Saudamini Mishra talks about her latest book | Interview

Widely known and featured in newspapers and television, Saudamini Mishra bases her oeuvre on her alter ego Dhi. Multitalented, chirpy, and driven, Saudamini is an internationally acclaimed painter now turned author. Her paintings largely fall within the ambit of hyperrealism. Her paintings are mainly soul paintings that showcase the inner turmoils, emotions, and journey of the soul.

Complex as it sounds, her artistic sense grew out of an epiphanic discovery of having a hand at it. This helped bring about her overnight transformation into a painter. Her artistic creativity is based on her instinctual understanding of the play of light and darkness. This makes her painting abstract and spiritual which is built on spontaneity.

She came up with the concept of Dhi in 2015. Dhi is Sanskrit for super consciousness. Though not present in the initial paintings of Dhi, the typewriter on Dhi’s head has now become the signature mark. It represents the unpredictability of life.

As a writer, Saudamini Mishra works along similar lines as her concept paintings that have been portrayed at IGI Airport, T3. In her writing, she works by her instincts and is unbounded by rules and regulations. This provides a free-spiritedness to her written work though in no manner does it come in the way of the aesthetic beauty of her storytelling process.

Her present book is a collection of short stories that are character portrayals that act as parables for moral lessons. The plots of each of the stories are moderately paced and call for the active engagement of the reader. They are akin to dramatic performances that are enticing and gripping at the same time. It makes Dhi’s Parables of Divine Transformation a one of a kind book.  

When she is not painting, Mishra enjoys eating out, trying different cuisine, and traveling to new places to attain new cultural experiences. She celebrates life and understands it deeply both of which are reflected in her stories. Her stories are highly observant of the nuances of life.

Saudamini Mishra author interview bookgeeks
How did you come up with the concept of creating Dhi?
Dhi as a concept occurred to me in the year 2015, as a visual expression of my alter-ego in the form of a painting. She wears the typewriter, symbolic of her fervid mental activity as a crown, as should all women-- being conscious and proud of being thinkers--as she holds her book of conscience, that enshrines her code of doing 'the right thing' and writings that exemplify that.

I have been penning quotes since I was a child and have numerous journals filled with those, so I guess, that was the inspiration for that. The painting itself is rendered in 'black and white', depicting her take on most dichotomies.
Tell us a bit about your artistic process of painting Dhi.
As I shared above, the process did not come to me organically. It was supposed to represent my worldview and every detail of the work symbolises that- for instance, the pattern of flowers in the background, depict Dhi's much-beloved practice of connecting the dots!

It took me about a month to complete the work.
Do you like Dhi better with the type writer or without it?
Of course with it! As described above, that's Dhi's emblem. Without it, Dhi wouldn't be Dhi.
How has your journey been as a published author?
The journey has been a long one and not an easy one at that. It's been almost spiritual. I started penning the book in 2016 and finished it in 2017, but it's only now that I put it out there. There were countless obstacles to be faced, as this isn't a novel but one of the genres most publishers shy away from, a collection of shorts stories (and in this case, parables- a term most people in India are unfamiliar with).

I had given up on getting it out there and then suddenly the universe took over in the form of my mother who has been my goddess, and who put me on the track of having my book published, weeks before she passed away.
Dhi and you definitely have a lot in common considering she is your alter ego. But how are you two different?
Dhi doesn't have to face consequences that in the real world I have to!!
Are each of the short stories in the collection related to you or people in your life in some manner?
Indeed! All of them are related to me or people that I have had the pleasure of knowing, interviewing or knowing of. Some of them have inspired me tremendously and played a role in fortifying my belief system.
What do you think has made your book so highly appreciated by readers?
The intention behind it which thankfully manifested itself in the writing.

I knew that if some of these accounts have changed something within me, with me being positively influenced by them, then it will do the same for others.
What are your upcoming writing projects?
I am currently working on my next book, it will again be a collection of true accounts. Let's see how that pans out!
Do you think that being a painter helps you to be a better writer?
Well, it certainly contributes to the ability to visualise, so that'll be a 'yes'. And of course, it adds to the gamut of emotions that could inspire.
What are your top three tips for aspiring short story writers?
Well, the first is that of 'brevity'- always do away with redundancy. Keep it short and simple, as, in this day and age, it's that much harder to hold onto a reader's attention.

Secondly, be sure of what you're trying to communicate, especially in the case of short stories as that's pretty much what you're counting on as opposed to a novel, where the reader tends to live with the character and so the journey becomes more important, as opposed to any sort of messaging.

Finally, have a strong marketing plan backed by your solid conviction in your work and in what you want to say. Establish that first and build an audience for it--people who would want to read what you write on it. That's how you will get people to read this genre that's still considered relatively unsaleable when compared to novels, by most publishers.

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