December 5, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Abha Iyengar

2 min read

abha-iyengarLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

There is an inherent restlessness in me, i.e. in my mind; it shoots out incessant electrical impulses which have to find an outlet. Writing does that, it acts like a voltage stabilizer, and channelizes this restlessness into something meaningful, something of stability. For example, I may look at the leaf turning in the wind from green to silver-grey, and think of Robin Hood in his green vest as a young boy and wonder what happens to him when his hair turns silver-grey, with the winds of age? And till I translate this into writing, it will make my mind go round and round this thought, mulling over it, adding to it, till I write it down. It is a form of momentary torment if I don’t write it down. I may let it go, and then it is a lost impulse, and I feel as though I have missed something. Little thoughts like these gather momentum and need expression. I wonder if this is an explanation at all, but this is how I feel. I must write.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My most recent publication is The Gourd Seller and Other Stories, a collection of short stories published by Kitaab. What was I trying to say? That the short story has its space and can have as much an impact in its telling as a novel will. That stories matter, whether in the form of flash, or a novel. Each form is just a means of relating with the world, and trying to understand existence. Tough job, that, so stories help us in knowing that there are many like us, there is a universality to all things, and we are not alone in our battle with the forces of dark and light. That underneath the everyday mundane, lies the truth to each life lived.

the-gourd-seller-199x300I am now working on a short story collection of some 10-12 stories, based loosely on the theme of “Together”. I wrote a story for the Lit Bulb project which was based on this theme, and then I just wrote another story, and another. It is a very loose structuring around that theme, but if you look closely, you would be able to understand that a thread is running through, but otherwise, they really are totally different stories.

I am also revisiting a novella I had written earlier. It needs some work on it, more research and more thinking, and more body.

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