Author Interview | Ambica Uppal

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IN MALHAAR, ITS RAINING SOULFUL VERSES AND INSPIRATIONAL POETRY

Ambica Uppal is an Indian-Canadian writer who lives in Toronto, Canada and works as a marketing manager in CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce). Born in Aizawl, in the Indian North-east, she moved with her family quite often as her father was in the Indian army. This fostered nomadic tendencies in her, and writing accorded the much-needed support she needed before she could acculturate herself in her new environment. Her writings are manifestations of what she feels while experiencing things and poetry is just one such form in which she likes to express herself. She has come up with a book of poems Malhaar: When it pours, soak yourself in poetry. In a candid chat with Chirdeep Malhotra, she talks about her writing journey; her poetry book; the new phenomenon of Instapoetry; and why in todays social climate, the adage The pen is mightier than the sword is ever so relevant. 

Can you tell us more about your writing journey?

I have been writing poems for a very long time now. Growing up, I wrote poems in my diary, and later I started sharing a few with my friends and family via emails. I also published a few of them in my school and university magazines and also a few in an Indian magazine called Femina. But it was just recently, less than a year ago, when I got done with my MBA in Singapore, that I started to share my poems on Instagram. Some people expressed liking towards my poems and suggested that I write a book. That’s when my desire to write a book got revived and I wanted to create a book full of hope and self belief. So I wrote Malhaar.

What topics have you delved into and what themes have you explored in your poetry book Malhaar?

Malhaar is a collection of poems through seasons of life. It’s a poetic downpour of emotions through the experiences that my younger self went through and what I learnt through those experiences. I want to share these poems with those who might be going through similar experiences, feeling loss of love, pain, facing self doubt. I want them to realize that just like nature presents us with seasons, phases in our lives are temporary as well. I want my book Malhaar to be their companion through these seasons of life and leave them with hope, self belief and a spirit to take on new adventures and the courage to change their circumstances.

Who are your favourite poets?

I really like poems by Leonard Cohen and Ernest Hemingway.

Can you share with our esteemed readers about the other genres that you like and your favourite authors?

I have an appetite for all kinds of books. My new found liking is for management and self help books. I started reading books in this genre recently and find them very helpful. I am reading books by Sheryl Sandberg and Marie Kondo these days.

Nowadays, poetry is being shared on various social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. You also have a great fan following on Instagram and share poems there. What do you think about this new phenomenon of Instapoets which is changing the face of poetry?

I feel that social media presents really nice tools especially to those who would like to share their creative work with the world. I can speak for myself, because as a writer I feel blessed when people read my work and message me to let me know that it helped them heal or that it touched them in some way. This kind of reach would have been extremely difficult without social media. The way that social media has affected my work in specific is that years ago, I used to write very long and lyrical poems and now knowing the consumption pattern of users of Instagram, I have chosen to alter my style of poetry to be shorter and easier to “consume”, so that more readers can read and understand my poems. Readers can follow me @ambicauppal on Instagram and read eloquent and inspirational snippets and poems.

What are your other interests apart from writing?

Its work, work, work, and work for me! I work in the financial industry in Toronto, Canada and really like what I do. I work in a fast paced environment and the rush of energy keeps me going.

There are many new writers and poets there who are aspiring to get their work published. What would you say to them?

There are such talented people around who I would love to learn from. All I can suggest to them  is that if writing is your true calling, do pursue it, be well informed of the way that the world is changing and keep abreast of all the tools that you can use to share your work. If you are looking for a form of art to feed you, a few business courses to help become business minded will definitely help (this is the MBA in me talking).

Can you share with our readers a motivational quote that keeps you going?

It’s an old, simple adage that in today’s social climate is very relevant-“The pen is mightier than the sword”.

By Chirdeep Malhotra

 

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