Interview with P.S.Remesh Chandran

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Speaking to people has always been interesting and encouraging for me. When we write a book, article, poem, review or comment, we are speaking to the world, especially to people in other lands, which makes it more interesting and worthwhile. We cannot see or become introduced to all other human beings who share the world with us, though we would much like to get acquainted with them and share their affections. We are never going to come again this way and we are never going to see these people again. This is our last and only chance to speak to them and love them and listen to what they have to say to us. Let us depart from this world with sweet memories of other people in our native land and in distant lands, and take away a few last pictures of sweet human faces with us. Writing makes all these possible and that is its great joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
There are no such persons as fans, at least for me. What they cannot do in their rush for life I do and what I cannot do they do. They are my admirers at the most and me theirs. We are equals in every way, so there is no question of fanfare.
What are you working on next?
I have completed my studies and almost completed writing four new books, before undertaking a thorough editing which also is being done by me. IS THERE PATIENCE AND ROOM FOR ONE MORE NUCLEAR REACTOR? is one of them. A few test chapters from this book have already been published within the past two years as comments in The Times Of India, The Economist and The Forbes Magazine. Those appeared in The Economist were later withdrawn by me and the account closed when they declined to publish criticisms on the economic reforms in India. The others still remain. I am not a nuclear scientist but I always have had to answer criticism from nuclear scientists on this account. I wish to make this the precise answer to proponents of nuclear energy.

Then there is another book titled WHERE DID MUSIC GO FROM POETRY? It is also nearly completed. Many people who claim to write poems claim that poetry does not need music. Their imagination is that only lyrics need it. But practical poets like William Blake considered their poems as songs which invariably should be accompanied by music. Their poems invite us to tune them and sing them musically. That is what poems of all gifted poets have done so far-demanding musification. There is no line of division between poems and songs as far as real poets are considered. When cinema was introduced, film writers, song directors, music setters and directors imagined the audience sitting in theatres and viewing their films on the silver screen. The refinement we saw in their works was due to this writing for the world’s people whom they saw in their minds sitting before the screen and enjoying their works. Real poets also, when they write, see the world’s people going through their poems in times to come and enjoying. Therefore they provided them with their poems in a vehicle of music which would carry their poems through centuries. Those poets who write nowadays without any music inborn see only a limited news paper and magazine editors or even a few book publishers. Keeping music and form in poetry is important to me as a literary critic and I want to emphasize the point. That is why I write this book.

Another book is, WILL DOG LOVERS KILL THE WORLD? It is written in the background of the spreading killer-diseases of Chikungunya and Dengue, to scientifically prove that without dogs, there is no dengue. I know it will become controversial and it would be dangerous too to bring forth this theory but someone has to do it.

The last one is THE LOST WORLD OF TIBET. You know what it would be about.
Who are your favorite authors?
In my boyhood years I read and enjoyed Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Mikhail Sholakhov, Anton Chekhov, Victor Hugo, Ethel Lilian Voynich and a host of others. In my young years, I was fascinated by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Tennyson, Alexander Pope, Edward Fitzgerald, John Milton, Edmund Spenser, Thomas Gray, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and of course Plato. In my middle ages, I spent time reading Earl Stanley Gardner, Jeffry Archer, Robin Cook, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsythe, Louis L'Amour and the like. Now I wallow in writing what I like. I loath reading living poets.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The expectation of hot tea, daylight, sunshine and free air till the evening.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, walking, singing, speaking and listening.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Don't misunderstand me but I don't read e-books. I prefer to read books while lying in bed. That's why I prefer paperbacks for they won't fall into our chests and hurt us.
What is your writing process?
A few years back, I was a long-distance walker and it was on the way that I conceived ideas, developed paragraphs and gave form to my essays, poems or books. I do not drive but like to travel in public buses, sitting in the midst of people. My mind is fast and I very soon learned that it is not safe for people in the road for me to drive motor vehicles for I would be trying to move the vehicle at the speed of mind which is limitless. Therefore, I abandoned riding motor cycle, after riding about a few thousand total kilometers. That’s why I like to travel in buses. Kinetic energy attained in a travelling bus helps us move our minds fast and this speed is incorporated right into our writing, while the writing is being executed in our mind. An inert mind cannot create and the velocity of the vehicle in which we travel makes mind kinetic. Have you tried sitting below a roaring water fall and singing songs? It is a wonderful experience and special acoustic effect. I did this for so many years in a mountain river and constructed my poems. In fact I owe most of my poems to that water fall. I was very late to learn that Wordsworth did the exact thing and the picture of his stone hut and waterfall in his village is still a fascination for me. Today I do not walk much or write much. But I type much. When I do it, I feel the presence of some other persons’ ideologies and words around me, passing through me into the keyboard. I know it is my late father and grandfather dictating through me to the present times. Sometimes I write sublime and lofty things which otherwise, logically, I could not have done. Thus, you see, writing is now easy to me.
How do you approach cover design?
I do my covers myself and it is a twenty minute-affair for me. Instinct leads me. My recent covers are computer-generated in Microsoft Word, turned into Picture Format via MS Paint and edited in Picasa. I could have done them with ink and paper but it is not needed now. My grandfather was a civil servant in the Travancore King's service besides being an artist. My father was a British Council-trained English teacher, besides being a style writer. Both had conservative views on the use of language and art and remarkable calligraphic skills. My letter-styles too are not bad. My old book covers were hand-made with ink on paper, meant for treadle presses.
Why do you write mostly online?
Because Google does not ask your caste, community, religion, colour or nationality. It does not look whether you have in your name prefixes such as Dr. or Prof. or suffixes such as Ph.D. or M.D. The able and the proficient has his place there.
Published 2013-12-22.
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