“You might be good at writing than those of us who have published their works.”
Today, we have Rahila with us. You are welcome
Tell us about yourself?
I am Rahila Akhtar, a writer, an author and art enthusiasticgirl. I was born in lolab and we moved to Srinagar for better education. The inspiration to do something has always come from my native place, Lolab. I have been close to books and art. Reading from books and drawing in solitude is my solace. Professionally, I am from medical background. I am doing my Honors in horticulture from Skuast Kashmir.
How you started your journey as a writer?
I started writing few years back and decided to pen down a novel and I did. Writing a novel requires a lot of patience. I began with writing poems and it was through these musings I could pour out the inner chaos. Words have always fascinated me. I have always adored writing. I enjoy the process and my passion for writing has helped me to come this far.
What was your parent’s reaction when they got to know about your writings?
I’m grateful to my parents who gave me ample support and everything that my eyes fell upon. They have always been supportive and continue to appreciate my efforts.
Why do you write?
Writing is a healing process. As I said words have always astonished me. I write to heal my struggles. I believe we are never lost. Life has ups and downs but healing takes lot of time. So, we should take our time.
Any difference you feel in yourself because of writing?
Writing is a constant process. Yes, it feels good and it is the best escape. Scribbling your thoughts and how they turn out in the end is just another feeling. The whole writing process in itself is a beautiful pain one can go through. I feel change when I hear from people how they felt while reading my book. The character of Zara is related to the contemporary times. It is no fairy tale. I have tried to touch various themes.
You have written a book, titled as “THEN MIND WAS DISCOVERED BACK”. What’s it all about?
My book “Then mind was discovered back” is journey of Zara who loses all hope and rediscovers it through patience and perseverance. Discovering the true self is what we toil for and Zara caught between the choices of parents and her own passion. She sacrificed herself but soon discovers her true self. Life is a dynamic process. Through these changes and struggles, we achieve what is ours. A constant faith can help us reach everywhere. The mind is a powerful weapon we have and it is this ability that makes us unique and supreme during our journey to achieve dreams. We sometimes get caught and freeze. You can read the journey of Zara and how she puts every bit of a faith in life and makes a huge comeback.
You into other arts like sketching, calligraphy as well. How you manage all this? Tell us about your this art as well.
I’m a self taught artist. Besides writing I do all this crazy stuff that makes me happy. I try to paint my own imagination. I draw portraits (traditional/digital), calligraphy (Arabic/English/Urdu). I also make graphic designs, book covers, logos etc. Time management is a big hurdle today and we all are suffering from procrastination. I try to make sure that I do things on time and it makes me super happy. Yes, somehow I manage to do all the things because it keeps me busy and that is a big relief for me. Art has been there for ages. Doing something out of comfort zone is a thrill one cannot miss. Working on a piece of art takes hours but the process is sheer peace.
I’m working to improve myself in this field.
What are merits and demerits of Publishing?
It is good to see new generation is turning to writing and coming up with their books. Publishing had become easy and books are available at just one click. There are a lot of things we should consider before publishing a book. Merely publishing a book and letting it out there doesn’t make any sense. While most ofus as new writers went for self publishing so, it gave us an easy access to get published but the amount you put in publishing is the same amount you could invest in marketing. So there are hundreds of self publishing houses who get hold of new writers and ask for huge amounts and absurd promises. But after you got published, you are on your own. If you are thinking of making money by getting published in Kashmir, it is mere thinking because you are asked for pdf by your readers. Like a writer puts his efforts, time and investment and then people say ‘can you send pdf of your book’? We need to encourage and appreciate the new writers who are coming up with their books. A small amount can’t empty out pockets. Only after reading one can receive the feedback. Criticism is essential for an artist to grow. We have to accept that blindly writing anything doesn’t make us a writer. We are all evolving that is a fact but the dilemma is we are stuck between who will read whatI have written. It is better to take a small step if you are serious about writing.
What would be your message to aspiring writers?
Before even writing, one has to read lot of stuff. Every skill goes hand in hand. Failures are part of life. Have patience and keep writing. We are all learning and evolving. So nobody is going to judge you in the first attempt. Just come out of your comfort zones and try scribbling and see how words dance at your moves. These little efforts will benefit you in a long run. Success for a writer is isn’t about getting his book published. You might be good at writing than those of us who have published their works. Through Writing you can motivate, heal and spread happiness. So keep writing and keep learning. Learning is the key to success.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Best wishes!
I am pleased. Thanks a lot!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.