I subscribe to a number of different blogs, and one of them is Emotional Shadows, written by Balroop Singh. I am always moved by her posts, and we frequently exchange comments. She is a very interesting person, so I thought you ought to meet her, too. Recently, one of her poems, Oasis of Peace, was a winner in one my poetry contests. I think you’ll enjoy learning more about this talented author, however, before we begin our interview, I’d like to share her work with you.
Oasis of Peace
Blooming blossoms, whispering wind,
Carried me far into the haven of peace.
Solitude softly spoke in serene tone,
We welcome weary travelers alone.
Divesting dirty robes of dissent,
We revel in the glorious sun.
You too can embrace this light,
Just follow it with smiling delight.
The light that enlightens the mind,
The light that permeates all around.
Adds new dimension to thoughts,
Guides us out of those knobby knots.
Illumines those innate virtues,
When we try to shake them off.
In annoyance, in rage, in resentment,
Leisurely hours are wistfully spent.
Rejoicing in the new found glee,
We sat and shared upon His knee.
Palpable peace pervaded all around,
Into which all dismay drowned.
© 2016 Balroop Singh
Joe—Welcome to my blog, Balroop. That’s a lovely poem. Since I follow your blog, Emotional Shadows, I’m not surprised that you entered the contest, nor that yours was the winning entry in my contest. I can’t help but observe that while you list your home as California, your name appears to be of Indian origin. Were you born in India?
Balroop—Yes! You guessed it right, Joe. I was born in India and have spent the best part of my life there, exploring the incredible magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, the grandeur of Thar Desert in the west, dotted with historical towns, untouched beauty and splendor of the tea gardens in the east and the spectacular backwaters of Kerala in the south . . . all four directions offer myriad experiences, enriching beyond imagination and too hard to describe in words. Oh! I didn’t mention the poetry in marble—the Taj Mahal! Each time you visit, it evokes a different emotion, and the moment you come back home, the yearning to visit again sets in!
Joe—Well, that certainly is interesting. The Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world that I would love to see. Was there anything in particular that you experienced while growing up in India that prompted you to become a writer?
Balroop—It was never on my mind that I would become a writer one day, or that I had so many moods, emotions and words to express my feelings but I was highly imaginative or so I thought! I always loved to read, and during my flights of fantasy, I could see myself writing. I would consciously tell myself, “One day I will write my own book.” That self-promise never did wear off and I am glad I could accomplish that.
The prompt was probably the workshops I conducted for my students to give an impetus to their creativity, and the magazines we created together year after year. So, writing, which seemed to be a chore in the initial years, became a pleasure. The challenge to write better than the most creative minds I was surrounded with, helped me learn and embellish my style.
Joe—I see that on your website, your biography reads: “A former teacher and an educationalist, a passionate reader, a published writer, an ardent nature lover, I am also fond of poetry and good, soft music.” What and where did you teach, and why did you give up teaching as your profession? Also, what endeavor have you substituted for teaching?
Balroop—Well, you won’t believe that teaching also was never on my mind. I just stumbled upon it and accepted it because I found it immensely interesting and satisfying! It kept me in the company of youngsters, my most cherished companions, my perennial source of inspiration, who kept my creativity alive. I taught English in one of the public schools in Delhi to the 16-18-year old age group for 27 years. I gave up my job when I decided to come to America, lured by the love of my grandchildren. Loving them has been my profession for the last three years!
Joe—As a new grandparent myself, I can certainly identify with that. Balroop, one of the things I have noticed is that when you blog, often it is in the form of poetry. Is that your preferred form of writing?
Balroop—As a person of few words, I have always found poetry a more suitable genre of expression as it flows spontaneously and smoothly. I don’t have to make any effort while writing poetry. So much can be said succinctly through symbols and imagery, which give wings to my words, taking them to unexpected zones!
However, my blog has opened unknown vistas to me. It helps me in traversing those precincts that were within me but which I had never made an effort to discover.
Joe—I noticed that two of the books listed on your website appear to be of the “self help” genre. Is there a reason that you have chosen that avenue of writing, and have you ever written fiction?
Balroop—I consider myself a poet first, and all my poetry is inspired by real life. But a touch of fiction adds another dimension to it. I have always felt that the world of my imagination has a queer connection with realism, which allows me to keep in touch with my surroundings.
Joe—When you’re not writing, blogging, or listening to music, what types of activities do you enjoy?
Balroop—I love playing with my grandchildren and feeling blessed! I enjoy long walks, which inspire my creativity. I love to travel and spend time in the lap of nature. I find immense solace in all the moods of nature. I love to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure me with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. I can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls.
Joe—That’s a very poetic answer. No wonder poetry is your preferred form of expression. So, Balroop, what are you working on currently, and when do you expect to publish another book?
Balroop—Well, my second book of poetry is almost ready, but before that I am planning to compile all those pieces which talk about enhancement of personality and publish them in the form of a book, probably by the end of August, this year.
Joe—That’s great. Make sure you let us know when it comes out. Are your books traditionally published, or are you a fellow “Indie?”
Balroop—Indie! And I am glad that I am an “Indie,” because it keeps me stress free and is so liberating!
Joe—Well, I don’t know about being “stress free,” as you put it, but I would have to agree that it is very liberating. Do you ever find yourself struggling to write—you know, find yourself faced with the dreaded “writer’s block?”
Balroop—There are moments when I get stuck. Some days just pass me by. I keep wondering what to write, but nothing comes. Other times, the divine inspiration is hard to shrug off, and I am able to write a poem within half an hour.
Joe—Okay, Balroop, here’s something I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s a rapid-fire quiz about your favorite things. Please answer as quickly and concisely as you can, okay?
Balroop—(laughs) I don’t know if I can take the pressure. Okay, go ahead.
Joe—Ready or not, Balroop, here goes!
Favorite drink? Tea
Favorite food? Thai
Favorite holiday destination? Mountains allure me
Favorite TV show? None! Some musical reality shows
Favorite film? Guide, a true classic of its time
Favorite sport? None!
Favorite type of music? Ghazal
Favorite author? William Wordsworth, William Blake
Joe—Well, that was fun. I never quite know what to expect. (Balroop laughs.) On a more serious note, since you are an acknowledged “self help” author, what advice would you offer to other aspiring authors?
Balroop—Flow with the emotions, let your imagination soar, find what ignites the fire within and let it go wild. Sky ceases to be the limit when we start the flight of fantasy.
My conviction is that it is our zeal, our passion for work, which makes us noticeable. Whether you are a homemaker, trying to make your home more comfortable and loving or a struggling writer, dedication and sincerity gleams through your work.
Joe—That’s some very good advice, indeed, and we’ll keep our eyes peeled for the release of your next book. Well, Balroop, I’d like to thank you for being our guest, it’s been very enlightening. I’ve always felt as though, following your blog, I knew you. But now I can genuinely say that we are friends.
Balroop—Well, thanks for having me, my friend. It’s been a pleasure.
Readers can connect with Balroop Singh via the following social media:
- Blog (Emotional Shadows) www.balroop2013.wordpress.com
- Twitter https://twitter.com/BalroopShado
- Google Posts https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BalroopSinghsrao/posts
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971
- Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/balroops/
- Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh
♥ DON’T FORGET, APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! ♥