About Manju Gupta: Dr. Manju Gupta ‘lata’ is originally from Meerut, U.P., currently residing in Bangalore, Karnataka. She has been in the field of teaching and education throughout my career. She is currently a retiree and happy to follow her passion towards writing. She has been felicitated by multiple poetic societies across India and she is an active member of societies like Prerna Manch, Sahitya Sadhak Manch, Shabd, Kalam and Rashtriya Kavi sangam Karnatak through which she is promoting Hindi literature.
Her poems, short stories, songs have been published in multiple magazines and newspapers.
“Antarman Ke Moti” is the first published book of her poetic compilation.
LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content.
Manju: “Antarman Ke Moti” is the first published poetic compilation of my memories and experiences from the journey of life. I have been a poet for many years and have been part of multiple poetic societies. After a lot of appreciation from my fellow poets and family I decided to publish my first book with the collection of poems that I have been writing for years. The content of “Antarman Ke Moti” is a mix of all genres be it religious or love or woman empowerment and social issues.
LiFT: Why you chose this title?
Manju: Poetry is the reflection of one-self. There are a lot of thoughts that reside in the bottom of our heart and these are expressed in the form of words. Keeping this in mind, I thought of the name “Antarman Ke Moti” which symbolizes these feelings from deep within, just like a pearl comes from the depth of the ocean.
LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer/poet and what’s your inspiration behind it?
Manju: Reading and writing has always been an integral part of my life. My mom and dad also use to read the religious books. At the age of 15 I started writing and reciting poems and songs, guess that was the beginning.
I have always loved and preferred expressing my feeling in the form of a poetry during birthdays or festivals. This increased my interest in writing and slowly I started writing about other subjects, be it human rights or the current situations in the word, this includes not just poems but also short stories and songs. After retiring from my job I had a lot of time for self-reflection and this gave me an opportunity to get more involved in writing. Then in Bangalore I got in touch with different poetic societies and started publishing my poems, songs in the newspaper and poetic society magazines. After getting lot of encouragement from my fellow poets, I decided to publish my own book.
LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?
Manju: I love writing poems and songs as this gives me an opportunity to express myself. My wish is to touch the heart of the readers through my poetry. What I will be in ten years from now will be decided by my readers. I am hoping that I continue this path of being an author and publish many more books of my poems, short stories and songs.
LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?
Manju: The three things that makes a book successful are content quality, book quality and marketing. Even though the content are the main part of a published book but the marketing and quality of the book are equally important as in this sea of authors, Marketing helps the book stand out so that readers can notice it and the quality of the book shows the passion of the author to give his/her best to the readers.
LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?
Manju: Good writers need good readers and good readers need good writers. Every author likes to leave some message with her writing which can leave an everlasting impression in the reader’s heart. There are topics in the current word that are ignored at times because of our busy life and sometimes there are feelings that we suppress as we don’t want to be seen vulnerable. Through my writing I would like to express those thoughts from within which can raise awareness and also lighten the mood of the readers.
LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?
Manju: Apart from writing I love music, art, cooking and decorating my home with a hint of art around. I also like painting/sketching in my free time as that also helps me express my thoughts. I love listening to old Bollywood music and my favorite singers are Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd Rafi. I spend most of my weekends participating in different poetic society events and this helps me to let out my creative side and bring it in front of people. I also spend time to teach Hindi poetry to Non-native Hindi speaking kids.
I also believe that there is no age to learn new things and so along with my fellow poets we also discuss and learn (from each other) different new techniques and styles of writing poems.
LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?
Manju: Thankfully I have never faced this. I rather have too many thoughts and find it difficult at times to write everything down. But in days when I get stuck with some words or rhythm, I normally read some books or talk to my friends and family to discuss the same and get their views. Thankfully art runs in my family and I have a big group of fellow poets so have never felt stuck.’
LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.
Manju: Writing is an endless road and I intend to go very far on this. I am currently working on my collection of songs and short stories which I should be publishing soon. The short stories are based on current and old topics while my songs are a reflection of my life. I also have many more poems to be published and am looking forward to get them to my readers as well.
LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?
Manju: All I would suggest is that whenever you write something always dig deep inside your heart so that you can connect to the readers well. Ensure that the writing is with humility and ease which can connect to every reader so that it is accepted well. A truthful writing always connects and is liked by people.