Himanshu Goel is a poet/novelist and blogger. His first novel was published in 2017, called Tulsi. Widely recognized for his poetry collection in The Rational Boy In Love series, he has published five volumes of poetry, the recent a public anthology— IRL.
Himanshu’s Instagram handles over 66k followers with poetic bliss and foodporn.
Team Storiyaan spoke with the poet, who opened up about his inspiration, love for food, and literature.
Questions and answers
Writing is often associated with emotions. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions that strongly?
The most impactful form of writing is when you can elicit emotions from your readers. I have known writers who might not be overly emotional themselves but can evoke great emotions from their writing.
Generally, men and women feel emotions differently. What were the difficulties you experienced while sketching out a female character in a novel?
In recent times, the differences are blurring; there are no clear demarcations about how a woman or a man is supposed to feel. For any character, male or female, the most challenging aspect is to create it lifelike, like a person, your reader could imagine was real. They need to be well defined not only physically but need to have a multi-dimensional personality.
‘Thirteen Year Old Monk’ was centered on the concept of ‘Wabi-Sabi,’ which is a Japanese Philosophy. Where did you come across this concept, and what attracted you towards it?
I had recently read the book Ikigai and was fascinated by the concept. I researched more about Japanese Philosophies and discovered Wabi-Sabi. It is a beautiful concept and related to design and aesthetics, that was one of the major reasons I was attracted to it.
You wrote, 'Maybe you never learned to love at all, maybe you fell for the idea of love,’ were you also fed up by people's shallow understanding of love?
The poem is about how people have the perfect idea of love in their minds, whether they get it from books or movies, and how that idea never matches up to reality. I don’t believe I am anyone to judge someone’s idea of love.
Flash Fiction is common, but Flash Story is a relatively new concept. What does the future hold for them?
I have often heard people say, I would love to read your book, but I don’t have the time. Flash reads it is a series of stories that you can read in under 30 minutes and still feel fulfilled at the end of it. Short stories have always been popular, and in the future, I see stories such as these making a comeback and gaining mainstream popularity again.
How do you conceptualize your poems?
A burst of inspiration often initiates the poetry for me. I write that idea down and fine-tune it until I am happy with what I have written.
Writing is often a lonely process. The feeling has amplified during Quarantine. Has this period given you a lot of free time to work on your upcoming releases?
Quarantine has been a difficult time. I often take my inspiration by going out and talking to people. Rather than being a bout of overwhelming emotions, it’s been almost a lack of feeling for me because of the limited human interaction.
You recently got an opportunity to judge a debate at the tribal youth exchange program in Chandigarh. Can you describe the experience?
It was fascinating to hear the ideas of the tribal youth. There are many useful concepts we can learn from them, and we must have similar youth exchange programs in the future.
What are your favorite restaurants and cafes in India? Which are some of the unique dishes you tried?
I am a fast-food lover, whether McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, or any other chain. I also love any place that has a good breakfast. IHOP is one of my favorites. There are many unique and exciting dishes I tried during my time in Ahmedabad, like Pizza Cake, Volcano Pizza, Monster Shakes.
What inspired you to be a food blogger? Who are your favorite food bloggers?
I have always been someone who loved to eat out with friends. I casually started posting about the meals I was having and was surprised to see the response online. Gradually, I put more effort into it and gained some following for my blog. I like the food content Buzzfeed puts out on its YouTube Channel.
Your insta feed is filled with aesthetic pictures of various dishes. Is there a particular setting that you follow to get the perfect click?
I believe smartphone cameras have come a long way these past few years. I used to take pictures with my DSLR, but my smartphone can easily click aesthetic photos today. The window in any café with natural light coming is one of the best places to capture food.
Besides being a foodie, you also travel a lot. Which are your favorite travel destinations in India, and what are some of the things that are common in your luggage for the trip?
I love Rajasthan, Udaipur, and Jaipur have been amongst my favorite trips. I like to travel light. My camera and headphones are always present with me when I travel.
You have mentioned in one of your posts that you are trying your hand at cooking. Which are some of the recipes you tried?
I am not sure which post is that. I am terrible at cooking. The best I can do is Maggi and tea.
Lastly, which are some of the exciting dishes and beverages you didn’t like?
I am not a fan of iced tea. Also, I haven’t gotten on board the Nutella fever.
1. A Rom-Com that you can watch on any given day : The Proposal
2. Favorite Cuisine : Italian
3. Skill That You Learnt in Lockdown : No-Equipment Workout
4. Name Three of your Favorite Poets : Charles Bukowski, Robert Frost, Mary Oliver
5. Your Writing Peeve : Overly long sentences