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Unhesitant to display vulnerability, yet unafraid in her choice of subjects, Bijaya Biswal is one of our three featured authors this August 2017. She tells us what makes her tick!
Women’s Web is a collection of very diverse voices, of Indian women (and a few men too), from around the globe. Every month, we feature 3 of our community members here, authors who have made a difference.
In August 2017, one of our Authors of the Month is Bijaya Biswal. Bijaya is a writer who has no qualms about saying it like it is. A feminist who is unafraid of taking on the thorny issue of how culture impacts women, her writing is lucid and makes one think. You can read Bijaya’s writing at Women’s Web here.
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
I write because I feel a compulsive urge to find others like me. My writings have always ended up on the desktops of others who read and connect to it, and hence come in touch with me to empathize regarding my themes. I feel it is beautiful how so many people can feel just the same, but keep considering themselves lonely because they are not aware their emotions are so commonplace. Writing bridges the gap between such hearts and brings the world closer.
When and how did you first begin writing?
I first began writing at the age of 12. I remember having written about the loneliness of being a small girl, since in the evenings the boys would never let me play with them and schools had no female football teams for me to join. So all I had to do for recreation of my own self was reading books, which I now realize was a book. I wrote for the first time, the day I watched a movie called Leon The Professional(1994). There is a dialogue I remember when the 12 year old protagonist asks a middle-aged character, “Is life always so hard or only when you are a kid?” And he responds, “Always like this”.
Do you have a muse?
I am extremely inspired by Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. I find they were women far ahead of their times in terms of emotional needs and it inspires me to write along the same lines, without being ashamed of my vulnerability. I also love Albert Camus since he addresses the absurdism of life alongwith its worth nevertheless, which makes me contemplate on heavy themes like depression, suicide and existentialism.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Mostly people around me. I am observant and hence stories come to me on their own, rather than having me to look for them.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
I am motivated to write a lot on the meaninglessness and purpose of life, which are subconscious dilemmas that everyone faces but might not be able to acknowledge or comprehend. I want to simplify them down by breaking these thoughts into words, for others and for myself.
Anything you’d like to tell others who would want to write?
Motivation has to come from within. You should not expect it from the environment around you. You have to drive yourself to write rather than waiting for inspiration.
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I wanted to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting 'win' moments.
My daughter turned eight years old in January, and among the various gifts she received from friends and family was an absolutely beautiful personal journal for self-growth. A few days ago, she was exploring the pages when she found a section for writing a letter to her future self. She found this intriguing and began jotting down her thoughts animatedly.
My curiosity piqued and she could sense it immediately. She assured me that she would show me the letter soon, and lo behold, she kept her word.
I glanced at her words, expecting to see a mention of her parents in the first sentence. But, to my utter delight, the first thing she had written about was her AMBITION. Yes, the caps here are intentional because I want to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting ‘win’ moments.
It's well known how diplomatic and professional Priyanka Chopra is. Why would she want to stir the hornet’s nest when everyone’s happy in their personal space?
Priyanka Chopra (PC) did something completely out of character. She’s usually known for being articulate and mostly diplomatic, unless she wants to give sassy comebacks to people who try to put her on the spot or ‘in her place’.
She’s someone who’s never fought the establishment because she understands you can’t win against it anyway. But you can work around it to get your way to the top. She’s a thorough professional and team player.
For someone like Priyanka Chopra who’s never played victim so far, to admit being the scapegoat of petty politics in the Hindi film industry was refreshing. It’s good to see this unfiltered, vulnerable side of her for a change. PC revealed one of her reasons for shifting to Hollywood on the podcast, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.
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