“I strongly believe that these tough roads will turn smooth in times to come”.

Q: So, tell us about yourself?
• I am Aabid Shahin from North Kashmir’s Apple town, Sopore. I am eighteen years old and I have been the student of science, philosophy, politics and literature. Currently, I am pursuing honours programme in Mass communication and multimedia productions at the University of Kashmir. I am also a poet and an author of a book- “Undead Fantasy”.

Welcome Aabid!
Thank you!

Q: How you started your journey as a writer?
• I don’t know the exact date when and how, I sold myself to ink and paper but yes, I remember, I started to write during 9th standard annual examinations when I randomly tried to connect words and came out with some inked pages. My very good mentor, friend and not less than brother, Malik Aijaz, greeted me with smile as well with warmth of appreciations. While the mentioned write-up wasn’t published in any newspaper but I think, it is a milestone to me in this never ending journey. Soon after the fateful ever encounter with ink and paper, I started seeing myself possessed by the magic of art and literature. Since then, I have been writing and till date, I have written some 50 multilingual articles to the newspapers published in Kashmir, Pakistan, Canada and aboard. Apart from writing articles I have complied hundreds of poems in English and Urdu language. Seeing an inner obsession of listening to and narrating the stories (both mine and of public), I started seeing mass communication as a powerful method to address masses, comprehend the fragrance of ink and shine of paper.

Q:What was your parent’s reaction when they got to know about your writings?
• Well, they have been delighted and proud to see me busy in this rapturous service. Shining with flying colours require appreciation, support and love in big doses that I always feel excess of. They help me, believe me, consol me and invest their best for me so that my future would be preserved and beautified. Although she knows nothing about the literature, science, philosophy or even the ABCD of school institution but my mother has been my best teacher all through.

Q: Why do you write?
• Like many writer’s, I don’t write to release convoluted thoughts, to persuade reader, mark out impression or create a literary work. On the contrary I just write to free myself from me, from the dirt and pollution that has been affecting me and my comrades for generations now. I believe that artists should narrate their time; they should speak relevant things and try to make a complete comprehension of their lives and of those who they are surrounded by. I don’t claim of having done justice to my profession cum obsession nor could I ever but I always try to lay bare all the harsh realities and try unveiling what has been veiled behind thick and malign curtains of era.

Q: Any difference in yourself you feel because of writing?
• Yes, obviously. But it is in both positive and negative ways. Being a writer I feel the double pain. First as an individual of the society and second, as a writer when I try to narrate what is worth to be narrated. Secondly, writing has blessed me some sprit that I use to motivate myself no matter how tough circumstances whim at me. Writing nourished my thought process, led me to go beyond my thinking capacity and ultimately as a catalyst made my path and material easier to scatter intended colours. It was only writing that taught me what should I focus on and helped me to identify my domain.

Q: You have written a book titled, “Undead Fantasy.” What’s it all about?
• Well, “Undead Fantasy” is all about Kashmir and the human wrongs contained within. “Undead Fantasy” captures a philosophy full of serenity & shows that it is more than a pipedream. It’s real an indulgence of its own; a path that people can follow. “Undead Fantasy” revolves around love, loss, conflict, pains and separation. I have tried to narrate the innermost trauma, like how I feel like other unfortunate innumerable individuals of our time when subjected to ongoing turbulence. In addition to the capture of events and human catastrophes, few poems in the book are featured to widen horizons of our mystical and philosophical approaches as well.

Q:How tough it’s to be a poet in Kashmir?
• Off course it is. However it’s normal, I think. Having worst for them in unnumbered ways, poets and artists always have had to come out with best. This has become normal to contemporary poets as well. The current scenario is hard for sure, but positive winds too are changing their way from appropriate to better. Seeing the current literary generation holding pen with overwhelming zest, I strongly believe that these tough roads will turn smooth in times to come.

Q:Authors you have inspired by and whom you admire a lot?
• Though it is really impossible to name any specific author or personality beneath whose feet I feel I drew inspiration, but I must confess and acknowledge the role of Maulana Maududi; the great scholar of 21st century in constructing my school of thought, belief, ideas and rational outlook. Many important scholars like Molana Rumi and Allama Iqbal fall in the category of authors i have been inspired by. Apart from above mentioned gems I have been receiving doses of inspiration from M’s Sufeena Bano who’s not less than a soothing spring to me. She always believed me, loved me, made me feel high and helped me with her best in turning raw pages into my debut.

Q: How social media is both the sources of contribution and devaluation to art?
• Actually the devaluation and contribution we talk are the two sides of same coin. Facebook has become an effective method to spread arousing scents of your ink. But art on the Facebook as well in the real life is wedged between the milestones of highness/potential and worthlessness/tastelessness. While there are infinite open possibilities to draw some impact, trolling and digital violence has been quite sad trend used over social networking sites.

Q:How do handle negative responses?
• Not only me but every writer should possess inherent patience to absorb what comes from the other side. Evaluating the comments others pose at you and keeping a balance between your self confidence and what people say helps a lot.

Q:How reading enhances our reading skills?
• I believe, continuous and long exposure of reading develop a communicator in you. By reading, we could cultivate ideas. It is like GIGO- Garbage in Garbage Out, what goes in, comes out. Reading improves your cognitive, creative, critical thinking skills and adds finesse to your percolating thoughts, all needed to express your craftsmanship.

Q: What would be your message to aspiring writers?
• Read more and write less. We already have a junk of information and literature that’s never read or even looked at. In the present world where each sphere of life has taken up a conflict in itself, quality is something that everyone seems desiring of. Focus on improving your skills but not adding mere titles to your name. Name comes along with art. Above all believe yourself and come up with best.

Thank you so much for your precious time. We wish you success!

Pleased to be here! Thank you so much, Love you all!

MALIK SUHAIL GULAL- An Interviewer is a budding Writer, columnist and poet who is Pursuing Honours in Political Science at CUS. He can be reached at maliksuhailgulal132@gmail.com.