Q&A with Tejaswini Apte-Rahm

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | TEJASWINI APTE- RAHM
Published May 14, 2017, 5:46 am IST
Updated May 14, 2017, 5:47 am IST
Tejaswini Apte-Rahm is a full-time writer from Mumbai. She has worked as a journalist and environmental researcher.
Her debut short story collection, These Circuses That Sweep Through the Landscape, was published in December 2016.
 Her debut short story collection, These Circuses That Sweep Through the Landscape, was published in December 2016.

Q Why do you write?
Writing makes me feel whole and centred. I often have the strange feeling that my “self” is being dispersed and scattered through the time and space of the day. Writing brings all those scattered elements of myself together again. It is a way of taking stock of the day, of my life, of the world around. And it is a way of engaging with other writers and other books.

Q Describe your favourite writing space.
My desk, with my laptop.I also need silence to write.

 

Q Your favourite word?
Odd.

Q Do you have a writing schedule?
I write in the morning. I need to be very disciplined to progress in my writing projects because being a mom means I can only write during school hours – never on weekends or during school holidays.

Q Ever struggled with writer’s block?
Not really. I hope those aren’t famous last words.

Q Do you keep a diary?
I’ve kept a diary since I was in boarding school, so I have a real stack of them at home now. Nowadays I write my diary very irregularly, and mainly when travelling to new places.

Q What inspires you to write? Do you have a secret trick, or a book/author that helps?
The quiet of the early morning inspires me to write. It helps to start writing first thing, before doing mundane things like checking emails — but that’s hard to do. Reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte helps me a lot, I find it soothing and wise — I often dip into it.

Q Best piece of advice you’ve ever got?
Read poetry.

Q Coffee/tea/cigarettes – numbers please — while you are writing…
A couple of cups of tea. I’m not dependent on these things.

Q Which books are you reading at present?
The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer — and enjoying it immensely. I often find myself re-reading some of his sentences because they are so beautifully written. I’m also halfway through Mumbai Fables by Gyan Prakash, a great read.

Q Who are your favourite authors?
Roald Dahl, Doris Lessing, Amit Chaudhuri.

Q Which book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?
I don’t believe in banning books. Debate, engage, disagree, but don’t ban. And there are other light-hearted responses available.
I love the idea of the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction award in the UK. Definitely more fun than a ban!

Q Which are your favourite children’s books?
The Malory Towers boarding school series and The Magic Faraway Trees series, both by Enid Blyton.

Q Which classics do you want to read?
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

Q Who is your favourite literary character?
Jane Eyre.

Q Which is the funniest book you have read?
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. And also How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. Both are hilarious.

Q Which is the most erotic book you have read?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. For its charged atmosphere and everything that is left unsaid.

Q Which book do you wish you had written?
A Strange and Sublime Address by Amit Chaudhuri.

Q Which book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?
A. I don’t believe in banning books. Debate, but don’t ban... I love the idea of the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction award in the UK. Definitely more fun than a ban!

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