Nominated in the category of English Fiction for the REC-VoW Book Awards, 2019
Excerpts from the interview with Purva Grover
By TANYA SINGH
In each of the stories, a tree is an omnipresent character. How did you conceptualise this creative way of depicting a tree’s passive ‘point of view,’ if one might say so?
I don’t have a solid, romantic backstory to share, at least not an exciting ‘butterflies- in-my-tummy’ one. There are a few honest ones, though. I can talk about them. Like how as a child I wondered why my dad went to the barber, who sat under a tree? And how I’d sit there with my sketchbook and draw a picture of the chair, he sat on. The lever for adjusting its height was long gone, with no prospect of being replaced; bricks worked just as well. I was intrigued. Or how I was surprised when a friend told me about a paanwallah, who’d left his village home to pursue his dream to be an actor. A decade later, he still sleeps under the same tree in the city, in harsh summers and unbearable winters. He’s not giving up. Or how not very long ago many Indian homes had a mango tree overpowering their verandahs and how many of us used to read books under its umbrella of branches. Or how I broke down at a funeral when I saw a loved one lying on a bed of wood. Our lives incidentally revolve around trees, unknowingly, and they touch Excerpts from the interview with Purva Grover 5 Days to go our lives. They nurture us. We both (humans and nature) surrendered to each other too. We connect over emotions warmth, greed, passion, sins, secrets, faith, hope, anger, disappointment, and pain.
You’ve written stories of the everyday lives of everyday people, which gives us great insight into the emotions of people across classes and sexualities. What does writing fiction mean to you?
Fiction, in the end, is real life stories interspersed with imagination. I am just a listener. I am also a strong believer that it is the everyday people, emotions, acts, and lives that make the world a worthy place. As a fiction writer one has to be many things. You have to be strong enough to not get moist-eyed in times of loss. You have to be weak enough to fall in love with the wrong one. You have to be stupid enough to fall in the trap and make mistakes. You have to be optimistic enough to cry all nights and then wake up every morning. You have to be giving enough to accept the strange and different. You have to be forgiving enough to look into the mirror each day. You have to be angry enough to break the glass, hurt the hand and pick up the broken shard again. You have to be happy enough to share the daily cup of coffee with someone you chose. You have to be funny enough to laugh at jokes revolving around you. You have to be courageous enough to swim in dark waters. You have to be beautiful enough to let the zits grow on you. You have to be ugly enough to let anyone hug you, hold you. You have to be confused enough to pull away when to push. You have to be far enough to know what walking a mile means. You have to be close enough to sense the distance. You have to be monochrome enough to note down the day of the rainbow. You have to be small enough to absorb in the heights. But most importantly you have to know when to pause enough. Pause and let your character think for itself. Pause and let your character listen to its voice. Pause and let your character question itself. Pause and let your character feel for itself. You have to know when to pause.
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. 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 favouriteword is Meraki (Greek): To do something with soul, creativity or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.
For the complete interview, log onto www.valleyofwords.org