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Mona Verma

Mona Verma

Mona Verma

Lost And Found In Banaras Is A Tale Of A Widowed 3-Yr-Old.The premise immediately takes you by the collar. Please take us through the inception of the novel.

Lost and Found in Banaras is entirely a work of fiction, which is based on the predicaments of the forlorn child widows in Banaras. These women are a plaintive sight with no dearth to the plethora of the adversities they face in this obsolete culture. At the receiving end of the misgivings of an abrasive society, the dichotomy between religion and spirituality further ostracises them from the life they ought to be living.

While writing this book, I was gripped by a vexed question: What is the Law of karma, and whether there is a good reason to believe in expiating, the longing for salvation and its significance in this hedonistic age. The story is set around Banaras, the most ancient city in the world; still shrouded in the mysteries, the myths and the legends that surround it. Pilgrims and tourists throng this place to attain nirvana. The want of peace in afterlife puzzled me all the more. Would we want to be born again?

And what is salvation to us?

Banaras has infinite etymologies surrounding it, the myths, the tryst for redemption and expiation from the cycle of life and death but what sense does it make to the common man of today? Do we still want it?

Child marriage has been plaguing our country for years now. What is the solution to this social evil? Can we get rid of it entirely?

We certainly can. Education is the answer to all social vices. Fortunately we are more aware now and standing up against the devil called social stereotypes and religious biases. If we enpowerr women, there will never be a situation where a girl child is ostracised for her misfortune.

You are extremely busy with workshops, motivational sessions, book readings, litfests and so much more! How do you seclude yourself from the noise while writing a manuscript?

I am a very disciplined person. And I am in my element when I am writing. Writing is a very quiet and lonely profession and a very powerful beauty rests in those quiet hours. I am passionate about reading and writing. To me it’s never been a job, hence i always find time and space for it.

Congratulations on the recent Delhi launch! How was the launch event and please share the initial reviews for the novel?

The book has been drawing rave reviews. It will be showcased at all the national and international festivals. Banaras has an enigma surrounding it and that’s the pull. The storyline has all the details of the myths and legends that make up Banaras.

It has words of appreciation from Ganesh Saili and Roshen Dalal.

You recently conducted a Haiku and Limericks Workshop as a part of VOW 2018 School Outreach Program at St.Joseph’s Academy, Dehradun. How was the experience?

I had the privilege to conduct a workshop on Haiku & Limericks at the prestigious St. Joseph Academy as a run- up to the festival. This was a part of the various creative endeavours under the tutelage of the School Outreach Program by the Valley of Words. The workshop was received very well as it was a unique and novel idea to conduct relevant pockets of activity that would arouse the curiosity in young readers towards more contemporary ideas and techniques of creative writing.

How significant is Haiku in motivating the children to take up writing in the future?

Haiku is known for its brevity and deep sombre insights. It certainly helps a writer to pack in a punch in 3 lines, using techniques like zooming and juxtaposition amongst others. Hence, bracketing a thought, otherwise an elaborate pondering in a few lines takes both perceptual effort as well as imagination.

What were your favourite moments from VOW 2017 and what are you expecting from the 2018 edition?

The Valley of Words, International Literature and Arts Festival 2017 was indeed a vibrant platform for all lovers of art and literature. We got together to celebrate our love for the inked word, art, craft, hobbies and even lesser known forms of expression .As a writer, it was a moment of literary gratification and of course, sheer joy for me to participate in a panel on,’ Fact & Fiction: Writing for young adults’, with Roshen Dalal and Nicholas Hoffland. The panel discussion delved deep into the mindset of young readers, what indulges them and also what intimidates them. I congratulate Valley of Words to be so mindful of the trends in writing and the demographics of young readers to think of such a relevant topic. It was not only a very broad area of discussion but also the need of the hour. No wonder, the hall was filled by young readers, aspiring authors, veterans and academicians who not only participated in the interactive exchange but also seemed to enjoy it.

We spoke at length about how a child’s curiosity is fuelled when history and mythology is passed through a different medium. The audience were very receptive and agreed to the fact that literature will always have the cultural high point and history will invariably add to its volume. We stressed upon the medium of storytelling as it can help authors process whole lot of emotions and stay connected to creativity and truth without betraying their imagination. The power we wield on our readers is a huge responsibility we are hefting on our shoulders. The audience applauded when shades of truth and illusion in equal parts as components of fiction was stressed upon by an impromptu recitation of my favourite poem by me. It was truly a memorable moment to be able to connect with the audience in such a potent way.

About the Interviewee:

Mona Verma is an alumnus of prestigious Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi and an award-winning author of 6 works of fiction, A Bridge to Nowhere, God is a River, The White Shadow, The Clown of Whitefields & other stories, The Other and Lost & Found.