Home Writers ‘You breathe into your characters, they get life from your pneuma’: Shadab Ahmed | Exclusive Interview

‘You breathe into your characters, they get life from your pneuma’: Shadab Ahmed | Exclusive Interview

by Literary Insider

About Author: Dr. Shadab Ahmed was born and brought up in resilient and magical North-East India, growing up between guns and roses. Moving pan-India at various ages, his voracious appetite for knowledge and wisdom led him to books, refining his perception and comprehension about the good, bad, and wicked in life. He retains an inner child and has a combustible imagination. He is more adept in the administrative side of things and keeps a heavy hand and heart, though surgeons were always meant to be delicate and refined.

Here are some glimpses of our conversation with the author of A Quatrain of Moods, Bebakhshid & La Siesta.

1. According to you what comes first, the plot or characters?

Both the plot and characters together collaborate to develop and evolve the perspective and perception in any anecdote, narrative, or chronicle. A plot is incoherent without characters and characters are aimless without a suitable plot. As such, both the plot and characters supplement each other sprucely.

2. How did you develop your plot and characters?

My book “A Quatrain of Moods” is an observation and pronouncement of human psychology and behavior, in response to tender sentiments and discordant destiny. Each quatrain listed in the book conveys a subtle story in itself, the circumstances leading to which are often suppressed and insinuated. The interpretation of these diegesis will be based on the readers’ attitude and orientation. Different individuals will interpret these lines differently. For some narratives, the plot directed the characters, and for others, the characters ushered in the plot. The plot and characters in conjunction complete the narrative.

3. How do you come up with the titles for your books? And When did you first consider yourself a writer/poet?

Designating a book is an intricate process. It sounds very fundamental and effortless but is seldom so. Your book conveys your concept, your substance, and abstraction. The title of the book conveys your disposition, preconception, forethought, and intent. I took my intellectualizing time and chose the titles of my books from the assorted and variegated ideas that came subconsciously on reasoning and ratiocinating. As to when I considered myself a writer/poet – I started writing when I was young, and my writings often reflected my obiter dictums. To any well-educated individual, writing should and will come naturally. Writing is an essential component of the human personality, it is conditioned and groomed over ages and years. What you write is often what you observe, perceive, discern and interject. To write is to express yourself, to metamorphose yourself from the conditioned taciturnity, and to transmogrify gutsily. To write is to dare, intrepidly, and be determined. When I was young, I knew I had to write. When I became older, I knew I had to write. When I wrote books, I knew I had to write, more and more. To paraphrase the great Welsh poet and author, Dylan Thomas – “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of the day, Rage Rage against the dying of the light”.

4. Describe your writing space?

I write in complete solitude and withdrawal, and frequently people interpret my peculiar behavior as being misanthropic and reclusive. One aspect to understand here is that there is a misconception that writing or composing can be done anytime, anywhere. To write and compose, you need the writer’s temperament and frame of mind, and it is the sine qua non. It is a complex thing to describe succulently in words. For a brief period of time, your subconscious individuality and psyche get altered, and your pneuma is diffused into the characters you are trying to develop. You blend with them, and they create the narrative which your hand pens down subliminally. For this reason, I prefer writing at odd times and at odd places. As such, my writing space is in seclusion, wherever it may be.

5. What time of the day do you usually write?

I usually write in the deadbeat hours, late at night through the early mornings, when I am undisturbed and placid. My submerged mind keeps making climacteric observations all through the commotions by the day, and the panorama of the silent night develops those implicit annotations the mind has made, extrapolating them in words. The words combine to form sentences. The sentences get rearranged to rhyme verified. The verses together form a narrative.

6. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part about writing is getting into the character you are trying to pronounce and develop. You breathe into your characters, they get life from your pneuma. You see the concocted illusory world through their notional eyes, and often this alters your temper and tenor. Your character will always live with you, you both share certain delusive secrets in between. You start to quintessentially personify your character, and the fine thin line between hallucination and apparition gets blurred. But again, your character never really leaves you. They have their own extant chimerical story in their fanciful exotic utopia blossoming through you. It is a special sustained relationship between a writer and his/her character, and the average layperson will never have an idea about it.

7. What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

My usual work day becomes very chaotic, it is a cacophony of meetings, deadlines, and goals. But I don’t mind it. When you love your work, it is not simply your work anymore. It becomes your love affair. So, the moment I reach work, my mind snaps out magically from every distraction. I start my usual work day from 09:00 AM till 04:00 PM. Then I visit some bar or pub and take a couple of drinks down with some bones to soothe my psyche. I take my lunch late into the evening, and post-lunch, hit the bed straight, around 05:30 PM – 06:00 PM in the twilight hours. I get up then at around 11:00 PM in the night and spend 30 minutes in the company of tea and coffee. Once am adequately hydrated and de-zombified from sleep, I spend some time on video calls with my son, who is hyperactive around this time. From 12:00 AM at the night, I start my writing and composing work. I additionally work on some work tasks at this hour to ensure everything is updated and streamlined. I finish my writing hours at 06:30 AM in the morning, following which I take a power nap for 30 – 40 minutes. I get up again around 07:00 AM, check my emails and phones, listen to some music and rationalize the weird incomplete dreams. Then I get ready and the hustle-bustle of the day takes over.

8. Any words of advice for your readers?

Keep reading would be a good start. Add life to days and not days to life. Get out of your comfort zone and explore life. Life is bustling around you, Life is beautiful. Do anything that makes you happy, don’t listen to anyone. It is your life, you live it anyhow you want. Break every chain, Break every fear. You only live once, make it count. Amen!

Book Details

Title: La Siesta
Author: Shadab Ahmed
Publisher: ? Notion Press
Price: Rs.1190 (Paperback)
Pages 226
Ebook? Available
Buy Now Amazon


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