There is always something about young people which makes them so special to interact with. While those who sit at the other side of the fence amaze you with their wisdom and knowledge, it is people like Anshuma who bring so much energy, enthusiasm, fun and rawness to the table that I am left asking myself whether I am doing complete justice to my youth, being in same age group as her!
Anshuma is all what you would tell about a new-age Indian. She studies, she work and still do not compromise on her passion. Her answers will make the kid inside laugh at one instance; yet never ceasing to amaze with the maturity she reflects at another, being one of the rare who can differentiate ‘Right’ from ‘Correct’. She brought her charismatic persona, sparkling some of it for our readers as THE DISPATCH sat down with her to know her story. Here are some excerpts:
The Dispatch: Tell me about yourself; your journey of life so far.
Anshuma Sharma: I am a simple, loving, caring girl who loves to laugh out loud; I fly in clouds but never lose the sight of ground. I believe that it’s the ordinary that is so distinguished. I am only an amateur who sees the mundane with a twist. I live in reality but dwell in fantasies. I am fragile yet strong and determined. I love to spread happiness and fulfil wishes. I am a ray of sun, bright and hopeful. I am delicate as a feather strong as a stone.
Born in a family where I was always given the liberty to be more than an ordinary Indian girl was one of the best things of my life, a lot of which is because of my mother, who is a music teacher and my Father who is an Auditor. I am a proud Kendriya Vidyalaya Student, have graduated in Journalism from Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, Bhopal and currently pursuing my Post Graduation in Public Relations in New Delhi. Besides studies, I do freelance content writing and PR jobs.
The Dispatch : So why do you write? How did it happen?
Anshuma: The fact that in spite of being the most talkative person, I wasn’t able to voice my feelings properly, is what led me to writing. I think I am somewhat the person who is stumbling upon the thin line between introvert and extrovert. I used to write for school magazines; handwritten letters were, and still, are my favourites. This knack for writing was further encouraged as I got appreciation from many in the young age. I continued writing even after school and then one thing lead to another and here I am with my Debut book. Finally!
The Dispatch: What have you written so far? Tell us about your books? What tales are you telling through them?
Anshuma:I have written many short stories the first of which was published in 2012. As of now, 7 of them are published in different anthologies of various genres. As of my short stories, each story tells a different tale. All of them are of different genre. Talking about my book ‘Not Yet’, it is a story of a rape victim, how she survived the storm, how she did fight back for justice. ‘Not Yet’ is all about her courage, her will power, her friends and how she rises from the ashes like a phoenix. I have edited a book too- “The Diary of an unknown winter”. Reading young minds, creating art is always an amazing as well as wonderful experience.
All of my stories are different from one another, the one thing common you might find in them is the message that Life Goes On, No matter what you got to stand up and Move On. Life is about the meaning of the moment, it is about how much we value our experience at that moment. That’s all.
The Dispatch: Where do the ideas for your writing come from?
Anshuma: I write with the memories of what I have or have felt in this life so far; Not my own, necessarily. Anything which I could see happen around- my life, my friends, neighbours, the old man lying crippled on the street, the dog with watery eyes expecting some food, the butterflies, leaves and flowers. I feel and I write.
The Dispatch: What is the best compliment you have ever received for your writing?
Anshuma: Many actually, but recently one of the renowned reviewer had personally messaged me that She found ‘Not Yet’ so perfect that She is unable to review it. I am on cloud 9 since then!
The Dispatch: You have earned so much at such an early stage of life? What do you feel about it?
Anshuma:To be honest it is just a start, there is a long way to go. I feel good, though the feeling I get when I see my book everyday is pretty hard to describe in words. Irony is that I am not able to write about, despite being a writer myself! But yes, the feeling is amazing.
The Dispatch: Do you read as much? Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?
Anshuma:Yes, obviously! The golden rule itself says- Only a good reader can be a good writer! I was and still am a comic book lover. My journey as a reader started with the DC and Marvel. I still have those collections. Then came Paulo Coelho, Novoneel Chakraborty, Arundhati Roy and many more in my life. But the comic books by DC are still the most closest to my heart!
My favourite author is Novoneel Chakraborty. He is amazing in his way of narrating the story plot, his words. While I don’t have any particular favourite book but the one book that influenced me a lot is At-Swim Two Birds.
The Dispatch: What is the hardest and easiest thing about writing?
Anshuma: The easiest is the Idea. You can get Ideas from anywhere and the hardest is to implant that Idea. Ideas are easy because they’re floaty, abstract things bursting with potential. Greatness feels attainable. You think, “Oh Yes, that’s an awesome idea.” But sitting down and executing them in a blank page is hard. This particular period is the hardest because you’re trying to turn air (the idea) into a beautiful vase. The choices in front of you look dazzling and terrifying. You find far more questions than answers. Tense? Perspective? Character names? Title? Location? And so on. You create and kill characters at will. I can change the book’s direction from north to northwest, then to northeast, then to north again. Nothing’s for sure.
The Dispatch: What is your greatest stress? How do you deal with it? How do you relax? What are your hobbies?
Anshuma: My greatest stress is that I worry a lot about not being able to turn my dreams into reality. And If I be honest I am constantly hovering about that boundary of being a depressed person, someone who gets anxiety attacks now and then.
My dealing with it is very simple; to make people happy. I try my best to be kind, to spread happiness, to be there for people. It takes nothing to be kind and lovable. Spreading happiness and love is my way of dealing with the stress.
Food! Give me food and I am relaxed. My hobbies include writing and reading, which is kind of obvious. Apart from that, collecting stationary items and superheroes merchandises especially Superman as well as collecting vintage stuff and old coins is what I consider my hobbies.
The Dispatch: How are you publishing your work? What difficulties you faced in this regard?
Anshuma:I have been in this industry long enough to have my work cut out when it came to publishing my book. But even then, many renowned publishing houses rejected my work, which had more to do with it being a debut novel. But I am grateful for my publishers who gave me and my work a chance and also appreciated it.
I hope to live in an age where more publishing houses would give preference to quality work rather than just few big names. The art is complete in itself; the beauty of it speaking for itself. I hope Someday it will happen. Insha Allah!
The Dispatch: Something about you that people might not really know?
Anshuma:There are few things that people might not know including my close friends. I write, Daily. I just don’t share and update it online but I do write. I am a Romantic. I root for Love. Lastly, there are few things I just want to do because they are cool and go hand in hand with my care free attitude of living, making me sort of Wanna-be!
The Dispatch: What are you working on at the moment?
Anshuma: Well, I haven’t told anyone about it yet that I am working on my next book. I haven’t given it a name as of now; let’s see where I will take it or vice-versa. The college and job leave me with not much time for writing, still I try my best to keep this foray continue.
The Dispatch: Is there anything else you would like to tell to all those who aspire to write?
Anshuma: One, Read. Two, Read more. You cannot write good until you read good. Don’t stuck on one genre, try everything you can. At this age, we all lack a certain amount of perspective and wisdom, which is gained through time. Grow. Don’t hurry; it takes time and you will realise the difference soon.
Also, there is always a scope for improvement. As a teenager, what I wrote and thought is good is what I laugh at today. And I believe it to continue 5, 10 or 15 years from now. Another important thing to take care of is the correct use of grammar. Keep working on that and form a good, usable vocabulary as well.