Sunday, January 05, 2014

Author Interview: Rajni Arunkumar: Writer of: The Mother Of All Books

Your real name and pen name?

Real name: Rajni Arunkumar Pen name: Rajni/ Sense/ Sensorcaine/ Sense’s Lenses.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I had a very happy childhood. One of my favourite memories is those of rainy day, when the school would close unexpectedly. The living room would be converted to a temporary ‘dhobhi ghat’ with Mum trying desperately to dry our assorted uniforms and office clothes. And of course, throw in a couple of umbrellas left unfurled to dry out, and it was a wonderland for my brother and me. We’d imagine ourselves in all sorts of places- Castle Greyskull, on a mission to Mars… and there’d be no end to our adventures.
Also no end to my mum’s woes.

About your education

I’m an architect by education, and an event manager and marketer by profession.

What career did you plan during your education days

I always wanted to be an architect (since I’d read the Fountainhead, anyways), and I loved every minute of my course. I wanted to do my masters in Set Designing and joined an event management course to follow that. I got offered a job in events while I was still doing a course, and that’s how I drifted into events. It was challenging, but so much fun – the excitement, the last minute butterflies and of course meeting with a wide spectrum of people. Made for brilliant fodder for my blog.

What languages you can speak and write?

I can speak and write English, Hindi and Marathi. I’m Tamil, I can’t really write Tamil very well but can speak it fluently and just about read it. I also speak a smattering of Malayalam and Gujarati. I’m currently trying to learn Romanian; my aim is to be able to read a book in Romanian by the end of next year.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

I think life itself. We always think our life will go one way, but it seems to have a mind of its own. Life loves to throw surprises at you. How you deal with them can either make you better or bitter.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

I Think I’ve lead a largely privileged life. Spoilt, even. And I’m deeply grateful that Somebody Up There has decided I’m not ready to face any major challenges yet and is holding back the punches. (thank you!)

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I’d like to be Ayn Rand for a day – just to get into her head, to find out why she thought the way she did. I disagree with a lot of her beliefs, but to be able to go against the tide and voice a different opinion takes a lot of courage.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Humour. I believe if you can make a person laugh out loud, and make him or her forget their worries for a bit, that’s all the medicine you need. The world would be a nicer place with less road rage if people read more humour.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I’ve been writing since I was very young – not with the idea of ever getting published, but for the sheer joy of it.  I took to blogging very enthusiastically because it was a great platform to share my work, and that’s how the idea for a book came about.
Writing, I believe, is a very selfish act. I don’t think anyone would write if it didn’t give them pleasure. It’s the same for me. I write simply because I love it. I have a compulsion to put down my thoughts into words. And while I’m doing that, if I can please and amuse and entertain a few people along the way, that’s fantastic.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

So far it’s just been the one book- ‘the Mother of all Books’. Although the journey to get it published deserves a tome all of its own.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I’m currently contributing to a photobook on Romania, along with a bunch of talented expat ladies for select charities. We hope the book will reflect the beauty of Romania and hopefully generate enough money for our charities to make a difference.  I’m also working on a second book which picks up where ‘the Mother of all Books’ left off.

What are your future plans?

Apart from writing and dabbling in photography, I hope to someday write a travel book about the places I’ve visited. Other than that, kids, husband and never knowing where we’re going next keeps me occupied.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

1.   Grammar
2.   Is it interesting to me? Would I read it?
3.   Keep it simple
4.   What is the medium (blogs, articles, books, journals, etc)?

Your dream destination on Earth?

I’d love to visit the islands of Hawaii someday, and maybe have an adventure holiday in New Zealand.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I’m an Indian by birth and only moved out of the country less than a decade ago. But both the husband and I love to travel and we never lost an opportunity to visit new destinations. Our favourite cities include Bruges, Paris, Venice and Lucerne. Of course we have yet to visit the Americas to our favourites might feature new names in a few years.
Your favourite time of the day?

Evenings – they are always magical, whatever the season. In summers it means a walk in the park, barbeques and a picnic under the stars. In the winters, cuddling up in front of a warm fire with a hot cuppa. Or a visit to the Christmas markets to soak in the festive spirit.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

I’m an Aquarian.

Your favourite book and why?

I would have to say Aunts aren’t gentlemen by Wodehouse, because that was the first book I read which had me really laughing out loud – I was about 12 then, but knew immediately that I’d stumbled on to something magical. I hunted down and read every Wodehouse available in the local library then. Terry Pratchett – my other favourite, was a later discovery, and I’m glad it was later because I’m able to appreciate the subtleties much more, his way of delivering some harsh realities with a liberal does of humour is fantastic.

Your favourite food?

Mum’s food doesn’t count, right? Because that would win hands down.
But I do love my pizzas. And Hakka Chinese. Nothing like Indo- Chinese on a cold winter night to warm you up. Or a good north Indian thali to cheer you up when memories of home hit you… or some cheesy, delish Mexican to spice the night up – if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a bit of a foodie. That’s one of the best things about travelling places, I think- discovering the local cuisine!

Some quickies:

Sun or Moon,- Sun
Laughter or Smile- Laughing. Out loud. Until your tummy hurts.
Morning or Evening- evening (I know, although I love the sun, I’m SO not a morning person)
Coffee or Tea-  Cutting chai. With Vada Pav
Mountain or Sea- I’m a beach bum through and through
Long Drive or Short Drive,- that depends doesn’t it? Is it the journey that’s important or the destination?
Silence or Conversation,- conversation. Always.
Water or Fire,- water. Preferably warm.
Air or Earth, - Air. Freedom.
Mars or Jupiter, - both sound good to me – you providing the space shuttle?

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote:

You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can NEVER fool your mother.

The last line of your autobiography would be…

That sounds so morbid. I need to live a lot more to have a last line.


Twitter handle: @senseslenses
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