Interview with Jyotika Sehgal

Published 2019-11-04.
Do you remember the first poetic text you ever wrote?
Oh yes, poetry comes out automatically from within when you are in love. The first one was based as an urge around my beloved, later on for my daughter and then my responses to my life and so on.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I will be looking at what is available around the theme or concept of my present interest. After whatever catches my attention, be it the idea, the title or the cover page, I will go ahead and read a few sample pages. Hence decide if I want to read it further or not.
What is your writing process?
I am a painter. My lingual renderings are a precursor to my visual imagery. When I am writing, both these languages, the lingual and the visual, support each other while I am gaining clarity on my expression. My doctoral research was on the enquiry of the possibility of visual translation. I worked on the poetic texts of Mirza Ghalib and painted it. The concept became more and more sympathetic to artists and art critics when my book titled, “To Reach You, I Dream” was published. It prompted me to employe a similar process to understand and eventually paint specific ideas depicted in the Jap Ji Sahib.
Do you remember the first poem you read, and the impact it had on you?
Poetic thoughts and their imageries have always been the initiators of my paintings. My father was an ardent lover of Urdu poetry, I enjoyed the Sufi genre, and we discussed the beauty of the language and its tender expressional nuances. I found my love in a world-famed writer who is a poet par excellence, my husband, Rajvinder Singh.
How do you approach cover design?
For both my books, I have chosen my paintings which expressed the theme the title of my work. Although the first book cover was designed by my publisher, I have made this one myself.
Describe your desk
That's interesting. My work desk will change according to the job I have at hand. I have a large working table in my studio, no matter which role it adopts. When I am painting, the colours and brushes, palette and emulsions, sketchbook and laptop cover it. When I am reading and writing, my notebook, sketchbook and a notepad will be handy. At work in my College my office table has my laptop, my note pad and files and papers I am attending.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your work?
Till my late thirties, I have been majorly staying in India and then after I have been visiting and spending more time in Europe. Creative psyche was never an issue, and I give credit to the innate spirituality one has by merely being in India. The overlapping of languages, religions and rituals, the tradition of unity in diversity, everything is acceptable and amalgamated within is unique to India. It is bound to influence any sensitive mind.
When did you first start writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I am a painter, and I always remember myself painting. Writing came to me in when I had to elaborate on my experiences of my life and love. I wrote letters and poems. Mature targeted writing came when I was writing my doctoral thesis. My research was practice-based, meant mainly for practising artists. Hence, it was always creative writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have dealt with this question in the foreword of my book. I had been ritualistically reading this holy text without really understanding its contents. My writer husband pointed that out to me, and somehow I knew I have to indulge in it. After the success of my enquiry on the process of visual translation, I started to understand the text of Jap Ji Sahib to paint it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The idea of an ebook is going to be most successful in the times to come. One always needs access to the books one is close to, and here we could conveniently carry with us our whole library. The tantrums around the monopoly of the publishing houses and the waiting period are a passe now. I am not sure about the results, but I quite enjoyed the experience on this platform.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
A Publishing House in Bulgaria published my first book. However, the pleasure to publish this one as an ebook has been no less. The timing of this book on Jap Ji Sahib was very important to me. This year is the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion and writer of this magnificent text will be celebrated worldwide on the 12th of November. I am thankful to the Smashwords Team to make it possible for me to bring my book out well on time.
I have been proudly announcing to my friends and colleagues that I have been able to publish my work on Smashwords.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Jap Ji Sahib: Manifestations of the Magnificent
Price: $22.00 USD. Words: 13,810. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2019 . Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Sikhism, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation & inspiration
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A National 'Akademi' Award winning painter, Jyotika Sehgal in her poetic rendering of the holy text of Jap Ji Sahib of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji tries to lay open the spiritual, social, and psychological tenets of being human. Her lingual renderings, a precursor to her visual renderings into paintings of this marvellous text, are terse, versatile, and inventive, laced with analytical clarity.