Prachi Trehan is an author and a poet. In a conversation with Storiyaan, she speaks about her book ‘Chhote Shehar ki Ladki’, the process of publishing a book and being a part of the virtual Literature Festival. She also spoke to us about her poem ‘Papa Jesi’ which she had written in the memory of her father. Read further to learn more about this weaver of words.
Questions and answers
Can you talk to us about the process of creating "Chhote Shehar ki Ladki"?
Every poem included in this book is simply a reflection of how I felt when I had moved out of my home town and started living independently for the first time in my life. Writing these poems was just a way to convert my experiences and emotions into words. This book is like a train of emotions, which takes you on a journey full of experiences. You read each poem, halt for some time, take a deep breath, think about what you just read and move on to the next one.
Since you write in multiple languages, how do you decide what content will sound better in a particular language?
I prefer writing in Hindi because I feel that I can express myself better in this language. Although I started my career as an English Content Writer, there was always a barrier. People who read my work back then often told me that something was missing. For me, if I want to be formal with someone, I prefer using English as the medium of communication. However, if I want to express my emotions, there is no better language than Hindi.
Can you give us a sneak-peek into behind the scenes of publishing a book?
The very first thing that you need to do is give your work a shape or form that can be published. You should be clear about how you want your writings to be published and then look for the publishers you want to work with. You send them your work in an unedited form, and they get back to you with editorial feedback. If your work gets selected, then they tell you about the process they follow as a publication house. You follow that process and work with edits and re-edits. They send you the final version, you approve of it, et voila! Your work gets out in the form of a book.
Could you throw some light on your first book "Meri Jijivisha"?
“Meri Jijivisha” is a collection of short stories. Just like “Chhote Shehar Ki Ladki”, it also covers many themes and subjects. I started reading fiction at a very young age, and I always dreamt about creating fictional characters and weaving a story around them. It got published in 2018, but all these stories were written in 2-3 years. Not many people know about my first book as no big publishing house was involved. However, it will always have a special place in my heart, being my first ever published work.
What are some personal inhibitions you face while penning down a personal piece?
To write about something personal, you need to know yourself first. It is not an easy process; it is one of the most painful things to do. Once you get to know what you truly are and how you actually feel, you become comfortable writing about it. Slowly, you learn to distance yourself from your personal experiences and emotions and yet write about them objectively.
Which poets of the past made you cling onto reading?
Honestly speaking, I have never been a big fan of poetry. I am a straight-forward person, and I like things to be said that way. This is something that you would find in my poems, as well. I always looked for the poems that were written in simpler words and yet spoke to me on a deeper level. Having said that, I love songs. I am a big fan of Gulzar Sahab, Jagjit Singh and Irshad Kamil.
Can you tell us the ideation behind the poem "Papa Jesi"?
I lost my father last year, and he was one of the people I was closest to. I was mourning his loss, and everyone around me was talking about how much he pampered me and how I became less ‘lady-like’ due to the way he brought me up. I wrote this poem in those days of grieving. I wanted to tell everyone that I am happy being more like my father. This is how I am, and I am proud to be that way.
Can you narrate your experience of being part of the E-Lit Festival?
It was a fabulous experience. I was being interviewed for the first time. It felt really good talking about my book and writing process. Also, it gave me a channel to connect with a wider audience. I have been to lit fests, and I always wanted to be a part of one. E-Lit fest gave me that opportunity, and it felt amazing.