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Scholar-Journalist of the Week: The Punjab of my dreams

Apeejay College of Fine Arts student Simran Bawa is inspired by John Keats and Paulo Coelho



Simran Bawa, second-year BA student with Apeejay College of Fine Arts (ACFA) is fond of literature and is a keen learner of human psychology. And the programme she is pursuing in ACFA gives her the liberty to choose a combination of these subjects that spark her interest. In an interview, the aspiring writer and budding poet talks about her writing journey. Edited excerpts:

Why did you choose to write on this topic ‘Punjab of my dreams’? What changes do you wish to see in your state in the coming years?

The Economics Forum of my college organised a write-up competition a few weeks ago. Originally, I started writing this essay with the mindset that this is a mere entry for another competition. But soon I found myself so intrigued with all kinds of opportunities our state has to offer. As I mentioned in my essay itself, I hold a very optimistic vision for the future of Punjab with improved infrastructure and public welfare, stronger economy as well as healthier lifestyle.

What are the two things you like about your state? 

My top-most favourite thing about the state has to be the kindness and hospitality that the people of Punjab display without holding themselves back. Along with that Punjab has successfully nurtured an environment over the years where all women are respected and that’s truly remarkable. 

When did you first start writing? What inspired you? What does writing mean to you?

I wrote my first poem when I was 14 years old. I wanted to participate in my school’s annual function and my teacher told me she could only give me a chance to perform on the stage if I can write a self-composed poetry. Although the poem didn’t get selected, I was really proud of myself and still cherish the moment when I composed my first poem. And since then there has been no looking back. If I could encapsulate my fondness for writing then I’ll say it gives me solace. It’s true – nothing gives me more peace than scribbling my thoughts on a piece of paper. 

So, what kind of poems do you like to read and write? 

To be honest, I don’t pick my favourites when it comes to literature because everything is so beautifully written. But if I had to pick one then I would say sonnets because I am amazed how the poets convey so many messages and thoughts in a few words and lines. It’s really impressive and I want to develop that skill.

Any favourite author and poet?

John Keats is my favourite poet and Paulo Coelho my favourite author.

Any topic or poem you are working on? 

I keep on writing poems from time to time but I have not been able to publish all of them lately. So, I am trying to compile all of them together in an anthology.

Besides writing, what are your other interests and hobbies?

I am not a very outdoorsy person. But I would say aerobics and swimming are two things that help me to keep moving and drag myself out of my monotonous routine.

What is your future aspiration after completing your education from Apeejay?

My next plan is to pursue a Masters degree either in literature or psychology. I’m currently exploring my options with the best mentorship I can get from my teachers at Apeejay.

Any key learning you have adapted through writing articles and poems?

The process of editing has always been more crucial to me than the process of writing itself. That has taught me to never settle for less. It has taught me the importance of scrutiny and precision in everything I do in life. This is a lesson for a lifetime.

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.