Rachna Bansal Gupta is as unconventional as her poems. You won’t find the same age-old rhymes in her poems; instead you will see a journey through them. When you read the poems, you can see and feel nature: trees, mountains, the cold breeze, the rains, and everything else nature epitomizes.
Born and raised in Siliguri—a city surrounded by hills—must have something to do with this! She has been working as content developer, interior designer, educationist, social worker, English trainer and, of course, author and poet. This vibrant and unconventional lifestyle of juggling so many things in her mind and life also reflects in the varied professions she handles with perfection. Her poems and stories are an extension of what she sees, feels and wants to change around her!
Vinita Kinra: Welcome to Global Asian Times, Rachna. Where does your love for poetry originate from?
Rachna Gupta: My parents instilled in me the love of reading at a very early age. Whenever I got any free time, I would spend hours reading comics and story books. Somewhere down the line, I began reading poems by William Blake, Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, Gulzar and Rumi, and that is when I realized that poems spoke to me more than stories did. I believe that poems are shorter versions of short stories—they mean a lot in few words.
Vinita Kinra: What triggered your latest poetry collection, Kaleidoscope?
Rachna Gupta: It was my favorite season, the monsoons. Dark clouds hovered around Pune and the rains fell, covering the earth with water. It was at that time that I was filled with the sudden urge to write poems about love. Perfect weather, great topic. Once I started, my thoughts just flowed, and I went on typing the words that resided in my head and heart.
Rachna Gupta: I believe that love is divided into three phases, and each phase adds “something extra” to the lovely emotion. Having personally been through all the phases, I knew that most people would be able to connect to the poems.
Vinita Kinra: Share with us your publishing journey. Did you run into beginner’s luck, or was the path fraught with challenges?
Rachna Gupta: I learnt from every experience! With my first book, Myriad Hues, I got the first taste of what it was like to be a published author. By the time my second book, Kaleidoscope was out, I had a met some amazing people who not only understood poetry, but were also willing to review my work. It’s about 2 years now since my first book, and I must say that I have gained a lot of knowledge about the publishing Industry.
Rachna Gupta: Family and friends had been telling me to publish my poems for a long, long time, but I just did not have the courage to let the world into my private space! It was only after a lot of introspection that I felt it was time to let go of my pre-conceived notions of the world and begin my journey as a poet/writer. Like the name implies, the poems in Myriad Hues are based on various topics that range from love, my passion for teaching, abortion, God, and finding myself. All the poems in this book were written over a period of time.
Vinita Kinra: What do you like most about writing short stories, and how different are these forms of expression for you on a personal level?
Rachna Gupta: I like writing short stories as much as I like writing poems! As a poet, I weave stories into each of my poems, so writing stories is typically the same; just a little more descriptive!
Vinita Kinra: Do you think writing poetry is a gift from God, or can poets be created in schools?
Rachna Gupta: I am of the opinion that everyone is blessed with some skill or another. Anyone who likes a certain language, and is able to use that language to express his/her feelings, can become a poet. I think it is about recognizing this and working on honing your skill that is most important.
Vinita Kinra: Who has been your biggest inspiration through your writing journey?
Rachna Gupta: People and nature are my biggest inspirations. Not a day goes by when I don’t notice anything about people around me: the pain in a person’s eyes, two people having an interesting conversation sitting on the railing of a bridge, or the clouds forming images that have a message for me.
Vinita Kinra: Do you intend to explore the experience of writing a full-length novel some day?
Rachna Gupta: Oh yes! These days, I am working on a collection of short stories, after which I will begin work on a full-length novel. Fingers crossed!
Vinita Kinra: Which is the one poem you would like to be remembered most for?
Rachna Gupta: I loved writing “Pink Bubble” and strangely, most of the people who read my book, Kaleidoscope – The Changing Colors of Love, seemed to have liked that one the most, too.
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.