Here’s a great interview I did with the rather lovely and very modest Siddhartha Gigoo.
His books include ‘Fall and Other Poems’, ‘Reflections’, ‘The Garden of Solitude’ and ‘A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories’, which was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2015. In 2015, he won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia) for his short story ‘The Umbrella Man’. Siddhartha has also directed two short films, ‘The Last Day’ and ‘Goodbye, Mayfly’, which were selected for several international film festivals. ‘Goodbye, Mayfly’ won the best film award (fiction) at the Bangalore International Short Film Festival in 2015.
What form does your writing take?
I started writing poems when I was ten. Writers Workshop, Calcutta published two of my poetry collections, ‘Fall and Other Poems’, and ‘Reflections’ in 1995 and 1996. I was in college those days. Later, when I realized my poetry was bad and that I’d failed, I jumped ship. I started a humorous column ‘Looking Glass’ for an English daily. My first novel ‘The Garden of Solitude’ was published in 2011. A short story collection ‘A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories’ came out in 2016. I co-edited an anthology of memoirs called ‘A Long Dream of Home (The Persecution, Exodus and Exile of Kashmiri Pandits).’
How often do you write?
There’re days and nights I write. There’re days I just delete. There’re days I rewrite and rewrite. However, there’re days I just don’t look at anything. But real writing happens when one’s doing nothing and staring at the ceiling. Or stars, for that matter!
How does writing make you feel?
Hollow. Inadequate. Incomplete. However, there’re moments I let my writing fool me. I fall for the spell, the charm. I marvel. The moments are short-lived. Yet, there’s a false sense of creative satisfaction. The act of creation is akin to robbery.
Where\when do you write?
My room. But I send myself text messages when I’m travelling. These text messages are nothing but stray thoughts. I write during nights. Nights are quiet. The devil doesn’t visit you during the day.
What do you write about?
I wish I had a clue. Let my readers decide after they read my books.
What’s the best thing about writing?
It opens a door to another realm. But there’re conditions. The door opens only when you begin to create a new world, and give birth to new people. You are thrown into an abyss. Then you strive for order. For harmony. For music. Then you realize you got to learn how to play the violin on your own. Even while the very world you create is in disarray.
I am a dabbler, a scribbler. I’ve been scribbling for the past three decades. But good writing has eluded me so far.
Here are some links to Siddartha’s work…I lOVE the umbrella man!