From macho mafioso to poetic melodrama, 23-year-old poet and author Sanil Sachar has a whole lot more to him than meets the eye, finds Samhati Mohapatra
Blame it on the breathtaking Yorkshire landscape. That and being away from home. That's what inspired 16-year-old Sanil Sachar to QWERTY type his first piece of writing — a poem called ‘A Moment of Epiphany’— on his blackberry, when he was in boarding school. The moment marked the beginning of a literary career, making the 23-year-old one of the youngest authors in India today. Also an avid sportsperson who trained under Scottish footballer Ronnie Glavin during his days in Ackworth School and had a brief stint with Star Sports, Sanil released his first book Summer Promises and Other Poems in 2013. His second, The Dark Side of Light, which is due to be unveiled in January on the other hand is a delightful concoction of short stories, poems and scripts. Excerpts from an interview…
The Dark Side of Light brings together three different literary forms. Why?
My work is a box full of emotions, just like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you get (laughs). Yes, the book has 20 short stories, 40 poems and two scripts and has been compiled in such a way that all of them complement each other, yet can be read separately. The narrative has been interspersed with poems within intervals. So, if the book starts with a murder mystery, the poem following it will have a dark tone. This tone is slowly phased out with a lighter one to make way for another genre, say romance. I have used different genres in the same book because I believe no one emotion can exist by itself and always leads to another emotion. For instance if you feel affectionate towards something, it will bring along happiness. Sadness which comes to balance this happiness, again leads to anger which brings a calm. The latter completes the circle by going back to affection.
Your first book was an anthology of poems. Poems also make a comeback in your second. Is this your muse?
I do have a soft corner for poetry because I started reading poems first. And believe me, nothing is as magical as a poem. In poetry, you can write three different words and it can still have three different interpretations. It, at the same time is the most difficult form to write. With poetry slowly waning among readers, I want to bring it back into vogue through my writing.
How do you choose your themes and characters?
All the things I write, whether situations or characters are spurred by reality. I usually pick different human traits from people around me and mould them into one character. My themes on the other hand come from very small things. I read a lot about current affairs and those small, not-so-important stories in newspapers are what catch my fancy the most. I take one element from each of them and build a story around it.
What kind of research did you do?
Well, there is a story about a stripper in my book, which is inspired by an interaction with strippers I had in London to know more about them and understand their lives. There are lines in the story which are actually drawn from my conversation with them.
What are you working on now? Something completely different?
I am currently working on my third book - a novel, which will again be a blend of genres. As I am interested in screen writing, I am also co-producing a film called Mantra. Stories and films based on crime, mafia and gangsters have always been something that has piqued my interest. It would be a dream come true if I am able to write one of these.