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‘The main mantra is: Just keep writing!’

Apeejay Svran Global student and promising poet Swadha Pandey says write ups have a journey of their own. It’s alright if they don’t come out the way you had imagined them.



Writing letters or poems to oneself is not just any ordinary creative exercise. It is a transformative journey, both spiritual and inspiring at the core. It awakens one’s mind to transcend the momentary obstacles and aspire for what the soul yearns for. A fine example of such a poem is ‘Was she me?’ written by Swadha Pandey, a class 12 student at Apeejay Svran Global School.

 In the Apeejay Promising Poet interview series, the budding poetess mentions how a poem by William Shakespeare inspired her to pick up the pen and also gives writing tips to budding poets, reminding them that the most important rule is , to keep on writing. Edited excerpts:

We read your poem ‘Was she me’ and we found it very unique. Tell us about the thought process behind the poem?

I was sitting and looking at some of my old photos, basically all the baby pictures of me. I thought that the girl there would be very happy with the person I am now. I am doing the things she wanted to do. So why not write something to her and talk to her about this journey. I like writing letters to myself to evaluate my self-growth. It is a great exercise.

Since when did you start writing poems?

I have been writing poems on and off since fifth grade. The first poem I wrote was titled ‘The wheel of time’. That was the beginning of my journey. 

What was the inspiration to start writing poems?

I have been influenced by many writers. I have been an avid reader for the most part of my life and I loved reading the poems in the literature part of our school curriculum. There were a lot of poems and I remember reading ‘All the world’s a stage’ by William Shakespeare which inspired me so much. I felt that I should pick up the pen as well. 

Tell us about the process behind writing a poem? How does it work?

Writing a poem does not take me that long. But sometimes it does take me a few days as well. I am an introvert, so I used to write poems in the free periods at school. I think of a random topic, sometimes, it comes to me and sometimes, I think about it for a while and then sketch an outline of it. Then I weave the narrative into a story and finally frame it as a poem. When I was younger, I wrote a lot on weather and on stories that inspired me while reading them. Now I write about ideas that are circling in my mind, such as my desire to socialise and how that might feel. I also write on some totally fictional ideas as well.

The all-time poet question: Do you prefer rhyme or free verse?

I prefer free verse. Sticking to a rhyme scheme limits you at times for one is concerned about finding the words that rhyme and how it goes with the flow in the poem. But in free verse, one can go with any word and it is just like a story. Free verse is more my thing! 

What is your favourite poem and who is your favourite poet?

My favourite poem is ‘Chhidiya ab kahaan rahegi’ by Mahadevi Verma. She is my favourite poetess and author. 

How does your school help you to write such beautiful poems?

The teachers at the school are very helpful. They always encourage me to go out and show my talent. My former English teacher Richa ma’am was so motivating. My current English teacher Rohini ma’am and the other subject teachers are also extremely supportive to me. They help me so much. It is still a new school for me and they help me feel settled in.

Please tell us about some of your upcoming poems?

I am working now on a poem called ‘The sideline’. It is a sad fictional poem and I am not giving any spoilers about it. There are also a few other poems I am working on but I haven’t decided on the titles yet.

What advice would you give to a budding poet at your school?

I would say just write, write as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if the writeup doesn’t feel good or is not congruent to what you had imagined in your head. Because sometimes, writeups have a journey of their own, it doesn’t come out exactly as you had imagined. And that is perfectly alright. The main mantra is: Just write!

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]