Interview with Ravi Nambiar
Ravi Nambiar is an author who has published Monsoon Minds, a collection of eighteen beautiful short stories. He writes sentimental stories and emphasizes on human emotions more than anything else. Here is a conversation with the author. You can read more about Ravi on The Indian Authors: Ravi Nambiar on Indian Authors
Alok Mishra: Ravi, I would like to start with the fictional village that you have created in Monsoon Minds – Bhavli. Am I supposed to think of this as another Malgudi in making? This is also in South India and quite calm and away from most of the cheat & deceit of the modern world! Please have your reflections on this.
Ravi Nambiar: Village Life in the South is always mesmerizing and a perfect background for bringing out the emotional and sentimental aspects of these simple-hearted non-deceitful villagers. Having born and brought up in such a wonderful and lovely place, it was natural for me to base most of the stories of Monsoon Minds in the same setting. The serene, calm and refreshingly cool village life inspires all – the young and old – which was chosen for these short stories. Considering Monsoon Minds as another Malgudi in making is indeed the best compliment! And I don’t want to hide the fact that all these years I have been an ardent lover of the iconic R. K. Narayan’s writings!
Alok Mishra: You have quite successfully questioned the conscience of the general people through your wonderful short stories. A Mother and Her Son, for instance, pinches your soul as a reader! To ask, what is the purpose behind creating such sentimental short stories? Are these just your creations for the sake of creating or with a definite purpose?
Ravi Nambiar: Human life although being full of complexities and paradoxes, does give us an insight into the sentimental values of simple people. I just pick-up some of these sentimental nuances that I observe during my interactions with so many people and weave my stories around them.
Alok Mishra: The Case of Certainty celebrates the love in its truest possible form… between a pair bluntly unmatched in the eyes of the society we live in. Then, this story, as it questions the social conditioned mindset – what’s the message of the author through this story?
Ravi Nambiar: When it comes to pure love, the social conservativeness leading to social stigma hardly matters. I truly feel that the “unconditional” love is not bothered about the social narrowness, interventions and reactions. In spite of the orthodox mindset of the society it is the love of heart between Ramesh and Nalini which ultimately saw the soothing light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Alok Mishra: On a critical side, Ravi, my question to you is that how do you see the art of short story writing in today’s India? What does it lack and what does it have in abundance?
Ravi Nambiar: Writing short stories is of course an intricate art where the author tries to bring out the story theme and ideas in his / her mind with a few words appealing to the readers.
Alok Mishra: Monsoon Minds – what’s the story behind the title of your book? Can you please elaborate on its significance?
Ravi Nambiar: Monsoon is one the best seasons depicting the emotions and sentiments of human beings. Even the diversity of these emotions and sentiments resembles to the diversity of slight drizzle to torrential outpours during the monsoon season. This is the only reason I chose Monsoon Minds as the title for my short stories.
Alok Mishra: While most of the readers will enjoy reading Monsoon Minds which celebrates the little episodes of a calm, pleasant village life, critical readers might complain that you have altogether ignored the grim reality of urban life! What’s your response to such charges, Ravi?
Ravi Nambiar: Grim realities of the Urban life we face day in and day out… should we always get bogged down by these and portray the same in a classic literature? Every person looks for some bright, shining and encouraging side of life reflected in the lives of others which can be connected in some way or other in our own lives. There is no dearth of writers portraying the grim and negative side of lives and that is the reason I always try to find positivity in every drastic situation. The village background gives this perfect setting to portray the emotions and sentiments of characters in my short stories.
Alok Mishra: The blurb of your book suggests that you believe in the theory of Karma. I would like to more about that spiritual side of yours. And, do you think that side of your personality might come into play while you are indulged in writing?
Ravi Nambiar: Since my childhood, I have been a firm believer in the Theory of Karma. The good and bad, the positive and negative, the beautiful and ugliest things we do today will definitely reap their fruits in this life or other – and I more strongly feel in this life itself. The ‘Spirit’, as in the word Spirituality, has always fascinated me and these ideas have become stronger and stronger with each passing day by reading the writings of spiritually evolved souls like Swami Vivekananda, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and even today’s writers like Eckhart Tolle. It is not the name and wealth and fame a person receives in this life that gives the direction to the “onward journey” but the quest into the Self, lying low deep within a person that makes a person leave behind his or her mark.
Alok Mishra: How do you tackle negative responses, Ravi? You must have met the readers or friends who might have shown a negative brow to your writing. Please tell me about your experience dealing with them.
Ravi Nambiar: Praise and criticism, accolades and disapprovals, appreciation and rebuke, commendation and condemnation…. these are all part and parcel of everyone’s life even in the ordinary things we do in life. Having set my foot to go beyond the reaction to these dualities, I accept both these as suggestions given to me to further improve my writing skills. In this human world, it is not possible to make everyone happy and always get nice things to hear about one’s works. Like the second side of any coin, I take the negative brows also as positive suggestions.
Alok Mishra: What’s the next from your that the readers can expect? The Bhavli village and the habitants are too good to be narrated in another bunch of narratives! Please tell me about your upcoming works.
Ravi Nambiar: As of now, I am taking a short-break and sitting back contemplating on my next creation. The vague idea that I have in my mind and working on it to tell the world through protagonists that anything can be achieved in life with manifestation of intense desires.
Alok Mishra: Many thanks for your time, Ravi! It was nice reading your book and also a great experience through this intellectual exchange with you. I wish the best for your upcoming works!
Ravi Nambiar: Thank you so much for appreciating my work and getting to know more about me and the “thoughts” that have gone behind my writing!