Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 1/12/2022 10:39:37 AM Books and Authors

Author Interview: Prachand Praveer

Prachand Praveer was born and raised in Munger, Bihar. His first Hindi novella, “Alpahari Ghatyagi: IIT se Pahle”, published in the year 2010, influenced many young aspiring writers. His first non-fiction Hindi book, “Abhinava Cinema”, an introduction to world cinema published in the year 2016, has been lauded as innovative and progressive for cinema studies by leading critics. Its English translation, “Cinema Through Rasa” was published in the year 2021. He has recently come out with the short story collections “Kal Ki Baat”, which have been published in three volumes – Shadj, Rishabh and Gandhar. In a candid chat with Chirdeep Malhotra, he talks about his latest books, his writing journey, and his favourite books and authors. Read on!

Please tell us more about Prachand Praveer as a person.

I am a working professional who likes to understand the reality around me; therefore I find natural refuge in the world of words. There is a lot to know and learn in our lives, so I am on the journey as a curious student.

Has writing always been a part of your life? Or did you chance upon it later on and then instantly fell in love with it?

I have always been an avid reader and a storyteller. My parents nurtured my reading habits. I started writing during my undergraduate years when the bug of creative writing bit me. However, I considered getting published only after I graduated from my college, when my teachers thought some of my works may be worth publishing.

You have come out with a short story collection “Kal Ki Baat”, with its three volumes being “Shadj”, “Rishabh”, and “Gandhar”. Please tell us more about this short story collection.

These short stories have been written over the past fourteen years. The stories of “Kal Ki Baat” are sequenced in the titular numbered episodes. Each story describes the events of the previous day in an engaging manner. These stories are written in an autobiographical style and bear relevance to contemporary north India, encompassing humour, fiction, and tragedy. Readers will find familiarity in the incidents dealing with the protagonist’s colleagues, friends, and naughty children of the neighbourhood.

What are some of the themes and topics that you have discussed in these short stories?

In many stories, the protagonist sets out for an expectant romantic endeavour, and often fails spectacularly in his attempts. Some incidents deal with the moral dilemma in seemingly trivial incidents which forces readers to think about dealing with such situations. These stories are particularly infused with well-loved and popular poems and songs which are an integral part of our culture and values. All references have been duly mentioned at the end of each story.

What was your research process like?

These stories have been written over a long period of time with the idea of fun while reading. There is hardly any research done for these spontaneous stories. The incidents may appear trivial, but they are interestingly familiar. These books aim to lighten up the mood as well as to familiarize the readers with our literary and cultural heritage. It can be said that writing itself needs research for its effectiveness. I believe one should be open to different kind of thoughts and experiences.

Can you tell us more about your writing process for these books?

These stories are humorous takes on our everyday lives. I primarily wrote these stories for my friends and colleagues, who speak Hindi but prefer not to read in their mother tongue. I fictionalized many familiar incidents and shared with them. Some of them took interest, and many did not. Those who took interest, are not avid readers but prefer short narratives, and this encouraged me to continue this series.

What were some of the challenges while writing these short stories?

I did not face much challenge while writing these short stories but publishing them had been a challenge. One of the key challenges was in the compilation. It was a considerably difficult task to select stories from the lot of 200 episodes. Finally, 114 stories were shortlisted and thus three volumes were conceptualized in the current shape with the help of my editor friends.

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

There are great classics one should read. To begin with, we must read “Kumara-Sambhavam” of Kalidasa, “Valmiki Ramayana”, “The Brothers Karamazov” of Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, and “Don Quixote” of Migul De Cervantes.

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

I am working on a series of stories based on the thirteen principal Upanishads. Five of my stories, each based on a different principal Upanishad, have been published in reputed Hindi literary journals such as Samalochan, Tadbhav, and Pahal. It may take a couple of years to complete them. Upanishads have been revered as the key source of all kinds of philosophical thoughts prevalent in India. Moreover, their highly poetic nature makes them difficult to understand, whereas that also leaves space for a modern interpretation.
In addition, I have recently got involved in translating world poetry into Hindi with an able collaborator.

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

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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