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For this Apeejay student writing is a form of meditation and introspection

Simran Bawa pursuing BA from the Apeejay College of Fine Arts, secured first position in a poetry competition named ‘Inked Solace’ organised by Elysium House of Books

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Simran Bawa

“I wrote my first poem when I was in class 8 and it was in Hindi. In fact, that’s the only poem till date that I have written in Hindi,” says Simran Bawa, a second-year BA student with the Apeejay College of Fine Arts (ACFA) Jalandhar. What encouraged and led her to writing poems, novels and short stories is a small incident from her school days. She recalls, “I wanted to participate in the school annual function. But my teacher informed me that there is no spot left. However, she told me if I can write a self-composed poetry I may get an opportunity to perform on the stage. When I showed my poetry to her she was really impressed.” This is when the budding poet and a writer got a chance to recite her first self-composed poetry on stage. And since then there has been no looking back. 

Recently, the 20-year-old Apeejay student added another feather on her cap as she bagged first position in a poetry competition, ‘Inked Solace’, organised by Elysium House of Books. In a freewheeling interview, she talks about the competition and more. Edited excerpts: 

How did you know about this competition?
I am a part of many groups on WhatsApp which include writers from across the country and the world. They hold competitions from time to time – some are weekly, some are monthly or yearly. So this one was conducted by Elysium House of Books. There were entries from all age groups from around the country. There were also participants from other nationalities. This is an online competition which is conducted every year. They sent out Google forms and we had to submit our entries. There are also weekly and monthly competitions conducted by different organisers in which I have won several prizes. 

Where can we read your poems? 
They have compiled an anthology which includes poems of all the participants. My name is at the top of the index page because I bagged the first position.  

How many total poets participated in this competition?
I think there were around 50 to 55 entries from around India. 

Which poem did you write for this competition?
My poem was titled ‘The Desert Flower’. Why I wrote this poem is because I had identified that during the time of quarantine and isolation – there was a period of self-awareness and introspection. I started thinking a lot about myself and what steps to take to bring in positive changes in me. This piece is a compilation of all those feelings. 

You have published several books, novels and short stories. So, what kind of novels have you written and where are they published? 
I started writing my first novel ‘A Thing of Beauty’ in early 2020. Initially, I had published just five chapters of my book on an online platform called Wattpad. You won’t believe it got around 1.7k reads. Many readers shared their comments. We used to hold discussions on how my story is going to build. So, this particular book got me a lot of recognition. I have already published 18-20 chapters. However, I am still working on the last few chapters. 

There is another short story that I wrote called ‘Illecebra’ which became a huge hit among the readers. This was a love story with a tragic ending. And after reading this one, many readers started contacting me and actually requested me to change the sad ending.  But I didn’t. I guess the sad ending was the main essence of the story. 

How many poems have you composed so far?
More than 100. 

Any favourite poet or writer?
I am not picky like that. I love reading the works of all the poets and writers. I don’t really read to just know the story. I am more curious to know how the writer (poet or author) came up with an idea; I try to understand their perspectives and thought processes. I see this as a learning process. 

What has been your learning experience?
My learning experience is immense and ongoing. Sometimes when I’m developing a character, his/her personality, I realise I have some of those traits and I never realised that. So for me writing is introspection and meditation in a way. Also, a lot of my short stories require knowledge of mythologies, history, politics and different cultures so I give enough time to learn about them before I can effectively express those in my write ups.

Do you aspire to become a poet or writer in future?
Well, I had scored 95 per cent in my 10th boards. My next step was to start my coaching for medical entrance as I wanted to become a doctor. However, when I started going for my coaching classes, I realised this wasn’t my cup of tea. Today, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts programme with Literature and Psychology as my main subjects along with Economics. I have not thought yet where to go next but I am sure writing will remain an integral part of my life. 

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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