An interview by Vinita Kinra
A writer, entrepreneur, dreamer and an avid student of life, Sulekha loves her family and will always adore her recently departed Dalmatian, Sparky. A tea drinker who sees good in people, Sulekha tries not to hurt others, is oversensitive and impulsive, laughs loudly, walks briskly and believes in magic and Karma.
The Co-Founder of Social Potpourri, a social networking website, Sulekha is a double Graduate: Bachelor of Science (BSc.) and Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLISc.), with a Post Graduate diploma in Marketing and Sales; yet, not satisfied with all the learning, she went ahead and laid the foundations for her dream of becoming a creative writer by enrolling in the Advanced Diploma in Creative Writing in English.
Sulekha has co-authored a book of poems with her daughter; and their book, A Patchwork Quilt, was launched in Mumbai on 8 January, 2015.
Vinita Kinra: Tell us about yourself.
Sulekha Rawat: I was 3 years old when I decided to call myself Sulekha, not that I knew I would become a writer when I grew up, but because my best friend’s name was Sulekha as well. It means ‘one who has a good handwriting’ or ‘who writes well’.
I hope to live up to my name; it was my father who always believed in my creativity and constantly encouraged me to chase my dreams.
Vinita Kinra: Talk to us about your debut book of poems, A Patchwork Quilt.
Sulekha Rawat: I don’t remember when I started writing, but to date, whenever I see or hear something beautiful, my first instinct is to reach out for my pen and note down how I feel at the moment. Over the years, I have written a lot of poems, and I thought of putting a few favorites together in a book. I wanted to dedicate this book to my inspiration – my dad, who I lost on my birthday, 8th January, five years ago.
Vinita Kinra: What ignited the spark in your heart to become a poet?
Sulekha Rawat: I have a long way to go to become a poet, but my journey has begun. I am a very emotional person and get affected by almost everything I see around me. I have always found it easier to express my thoughts in writing; my tears and smiles get interwoven in my words and reach my readers uninterrupted.
Vinita Kinra: Where does the inspiration for your poetry come from?
Sulekha Rawat: From everything… relationships in life, beauty in nature, emotions of the heart – joys and sorrows, failures and successes. I believe that inspiration is all around us, in everything that we witness, or are lucky enough to be a part of.
Vinita Kinra: Your daughter, Shloka, is a co-author of this book. How did the mother-daughter duo decide to collaborate on this project?
Sulekha Rawat: My daughter is my pride and joy. She is also the reason this book saw the light of day. An advocate by profession, Shloka is a voracious reader and a brilliant writer; she is also very tech-savvy. She took it upon herself to help me get this book completed for release on my father’s death anniversary, the same being my ill-fated birthday.
Vinita Kinra: If you were asked to name just one favorite poet, who would that be and why?
Sulekha Rawat: I like so many poets and their unique writing styles, but if I had to choose only one, it would be Pablo Neruda. I love his poems, his writing moves me and the romantic in me relates to his sentiments.
Vinita Kinra: Have you thought of dabbling with prose at any point in the future?
Sulekha Rawat: I have written a few short stories, a couple of which have been published in Anthologies by Social Potpourri. I have also contributed a poem to the book, Lovelets. My entrepreneurial story, Mitr, has been included in the book, Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneur’s Soul.
Vinita Kinra: Tell us about your publishing journey.
Sulekha Rawat: The Patchwork Quilt was a labor of love; and fittingly, everything from formatting to type-setting, editing to proofreading, was all done by us. We were lucky enough to collaborate with AuthorsUpFront, who were immensely supportive, for publishing this book. It was a bittersweet moment for me when my mother released this book on 8th January, 2015. I wish my father could have been with us to witness my triumph; I could feel his blessings showered on us.
Vinita Kinra: We would like to explore your world of poetry. Please share with us a poem from A Patchwork Quilt.
Sulekha Rawat: Choosing only one poem is not easy, but here goes…
Jaded Jade, by Shloka Rawat:
You’ve lingered too long,
my girl of stone
and your powers
have begun to fade
The grass is green
and the sky is blue
but now you’re
only made of Jade.
And you think you know
what you do
But the truth is
my girl, you don’t have a clue
Your sins find you out
Have no doubt
And they’re not quite
exactly done with you.