Sandesh knows how to write a page-turner fiction on Kashmir from the comfort of his Mumbai home. The author of The Burning School, un untold story from the land of Kashmir – the novel sheds light on the dark and grim future of children of Kashmir who are denies access to schools due to many reasons, one being is terrorism.
He spoke to News World Inc about contemporary fiction, inspiration, and his favorite recent read.
NWI: How was writing a book on Kashmir different from writing some other genre books such as based on romance, adventure, and so on?
Thanks to ask me this question. So yes it was different experience for me. I did lot of research on Kashmir watched news and documentaries , met Kashmiri people, read books and articles based on Kashmir problem etc. So when I was going through all these things a beautiful word came out which is still deeply rooted in Kashmiri culture and that is “Kashmiriyat”. If you read this novel you will find the detail meaning of this word. People know Kashmir either tourist place or the place where always chaos keep going on and going on. But what about people stay over there and migrant from valley. I try my honest attempt to show Kashmir from my point of view.
NWI: How did the idea for this novel come to you? How did it evolve as you were writing?
It’s always shocking for me whenever I watch news where terrorists burn down school in Kashmir valley to shattered the dreams of small children. Schools are also closed for long time due to curfews and safety purposes. Today we are living competitor world. Youngsters are very much concern about their education and career growth. If you see in big MNCs, Indians are holding key positions, the best example of Sundar Pichai the CEO of Google. It is right of every child to have a good education and choose career according to his or her choice. Kashmir is integral part of India and I think we all should work for education development in valley.
NWI: Your novel uses alternating chapters in several different points of view to reveal the truth about a twisted character. Do you tend to envision the story from one perspective first, or do all of these perspectives come to you along the way?
The beauty of this Novel is different character have different way to see the Kashmir. I want to portrait the problem with every angle.
NWI: In your opinion, what makes a great contemporary fiction? What are some of your favorites?
A Hundred Little Flames, shows the relationship beautifully between grandson and grandfather in one of tiny village of Kerala.
NWI: What does a typical writing day look like for you?
It’s very difficult for me to write a book. Life in Mumbai is very hectic apart from that I have to balance my work life and family life. I usually start my writing at night when all are sleeping or very early morning. Before start working on novel I do lot of research about characters and situations. But always remember if you want to see dreams try to fulfill them either awake at night or wakeup early in the morning that will give you great satisfaction.
NWI: What books or authors has been your greatest influence?
Preeti Shenoy the way she depicts the human relationship.
NWI: What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?
Radhika’s Story a story about human trafficking.
NWI: What are you working on next?
Not yet plan but most probably human trafficking in India.
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