhood. We were taught ‘paath’ (prayers) at home, and they were poems of love and longing for the creator. From prayers to music, poetry was everywhere. Writing poetry became oddly therapeutic for me. The chaotic world made more sense when I put pen to paper.

You’ve described your book “A Vibrant Autopsy” as ‘a watercolour attempting to swim back to its source’. Can you explain about this a bit more?

There are so many roles we play in life that we tend to forget who we really are beneath the hats we wear. I sometimes think of humans as water colours. We lose our true essence as we get pulled by the currents of life. “A Vibrant Autopsy” is a journey of remembering who we were, before we diluted ourselves to fit in.

What inspired you to pen the poems which are included in this poetry collection?

I was always spiritually curious. In the past few years, I started meditating more often. I practiced mindfulness and as my thoughts became clearer, I started the journey of uncovering my own layers. Writing is a cathartic process for me that helps me feel rooted, and that is the space from which “A Vibrant Autopsy” was born.

What are the reoccurring themes in “A Vibrant Autopsy”?

Art and emotional depth, as a means to live a more meaningful life. The collection starts by looking at the world with wonder and then turns the lens of observation inwards.
I’m a huge fan of acknowledging emotions – neither denying nor drowning in them. So you’ll find poems observing every emotion, and poems that deal with the ‘inner demons’ with humour. There are poems that see anger as a guardian of sadness, and poems that observe how loneliness and dreams play out similarly in the lives of all human beings. The restless intensity of ‘feelings' metamorphose to ‘longing’. This longing to create art, love and grow translates into living a fuller, more authentic life. This is why “A Vibrant Autopsy” is themed into four sections - I wonder, I feel, I long, and I am.

What, according to you, are the pre-requisites to writing soulful poetry?

I believe all authentic art is soulful. Honesty is soulful. If you can find the exact words, colours, music or any other medium to truly express your truth, the resulting art will resonate with the audience.

How is the experience of publishing a book different from writing it?

When I started writing, I wrote only for myself. I got the courage to share my work after I got an encouraging response for the pieces I shared on my instagram handle – @singhmeastory. Getting published can be a long and arduous task, and one must not get disheartened in the process. I was lucky to work with The Book Bakers literary agency and with Locksley Hall Publishing, who helped turn my vision to reality.

What is success to you, as an author?

When I was younger, books opened up a whole new world for me. It is strangely peaceful to know that another person has felt what you are feeling, and gone through similar dilemmas. A successful author, according to me, gives voice to the unarticulated potpourri of emotions inside his/her readers.

Can you recommend some books from any genre, for our readers to add to their reading lists, that you particularly cherish?

My reading list spans across genres. Among poets I love the works of Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Rupi Kaur, Amrita Pritam and Sylvia Plath. I keep the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius close, it was my introduction to stoic philosophy and is a remarkable series of reflections and exercises to stay rational in a chaotic world. I’m also a huge fan of Maya Angelou’s autobiography. Her story is fiercely courageous and I keep going back to her poem – “Still I Rise” when life seems bleak.

What are you working on next? Any new literary projects that our readers should look out for?

I have written a novel. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I have finally finished a novel that I had been working on since years. The genre is fantasy fiction. I cannot reveal much at this point, but it will be published in the coming year, so the readers won’t have to wait for long.

Can you share with our readers a motivational quote that keeps you going?

There is this quote by Martha Graham, the famous dancer, that I keep going back to whenever I have self doubt.
“There is a vitality, a life force that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”.
It reminds me that my job is not to judge my work or compare it with the work of others. My responsibility is to be a vessel for the ideas that flow through me and give them life.

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