Monday, August 18, 2014

Author Interview: Santosh Kalwar: Quote Me Everyday: Thats My Love Story

SANTOSH KALWAR works as a poet, writer and young researcher. He is author of several books, most notably Quote Me Everyday (Lulu Press Inc., 2010). His poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in The Himalayan Times, The Kathmandu Post, My Republica, Munyori Literary Journal, Asphodel Madness, Carcinogenic Poetry, Mahmag, Mad Swirl, unFold, Rusty Truck, New Polish Beat, Chiron Review, Hanging Moss Journal and many others. His debut novel, “That’s My Love Story” is recently published by Mahaveer Publishers, New Delhi.
Your real name and pen name?

Real name: Santosh Kumar Kalwar
Pen name: Santosh Kalwar

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Memories, like everything else, are momentary. They don’t last forever. I have some good memories and some really nasty ones. If you would like to know more than you will have to read some of my books. 

About your education

I learn, I earn.  

Did my Bachelor’s of Computer Science and Engineering from Acharya Institute of Technology is affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Bangalore, India. My final year project work was appreciated both by Teachers and Examiners. I graduated with: First-class with Distinction; i.e. above 70% cumulative score in all eight semesters. 

Before graduating for Master’s in Information Technology in 2008 from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), I was hired as trainee researcher at Nokia Oyj, Helsinki. Now as a Young Professional, I hold the position of a Member for various chapters (Bangalore, Nepal, Finland etc.) of the Internet Society(ISOC). After graduation with Master’s, I was hired as an assistant “Researcher” in Professor Jari Porras's lab at Communication Software Laboratory at LUT where I studied Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Some colleagues say that I am a young inventor as I was granted a patent for working on: “Method and apparatus for viewing documents in a database.”  I’m actively engaged in knowledge transfer to the public, including dozens of columns and articles in newspapers and magazines aimed at the general public. 
And guess what? I’ve written approximately twenty-five scholarly peer-reviewed publications for international journals and conferences in highly competitive venues. I’m also very active in mentoring and volunteering for major academic publishers. While doing all this, I recently defended my doctoral thesis entitled “Conceptualizing and measuring human anxiety on the Internet” from Lappeenranta University of Technology for Doctor of Science in Technology degree.  

The results of his doctoral dissertation were in a local and national news, where the Finnish press wrote about it a lot. Even the world eminent scientist, an international expert in this field, Professor Larry Rosen, says that my thesis is “extremely well executed and very interesting.” So some people even tell that I’m a young researcher and scholar. Besides this identity, others tell that I’m an artist, poet, and novelist.

What languages you can speak and write?

I can speak seven different languages, and I write usually in English. 
. Nepali Native or bilingual proficiency
. English Full professional proficiency
. Hindi Native or bilingual proficiency
. Finnish Elementary proficiency
. Sanskrit Professional working proficiency
. Maithili Professional working proficiency
. Bihari languages Native or bilingual proficiency
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
I am also inspired by something that Steve Jobs said 
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 
I am inspired from harsh strong rejection. I am inspired from failures. I am inspired when you get this type of moments or feelings: “Well, I’ll show them!”  
I am a voracious reader. I read the world. I read everything that I see relevant. My biggest sources of information and inspiration is the Nature itself. I am inspired when people quote my words everyday and when they feel: joy, happy, bored, sadness, guilt, violent, pleasure, erotic, ebullient etc.

What hurts you most in this world

Pain. Sorrow. Sadness. Violence. Crime. Torture. Rape. War. Richness and Poorness. Inequality. Everything that widens the gap between rich and poor. Those who are rich cannot see reasons for poor becoming poorer and those who are poor cannot see reasons for rich getting richer. 

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

My biggest challenge was leaving my nine months pregnant wife behind and travelling back to Nepal from Finland to do my dad’s final death rituals. Can you imagine flying back from Europe to Asia, crying all along, and see your father lying in the deathbed in front of your house, which is also surrounded by hundreds of people and neighbors.  

Just imagine the scene. It was during festival season in Aswin, just before the start of Dussera (Dashain) festival. All those who met in a flight showed some sympathy to my situation. I had to do rituals for three or four weeks, and then I have to come back to see my pregnant wife. One beautiful life lost, and another was getting very ebullient to arrive. 

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

Aren’t we living and dying everyday? Metaphorically, we die during our sleep and we wake up in morning. I don’t want to take over other VIP’s living or antiquated personality. 

It would be amiable to be with my dad (who had the similar mathematical genius capabilities of Albert Einstein), to be with him for a day as he is long went in some far, far, wild, unreachable place. 

What is your favorite genre and why?

Literature & Fiction, Poetry, Computers & Internet

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

I started writing when I was a child. I don’t remember the right age. Maybe it was five years old or seven. I don’t know the exact age. Maybe it was long before I came into existence into the ‘pale blue dot’. 

What is the purpose of your writing? What is the purpose of our living? What is the purpose of purpose? Through my write-ups, my purpose is to inspire one person everyday. That is equivalent to three hundred and sixty-five people in a year and then when you calculate that for seventy years it equals approximately in thousands. 

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

I’ve published several books on poetry, quotes, essay, short-story and a novel. My recent book is entitled, “That’s My Love Story” published by Mahaveer Publishers, New Delhi. 

About the book
That’s My Love Story is a thought-provoking novel about the blurred lines between love and lust, adventure and personal journey. This story is for anyone who needs inspiration and motivation that there is another side to pain. 
After experiencing deep pain and failure in relationships with several women, Prem, the young man has decided to quit life by jumping from a mountain cliff. But, it takes twenty-four hours, on foot, to reach the cliff. Heartbroken and suicidal, he is yet riding high on the adventurous journey. On his way, Prem meets the old man who lives at the top of it. This old man is wise, smart, and intelligent, and very similar to a spiritual guru. Together they both set forth on a journey—a journey of self-discovery, of immense discussion, and …about love. Why has he met the old man? What will happen to the heartbroken young man? Why would he plan to commit suicide by jumping from an inhabited spot? What lessons will Prem learn from his journey? Will he live or die for love? Why is this lover’s journey with an old man important? 

All answers lie in the story.  

Praises for the book
“Interesting this idea of when dreams are shattered, then the mind rules over the soul.”
Paulo Coelho (International Best Selling Author of The Alchemist) 

“I nurture a sincere empathy for you, because being a science student you could venture to ride on a fiction, albeit fiercely based on your personal life. Bravo!”
Gurung, DB (author of Breaking Twilight)

"That’s My Love Story by Santosh Kalwar is a wonderful story full of very good object lessons and very sound advice. I am intrigued by the story and its development. I think that the plot and the characterization is well done. The publisher, Mahaveer, obviously recognized the value of this story. There have recently been many excellent books from writers out of India, which are top notch and show a great depth of feeling and wisdom in their work. I love this story.”
Bil Howard (author of The Wolf of the Highlands), Readers' Favorite

Watch the trailer  (old trailer, new updated version coming soon)

Review/purchase links

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

The four top most things would be:
  1. I want peace and silent atmosphere. 
  2. I need to be myself first. While writing I am not so much worried about whether my product will be commercially hit or not. 
  3. I will keep the diary and jot down ideas if they come to me.
  4. Go with the flow. Whatever comes into the blank pages it has to go unedited and untouched in my first drafts. 

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

It depends on the plot and what one wants to write about. I prefer realistic fiction that is based on real life events, object, scenes, and situations. Some bits and pieces do go into a fiction when I am writing but not everything. Reality is not what readers care so much about. If they want to read too much reality, they would choose entirely another genre such as non-fiction. 

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” If we proceed what he said then yes. But, I think with imagination; creativity, and intuition are equally important as well. 

Your dream destination on Earth?

“Home is where your heart is.” To cut long story short, anywhere on Earth are good for me as long as I can feed those who are attached with me. Anywhere outside Earth is also very good for me. I don’t have any particular choice, do I? 

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

Origin of birth: Chitwan District, Nepal
I have visited places e.g., Paris, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Florida, India, Malaysia etc. I do like places where there is peace and no war. But, nowadays when you just read morning news, you see that nowhere on Earth there is peace. People are fighting to become momentary master and gain one land or the another.

Your favorite time of the day?

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Your favorite color and why?

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Recently, I finished reading a short story by Albert Camus, “The Adulterous Women.” My current list includes: “Untangling the Web” by Aleks Krotoski and “Adultery” by Paulo Coelho. 

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

Great multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and diverse nation. But, poor social structure and power divisions. I have studied in South-India in Bangalore, and I have lived there for five years so you may ascertain that I have fine memories and had wonderful experiences. I still have many friends out there who I communicate with sometimes.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare

Coffee but also sometimes Tea
Long Drive
I like to play with both.
Air and Earth

What three words come to your mind for each –Technology, Life, God, Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age

Technology: a tool, behind science and humanity
Life: precious, struggle, what you make of it
God: difficult to answer, cannot say, yes or no
Humanity: greater than anything else
Terrorism: lack of money, not tolerable, should be stopped
Racism: infertile disease, measles, narrow mindlessness
Childhood Abuse: crime, unacceptable, psychological issue
Love: painful, maybe better than life, or science
Parenting: lovely experience, sometimes easy, or difficult
Old age: hard, to resist, no one listens

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

If you babble enneagram, I am a five. If you boast myers-briggs, I am an introvert-intuition-thinking-perceiving.

Twitter handle: @SantoshKalwar

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