Wednesday, 26 October 2011

An Interview with Abhay Shukla

Abhay Shukla - A pass out of IIT-Delhi, an acclaimed blogger, a story-teller and an entrepreneur has been involved in a multitude of projects ranging from engineering to writing. His venture iitstories brings brilliant stories of IITians and their start-ups.People complain about the lack of inspiration and motivation in life; whereas he creates it and inspires!

Here goes an amazing conversation I had with this extremely down to earth man :-

1. Before we begin, please tell me about you in a nutshell.
=> I am a writer by heart and an engineer by profession who is trying to figure out how to work out both. In the process i am developing instincts of creativity.

2. Yours is a different kind of story. An engineer, an acclaimed blogger and now a story-teller with a difference. How has the journey been like?
=> The journey has just started. Probably I will be in much better position to answer your questions after 4-5 years. But the journey sure seems to be exciting.

3. What do you enjoy the most amongst the three?
=> I enjoy writing stories the most. With them I am in my own world of creation. Often I imagine myself in place of the characters and feel for them before writing, and it is then that sometimes I get the most incredible feeling, the true experience of joy.

4. You went for a job after finishing your graduation. Why did you leave it? Were you able to write during that time?
=> I was working for an I-Bank but I was much more interested in engineering so I decided to quit. Also writing in those days was tough but it's the same even now.

5. Coming to your second passion, blogging. How did you start it? Who inspired you?
=> Blogging was something I came to know about in IIT. I used to write stories in diaries and I wanted to share them with friends and readers and blogs seemed to be just the convenient way. Soon I started writing on the blog The Pagefiction.

6. You write short-stories. This is something rare in the blogging domain. What made you write your first story?
=> Most of the short-stories I write are inspired from real incidents. I remember writing my first story Kiddie Times which is about how my brother and his friends planned to escape from home. I wanted to keep the story from disappearing in the sands of time and that’s just how it was all kicked off.

7. Were you an engineer turned writer or did you write since childhood?
=> I started writing poems when I was 13-14 years old. This continued for about 6 years until my interest in short stories arose and I decided to give it a try.

8. I’ve heard that during your IIT days you wrote this highly praised story, “How I met Haseen”. Tell me more about it. Was it a real story?
=> How I met Haseen is a short love story with a really tragic ending. At the end of the story you just know what a true love feels like. Everytime I read it I feel my heart pounding for the characters in it. I think if you read it, you will figure out yourself whether it is true or not.

9. I would definitely go through it! I have heard that your friends have asked you to make it into a novel? Are you giving it a thought?
=> Well I have got many requests and suggestions about writing sequels to my stories and if possible to turn them into novels. But to me writing is a very emotional matter because every piece of it has got a piece of me. I am working on a story but I am giving it enough time and space to build on itself rather than me trying to put deadlines.

10. Tell us one interesting instance that occurred while writing stories?
=> Meeting Nitin Donde and Ms. Manorama Jafa who helped me understand a child's mind remains the most interesting instance that has occurred since i started writing. They practically taught me how to write stories for children.

11. How many stories have you written in totality? Any thoughts about publishing?
=> I have about 40 stories in my collection but no right now I have no plans to go for publishing.

12. How do you weave stories? Do ideas flash and imagination takes care of the rest or it’s totally derived from what you’ve experienced?
=> Usually I am stuck with a lot of abstract ideas and when I find that one of them needs a necessity to be expressed, I weave it around a real life experience. This is how it works for me most of the times.

13. Tell me about your recent venture, iitstories? I must say it’s a wonderful website, in terms of content and aesthetics.
=> Thank you! I sincerely feel that IIT system lacks inspiration and students there lose sight of what they want to do with their lives. iitstories is an effort to share stories of people who can become inspiring characters for such students. It's focused on highlighting the diversity of fields like engineering, research, business, entertainment, journalism, music etc which IITians have chosen over the years and doing really well. 

14. Do you see any business prospects with it?
=> iitstories is still in its development phase. We are considering few ideas, lets see how it unfolds in the coming months.

15. Now that you’ve left your job, how do you plan to go forth with your venture as well as writing?
=> I am not a regular time writer, so taking the venture ahead would be the prime objective in the coming days. Meanwhile i will keep working on my stories. I hope you will see some great work in the coming time.

16. Before we end up, I know about your passion for animation. Tell my readers about the entire experience of animation. In IIT, how did you get interested in animation? Are you still pursuing it?
=> Animation was something that caught me in my final year. I wanted a more expressive medium to convey the thoughts I wrote in my stories so I decided to explore it. What really gave me the kick was when Prof. Nitin Donde liked my story so much that he decided to make a 3-min animation movie Aitbaar on it. For me it was one of the happiest days as it opened the world of children stories and animation to me. We have some plans in that area but they require dedicated effort so time is a problem right now.

17. What does inspiration mean to you? How important is its role in one’s life.
=> In very simple words, inspiration to me is like taste in food or color in a picture. It is something that make your work and life much more beautiful and meaningful.

18. What next? 2 years down the line, where do you see iitstories, your stories and yourself?
=> Coming 2 years will be really challenging and will demand a great deal of learning from my part. I wish to see iitstories ignite a few brilliant minds into pursuing ideas they are passionate about. I wish to see my stories grow in numbers and certainly attract more regular readers. And for me, I just wish I be here to tell you about another of my ventures.

Rapid fire round:

Q: Favorite Place:
=> Home

Q: Favorite Cuisine: 
=> Not much of a foodie but kheer is my favourite

Q: Favorite Gadget:
=> Camera

Q: Favorite Book: 
=> Fountainhead

Q: Most inspiring person for you: 
=> Presently I am very much inspired by Harish Hande

Q: What do you like being more? An engineer or a writer? 
=> Writer

Q: Any new hobby that you wish to inculcate.
=> Learn music

Q: If you were to write a book someday, what would it be about.
=> Let it be a surprise

To end it all; I am sure those who haven't gone through his writings yet must be very willing to read what he writes so here goes the link to his blogger profile - Abhay Shukla

Followed by the animation movie made by Abhay and his team!

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