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The Trees told me so – Purva Grover

The Trees told me so – Purva Grover

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The Trees told me so – Purva Grover

Tanya Singh

Is there a story behind why you picked ‘The Love story of Maya K’ over the others, as the title of this book?

I picked The Love Song of Maya K, which is one of the stories in the collection, as the title of the book primarily because, in a way, it encapsulates the theme of love that runs through most of the stories in the book. And by that I don’t just mean romantic love — but unrequited love, disillusioned love, nostalgic love, brutality in love and so on.

The title is, of course, derived from T.S. Eliot’s celebrated poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which is one of my most favourite works of literature. That, too, was one reason I chose The Love Song of Maya K as the title story of the book.


You have also been a journalist. What draws you to writing fiction? Has your journalistic writing inspire your stories in any way?

I continue to work as a journalist. However, for many years I had felt the urge to write fiction. Looking back, I think what drew me to fiction was that the genre sets you free from the bounds of facts, which is what I concern myself with in journalism. Also, I suppose I had a creative impulse, and it was clamouring to be fulfilled even as I devoted my energies to my journalistic career.

Yes, my experience in journalism has certainly influenced many of my stories. While a few are inspired by actual news events, most are based on my observation of society and its mores. I think I owe my powers of observation to my training in journalism.


Your narration is interspersed with colloquial terms. We’re curious to know whether this is your natural and authentic way of writing – your voice – or if there is a conscious thought, or reason behind the usage?

I would tend to believe that this is my natural way of writing. However, I have found that, by and large, my style flows from the subject of a story and the treatment I am giving it. It is, for the most part, automatic and unconscious. In other words, if I am writing a story about contemporary urban India, my linguistic style tends to be in sync with it. 


You portray many lives in these thirteen stories. There are also a wide range of issues and characters that you’ve written about. Who is your favourite character from your book?

That’s a tough one! I guess I find the character of Sumitra from The Leaving particularly nuanced and finely etched.


Could we say that these stories have been inspired by lives around you, or are more fictitious than that?

The stories and the characters in them are an amalgamation of my observation of real people and events and my imagination. I think the creative process is a lot like putting stuff in a blender. You put in your experiences and the resources of your imagination, and what comes out of the churn is your creation.


Your stories have wild twists, some of them, and are spicy to say the least! Are there other genres as well that you are thinking of writing in? Also, are you working on another book?

I love the short story genre for its brevity and its power to make the reader think beyond the contours of the narrative. I hope to continue to write more short stories.

However, my next work is a novel. It will be published by HarperCollins later this year. 


Your writing is flawless, and really draws the reader in. Who are your favourite short story writers; or short stories that have had a profound impact on you?

My major influencers in the short story genre have been Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, Katherine Anne Porter, Raymond Carver and William Trevor. There are many many stories that have left a lasting impression on me. Let me mention just one: The Dead by James Joyce.

About the Interviewee:

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. She is the founder- editor of The Indian Trumpet, a quarterly digital magazine for Indian expats, and works as the assistant editor with a UAE national daily, Khaleej Times & as the Editor, Young Times, a magazine for young adults. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. She resides in Dubai, UAE. She recently made her debut as an author with The Trees Told Me So. Born & brought up in colourful-chaotic India, she writes in English. In the capacity of director-founder of the Dubai Written Words Society, she conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open
mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE. As the assistant director of the Dubai Writers’ Society, she hosts weekly writing and critique sessions. She wrote and directed a play as part of the 2016 Short+Sweet Theatre Festival, the largest festival of 10 minute plays in the world, and won the Judges’ Choice Award in the Wildcard Category (Dubai). The play was recognised for its bold content and unique directorial approach. In April 2017, she was selected as one of the five local writers in the UAE to write and direct a theatrical production for a show called Queens of Drama, which focused on women-centric themes. In August 2017, she won the best director & playwright award at Short
& Sweet Kolkata (India). She has also participated and successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge three years in succession, 2014, 2015, and 2016, and in 2018 lately. She is addicted to the idea of penning down tales to discover her favourite word. Her current favourite
word is Meraki (Greek): To do something with soul, creativity or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.