Inspired by Shelly’s life since her childhood, Angel Srivastava has cleared her way to the world of fantasies and has become a successful poet or aptly a writer. A refugee among books; Angel is the writer of ‘Severely Brief Peace’ – a troupe of poetries, penned by her in 5 years. Having fought the jolts of body shaming, Angel talks to Storiyaan about her life, writing and more.
Read more to witness the growth of an aesthete poet.
Questions and answers
Tell us about your book- Severely Brief Peace.
It is a collection of poems which I wrote in five years. I believe that writing is in my genes, for my family houses writers throughout generations. I have been very passionate about literature and poetry right from a young age. When I was in college, I thought of penning down my thoughts in a book, this was around 2014, and I was very much serious about publishing my book for a long time. Still, it was during this lockdown I finally got the time to compile, edit and invest the required time in publishing the book.
What went into the process of writing the collection since it took you more than five years?
I am a very lazy writer. It has never been that I finish my creative works in a go. I take time to formulate and compile down my thoughts through writing. This takes a lot of time. I feel that one should write something only when one has felt it and has been honest towards it. It gives the piece a sense of authenticity. All the poems that I had penned down there are taken from the emotions that I have experienced myself due to incidents in my life through the past five years.
Your website reads- “Because the day you stop feeling is the day you stop living.” Could you elaborate that a little?
I believe that as one is living problems are bound to come in their way and the day one-stop having problems he is not alive anymore. Life never happens smoothly to anyone, nor will it ever be. So, expecting throughout the journey of one’s life makes us lose the spirit to live it. Heartbreaks, failures, de-motivation, betrayals are essential hardships that life offers us; only to make us grow and be a better version of ourselves.
From having a Masters in Communication, talk to us about your journey towards writing as an author from your disparate background.
Writing has been something that I have been doing since my childhood when I was a little girl. Even in college, the field of Mass Communication is pretty broad, which in turn helped me a lot to widen my perspective. In my alternative subjects, I deliberately made it a point to choose something that had to do with writing. I admit that I am not a very vocal person and thus writing down my thoughts turned into my catharsis. Once I was done with my college, I took up jobs as a content writer in a company. If I look back, I feel my designation as a professional has not changed much. I have a writer throughout! I have learnt a lot through all my experiences, and currently, I am still learning.
Talk to us about your love for Indian Cinema. And what do you mean by you advocate them?
I have seen aversion in people about watching Indian cinemas. I have always been defensive in this regard as I feel that there are some fantastic Hindi movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum that a person must watch. I think that people become unnecessarily judgmental about Indian film after seeing a few bad ones. I feel that one should not judge the art after viewing some other commercial craps. Hindi movies have always been my stress buster, and while I was recovering from COVID-19, they were my constant source of entertainment.
Could you perhaps share one of the tales told by your grandparents that you remember?
My grandfather used to tell me The tale of three brothers. It was a story by the Grimm brothers about a golden apple. There was a king who had a tree of those Golden apples, and it was cut down. The king then ordered to find those who had cut down the tree; then there was a sound of a Golden Bird. The moral of the story was to make the right choices when given a choice between what’s right and wrong.
Being a writer, why do you associate yourself with the word cacography?
I am terrible at spellings and get confused with spellings. Even before posting my work on Instagram, I send it to 10 different people to cross-check it. These errors are fine in schools and our diaries, but when I’m putting it out to the world, I need to be correct. No one noticed, but there is a spelling mistake in my book as well.
Can you speak to us about Kaashi: letter series on your blog?
I had been writing poetry for a while and thinking about writing short stories. I had framed the story of Kashi but was not getting time to complete and upload the full story because of hectic schedule as I was busy in the release of the book and I fell sick after that. It is a story about an old lady who lives with her granddaughter and somehow receives a box full of letters. Later the granddaughter finds out that it was Hasan who was writing a letter from the war zone, and they were about Homecoming. Finally, in the last letter, he writes that he will be coming the next day. She awaits him, but it turns out that he died in the war.
What are your views on body shaming in today’s world?
I have been a victim of body shaming. Some people comment very casually without rerealising that their words can hurt someone. Earlier they used to call me thin and question me why don’t I eat something and now after gaining bodyweight they worry that who will marry me. It has had a lot of effect on my mental health. You give too much attention to what others are saying that you stop having an opinion about yourself. Such comments disheartened me, but then I talked to one of my friends who is a psychologist, and she told me to let go of what others are saying about you. People at times, keep telling me to exercise. I am healthy and fit just because someone will not marry me for who I am; I’m not going to push myself unnecessarily.
What do you do when you’re going through a rough time?
I take a break from social media first of all because it has too much impact on everything we do. I delete my Instagram, leave all the WhatsApp groups; tell people that I won’t be available for a few days. I spend my time on something creative, listen to music, dance, paint, and I am planning to try pottery.
You have mentioned Shelly on your blurb on the website. Can you tell us about a poet that inspired you the most?
Poets like Tennyson inspire me. His poem – ‘The lady of Shallot’ was a real inspiration. It is not just a poem, the story associated with it is also fascinating.
What is your vision 2-3 years down the line?
I want to come up with a platform for budding writers who are trying to write so that they don’t have to wait for years to showcase what they have got and I have been working on it—also working on my collection of short stories which I hope to publish soon.
a. Shakespeare or Hemingway– Shakespeare
b. Fiction or poetry– Fiction
c. Painting or writing– Writing
d. Your muse– People around me
e. Favourite author– Cecelia Ahern