Diwakar Pokhriyal was born and raised in Delhi. He holds a B.Tech degree in Power/Mechanical from National Power Training Institute (NR), Delhi, and completed his Post Graduation in Energy Management from Great Lakes Institute of Energy Management, Gurgaon. Currently, he is pursuing PhD in Energy Management from ISBM. Pokhriyal enjoys creative writing and wrote his first short story at the age of 14. He started his journey of being a published poet and writer in 2011, and has since written 11 poetry books and one short story collection which is published. He is a part of 75 poetry anthologies/magazine with poets around the world. He has won ‘Aagaman – Yuva Pratibha Samman 2015’ (Young Talent Award). He has also won ‘Poiesis Award for Excellence in Literature – 2014’ for his English short story by xpresspublication. He has participated in Duet Poetry Anthology, a part of ‘Limca Book of Records – 2015’. He is a also a member of the GRV Band as rhythm guitarist and songwriter.
Vinita Kinra: Welcome to Global Asian Times, Diwakar.Tell us something about yourself that not many people are aware of.
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Thank you for this opportunity. What many people may not know is that I am a PhD scholar in the energy sector, soaking energy to illuminate a sphere, with a creative mind dancing on the emphatic notes of poetry. It’s a bit difficult to combine and present it as a package, but yes, I am that package. I love my creative self (poetry and music), as well as my professional self (educational/professional background). I am sure I will seek more solace and freedom when I will combine them both. I am still looking to merge the two and I am sure I’ll do it.
Vinita Kinra: Share with us the moment when your heart said to you: “I want to be a poet!”
Diwakar Pokhriyal: This is a really tough question. It came during introspection. My career was well-settled after I completed my B.Tech and joined Vedanta. It was all fun, office, then back home and repetition. I joined an MBA institute after two years of work to go into the depth of management. My life was financially sound, but not passionately. During my MBA, I attended a lecture about passion: ‘Something that comes from within’. The speaker urged everyone to dive deep within themselves and find the meaning of self; something that drives you crazy, and something that you can do constantly without a push. It took me quite some time to understand this, but as soon as I did, it was crystal clear that it is ‘Poetry’. I have been writing poetry and short stories since the age of 14, but I analyzed it from this angle only after pondering about passion.
Vinita Kinra: What sparked the idea for your book, Poetry of Everyone?
Diwakar Pokhriyal : For the past 3 years I have been constantly going to different poetry events and reading poems in different online groups. It was a shock to know that poets don’t use more than 3-4 poetry forms. We have limited the meaning of poetry to ‘emotional flow’. I tried to find books on different forms of poetry and to my surprise, I haven’t found any. For me poetry is more than that. I took the responsibility on myself and started my research about different forms and was amazed to see those pearls. A thought crossed my mind: ‘What if young poets read about these 50 forms of poetry? This will increase their thirst about knowledge, and poetry will get another boost. They will do more experimentation and we might add a new chapter to ‘Poetry’. They will be themselves and not just mere followers of a few icons.
Vinita Kinra: Who has been your greatest mentor?
Diwakar Pokhriyal : Neelam Saxena Chandra Ma’am (Limca Book of Record Holder) is my greatest mentor. I really find myself lucky enough to have met her two years ago, and now I can look at things from a different perspective. From the intricacies of writings to the simplicity of nature, she is one mentor I was longing since ages, I guess. Her critical views have improved me as a writer and her writing opens a new thought process which adds to my own creative bank of thoughts. Only after discussing with her about writing, I believed that a single person can write poetry, short stories and novels. This was an amazing realization.
Vinita Kinra: How important is the commercial side of writing and promoting your book as opposed to the sheer joy of the creative art of expression?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Both go hand in hand. We can’t separate the two. Networking plays an important role because even traditional publishers don’t pick up a new upcoming author or poet easily. With so many options available, a buzz is required to create interest in the minds of readers through promotion. Capturing the market isn’t an easy task. This is what the writer has to decide. It takes a lot of effort to become a commercially successful writer, and one has to decide if one is ready to face the pros and cons of it. There is no surety about success. So a well planned path and an undeniable support (network or financial) can make your work easy. For a writer who wants to live his life writing books, the commercial angle is a must because a writer should be a traveler too. More travelling means more experiences, and more experiences lead to more writing.
Vinita Kinra: What role does your native city play in shaping your writings?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Experiences play an important role in making a plot of the story, or theme of a poetry book. Your native city makes your base, your thoughts, and then with more and more experiences the poet moulds them. The life around you provides you with a canvas to draw your own painting. I’ve been living in Delhi, hence I have been looking around me at buildings, cars, schools, colleges, malls, multiplexes, heritage places, museums, markets, different lifestyles and what not. The creation of contrast, the plot of a story, the flow of poetry, the nature around and events happening in the city affect the writings of a writer. These impressions inside my mind can leave an impact anywhere in my poem, short story or novel. We start our writing with some belief, and that belief was somewhere having a shade of our native city.
Vinita Kinra: Was your publishing journey fraught with pitfalls or did you have beginner’s luck?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: I have 12 published books, and I am a part of 75 published international anthologies/magazines, 6 author interviews and much more, but I am still not in a position to make writing my full-time option until now. I have faced publishers who charge heavily for publishing book and those too who charge nothing. I have seen a publisher with zero marketing and a publisher with a good marketing plan. In a nutshell, I have a long road to cover and I am enjoying it. My enthusiasm is increasing with every single creative endeavor or achievement. The journey is a bumpy ride and I am sure in the end it will be a movie worth watching. By the way, who is thinking about the end? I am enjoying the present.
Vinita Kinra: If you were marooned on an island with just one book, which would it be and why?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Bhagwat Geeta. The sole reason is that if I can understand the depth and meaning of it, I don’t think I will need anything else. In this fast world, we often miss simple things. Bhagwat Geeta is a book which forces you to question your own thought processes and challenge your intelligence. It asks you a bigger ‘Why’ and doesn’t let you confine into a small ‘I’ of ego. If by any means I could understand its correct meaning, and I am sure it will take a long time, then I would be ever happy to understand the meaning of life, and hence everything that is happening around me will give me peace. Peace is the only thing that we crave for during our whole life, either through materials, actions or thoughts.
Vinita Kinra: Do you think writing books is a viable career option as opposed to conventional professions?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Yes, writing books is a viable career option. The only thing that we have to find is the ‘connect’. For example, even if we take ‘poetry writing,’ then it is not only about emotional outburst. Children are learning abc, the songs we listen to, the anthems, and so many other things are all poetry used for a purpose.
Vinita Kinra: In your personal context, is writing poetry escaping the reality or embracing it?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: Poetry is actually reality. Those who write about pain in poetry are real. Those who write about dreams are also real. There are umpteen people who challenged reality and now we are experiencing their dreams as our reality. Reality or imagination are our own glasses that we wear to hide our weaknesses. Writing poetry is self-healing, it gives wings to your dreams, it motivates you, and it makes you think through different perspectives. What else do we need to become a good human being? This is what I think about writing poetry, or in short, it is creating reality.
Vinita Kinra: Apart from writing, what are your other passions?
Diwakar Pokhriyal: I love music and sports. I am a rhythm guitarist and have written and composed a few songs. I am a member of GRV Band. The songs can be enjoyed in the ‘You tube channel of GRV Band. I am a die-hard sports fan too. I have played a lot of indoor and outdoor sports during my school and college time and now I follow football and cricket on television or through internet. I also love to travel as it enables me to widen my thinking process. It widens the canvas or understanding of our own meaning of ‘reality’.
The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of my book. All remaining chapters are poetry (50 forms in 2 volumes). This is the first chapter of Poetry for Everyone – Volume 1 which introduces the reader to 25 poetry forms and explains its intricacies.
“Poetry is a gift of God”, I said looking at him.
“Yes, it is, but that sheer determination to learn it isn’t just godly. It is up to you”, my friend said.
“Really? Can you tell me about poetry? I want to write some”, I said in excitement.
“It is very easy”, he said with a smile.
“For you it might be, but for me it is near impossible”, I said and laughed.
“Ok let me check. Can you write 5 to 6 lines in English describing your feeling without expanding the sentences unnecessarily?” My friend asked.
“Oh, yes this is so simple”, I said and started writing five lines.
“Dude, this is a Free verse. You can give this a title”, my friend said looking at this.
Love is in the Air
“Sensual feeling of bliss,
Can’t be forgotten easily,
Your wine has something extra to taste,
Oh my queen, come closer to me,
And give a rest of lifetime.”
“No rules for this?” I was surprised.
“Yes, Free verse doesn’t follow any meter, rhythm or poetic techniques. A poet can use them for sure to enhance the quality but it is not a rule. Give meaning to your verse and don’t expand a line unnecessarily” My friend said.
“But that was a bit difficult”, I said.
“Ok, let’s make it simpler”, he said to me.
“How?”, I was excited.
“Do you remember that star poem every mother sing for her child.”, my friend said remembering his childhood days.
“Twinkle Twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky”, I sang and wrote these lines in a flash.
“Very good”, my friend said.
“In these four lines if you take first two lines then you can see that last two words are sounding similar, like star and are.” He said.
“Yes, even in the next two lines” I said while looking at these four lines.
“Exactly, that’s a rhyming couplet, two lines rhyming.”, he said.
“Wow, that’s easy. I can write one”, I said and wrote one.
Mother in Flight
“In the midst of the night,
My mother is in flight”
“If you add two more then it will become a quatrain”, he laughed.
Mother in Flight
“In the midst of night,
My mother is in flight,
Her seat belt is tight,
A problem at such height”
I added in a flash. I was now enjoying.
“See, you have become a poet already”, he said looking at me and clapped.
“Really? You are a magician”, I said. “Tell me about more forms.”
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection,Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.