Wizards of Words
From left- Baburaj V Nair, Deep Ahuja Sharma, and Vidya Venkataramanan

In Conversation With The Wizards Of Words

March 27, 2021

It is not an easy task to write poetry and rightly so poets are often called the Wizards of Words. Poets churn out emotions like nobody else and when so many feelings come as a book, then one has to stand and take a bow.

Elephantism- A Poetic Journey Within is one such book, which is not just an amalgamation of emotions of three poets- Deep Ahuja Sharma, Baburaj V Nair, and Vidya Venkataramanan- but it is a reflection about life seen from various angles and perspective by the three Wizards of Words.

The Story Mug caught up with these three Wizards Of Words to know more about their work and the journey so far.

TSM: Since when have you been associated with writing

Baburaj: It has almost been 25 years now

Vidya: I have been writing since I was in Class V

Deep: I have been writing since my college days. It has been almost 20 years now

TSM: When did you feel you should take writing as a profession?

Vidya:  Ever since I knew I wanted to write

Deep:  While I was an intern for a media company where I would draft news bulletins and sometimes go out to exclusively shoot and record and give voiceovers. Being a journalism and mass communication personality I had to learn the ropes of writing and narrating well.

TSM: What has been the support and inspiration of your family in this journey

Baburaj: Excellent

Vidya: Unstinted support from my family and parental family too

Deep: My husband has been my biggest fan as well as a critic. My grandfather and his brother JRD Ahuja Satyarthi- both of whom were authors.

TSM: Which author/authors have been your biggest inspiration.

Baburaj: William Wordsworth, and John Keats, Rabindranath Tagore, Maha Kavi Vallathol

Vidya: Khalil Gibran, Keats, Kabir, poets in English literature, Tagore too

Deep: Shiv Khera and Robin Sharma

TSM: The first book you published and what made you conceive the idea of writing the book?

Baburaj: My first article was published in 1989 in the Indian Express newspaper. My first poem was published in the Times of India in 1989.  The feedback received from the readers encouraged me to write more.

Vidya: School and college magazines, first articles were published in Indian Express and Deccan Herald in 1979, Youth Ink column carried my articles .children’s stories are unpublished as of now. The feedback was good.

Deep: Contributed my story " Yourself belief is your superpower" in an anthology called Unfurling My Heart- Inking Our Untold Stories compiled by Mousumi Kalita Sachdeva

TSM: Tell us about your new poetry book Elephantism

Baburaj: Three strangers came together to pen their journey of self-discovery through the wonder of nature.  Reflecting around me, and then reflecting within me – pondering Outside In and Inside out.   Beautifully, three travellers on a simple nature-based metaphor brought interesting perspectives and the journey was enriching and self-revealing.

Vidya:  Out of the blue, three strangers came together, reflections of the souls found expressions in sheer poetry, and the journey unravelled a deeper understanding of the three travellers and myself in the process.

Deep: It is the energy in motion of three human beings who came together to engage their head, heart and guts and meanwhile, the action just took place with their hands. You would find so many perspectives to the same image, that you could be intrigued to compose one of your images.

TSM: Two other poets have co-authored the book. Tell us about the experience of working with them.

Baburaj: As indicated earlier, it made me learn that the purpose is more important to bring something out of nothing, and friendship blossoms around the purpose.

Vidya: It was a spontaneous meeting of acquaintances, poetry being the bond. It was amazing to see how a spiritual journey can be so similar, though with different perspectives. We helped each other out in thought, words and expressions.

Deep: Baburaj is incredible at following through, he helped me stay on course and not derail on the timelines. It sometimes was challenging but now looking back I bless him for that. Vidya seems to have an utter flow at writing simplistic yet superb intriguing poetry. I enjoyed this opportunity now Vidya and I share our musings and poetries often with each other!

TSM: Any particular incidence you would like to recall

Baburaj: There was no incident at all, and everything was “happening”.

Vidya: Everything went well, it was like it was meant to be.

Deep: This book engaged my creative juices just when I needed it the most. I wrote one poem daily while I was being self quarantined due to COVID19.

TSM: What is literary success for you?

Baburaj: An opportunity to express self, and more readers appreciation

Vidya: An expression of myself, and yes more readers.

Deep: When my words could move someone's heart or enable a mindset shift.

TSM: The basic homework one needs to do before writing a book?

Baburaj: For a poem, we decided to make it flow from heart, and the spontaneity with which three of us wrote, without much preparation, and allowing ourselves to flow was the magic.

Vidya: It required no preparation at all. It flowed like magic and most of it was written in two days! Magically!!!

Deep: I agree with Baburaj. Just some meditation before and if possible some sunlight over your head just enhanced the flavours for me

TSM: You are also a life coach. How do you juggle between writing and being a life coach?

Baburaj: Though mentoring journey, I started around 10 years back, my journey as a life coach started recently.   Creating framework/thoughts and expressing the same to help others to discover and add value is my purpose in life.   Writing, Mentoring/Coaching are related passion towards my purpose.

Vidya: I’m not a life coach, but as a Reiki healer, I have learnt that people reach out for some kindness, some resolutions to their issues. It has taught me that we are all travellers on the same path, but in different walks of life. We all,  including me, need a leg up at some time, so Reiki helped me find that. Hoping my writing will also speak to people in some way.

Deep: Being a life coach, writing just becomes so easy, you relate to so many aspects of life deeply, that you just offer words if you pen them down. I just write a bit daily so it helps me stay in the flow.

TSM: Tell us a bit about your life coaching work. How did you get attracted to it?

Baburaj: Being a mentor, I learned that there are gaps in my perspectives on various matters, especially on people and hence need to correct these perspectives built around my own beliefs/notions. I learnt that coaching is a process of self-discovery helping to develop choices and own up these actions with sustainability.  So far the journey was quite enriching to me and the people with whom I got connected through coaching.

Vidya: Through life’s experiences, we can either choose to learn and move forward or stay put and wallow in it. To find myself would mean putting everything in its proper perspective. And then there would be nothing.

Deep: I am into both life and leadership coaching, it attracted me I would say. As I was allowed to coach my first set of internal organisational clients in 2006, then 2008 2011, it became official that I would coach leaders and their teams.  And now I enable others to become certified life and leadership coaches! It's spiritual to me. It has touched my life deeply in many ways.

We hope we get to read more from these Wizards Of Words in the future and apart from writing, we also hope these Wizards Of Words also continue to inspire many- the way they have been doing so far.

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