T21 in Downs Lane, written by Utpal Mishra, is a book revolving around a protagonist suffering from Down Syndrome. There are a lot of ways to see the motivations behind writing a book such as this. But what better than listening to them come right from the horse’s mouth?
In this candid and in-depth interview with Writers Melon, Utpal Mishra talks about his inspirations behind writing, life, and T21 in Downs Lane.
Utpal Mishra – Why I Write:
Utpal Mishra is a combination of emotions that drizzles down into his work. He tells us about what helps him express himself.
“The seed within me, my empathy towards humanity and my subjects drives me to express myself in the form that is most suitable to me, which is writing.”
Understanding the Self and the Story:
With an understanding of what makes the human self tick, Utpal Mishra talks about how he finds the trails that eventually lead him to a story.
“Understanding self is the most difficult task and to me, it is almost impossible for this understanding leads to the concept of ‘Nirvana’. Despite, we all walk in the quest of finding this answer. This journey is the continuing story since millennia. People come, people do go, but the story continues. I am one such character in this stage of life who picks up a part of this diverse story and tries to weave pathos around that part with words. My interest is life and feelings of living beings, humans or non – humans.”
Who is Utpal Mishra?
“I am essentially a poet and lyricist. That is what I was born as. If I could remember correctly, I wrote my first poem when I was around five years of age. It has continued with me since and it has been a journey of learning the fine nuances of poetry. In poetics, my preferred language is Hindi and the genres are Versed Poetry (छंद बद्ध काव्य), Free Verse (अछांदसिक काव्य), Short Poetry (क्षणिका), and Ghazal.
At times, I do write in Sanskrit and I do prefer writing in the format of “Shloka”. In prose, before the novel, I used to write short stories and poetries intermittently and my preferred language in prose is English. While writing Ghazals I use the pseudonym “Nada.N”. This journey of life in a mundane way; I would describe poetically as:
ऐ नवजीवन बाँह पसारे मुट्ठी बंद कर कुलबुल करते कोमल अंगों में आ जाओ ….. ll
भूख से रोते सब पर हँसते चुलबुल कर ठुमक – ठुमक चल बढ़ते जाओ ….. ll
पढ़ते – लिखते हँसते – रोते उठ – गिर करते जीवन के संग बढ़ते जाओ ….. ll
दुनिया से सीख अहम् भाव ले कुछ पर हँसते कुछ को रौंदे स्वार्थ संसार बसाते जाओ ….. ll
अब ठहरो ….. !! जीवन के दिन गिनते जाओ क्या खोया? क्या पाया? अब तुम यह सोचे जाओ ….. ll
देख वो काल बाँह पसारे चुप – चुप कर बढ़ता आए जीर्ण अंगों से अब तुम जाओ ….. ll
फिर नवजीवन, बाँह पसारे मुट्ठी बंद कर ….. ll
The Publishing Journey:
“I’ve always known, ever since I was child, that I will one day write professionally and be published. But how it happened was a complete surprise to me.
I started writing during my long stays in hospitals. And much to my chagrined surprise, the day my first officially published book was announced was the day I got the news that one of my closest friends had committed suicide. Ironically, I had written my first novel called Suicide: Death Lives. Till date, I have not found any publisher for it. I reached out to publishing agents and a few publishers and they all rejected this work. I always knew it would happen as I know that there is a lot to rework in this.
In the meantime, I had started writing my most ambitious book, T21 in Downs Lane, which is now out for all to read. This took me almost three years to write. What surprised me this time was that this work also didn’t go through any of the publishing agents or publishers. But finally, my publisher, The Write Place shortlisted my work for publication and a beautiful journey together began to bring this work for all of you to read.
Suicide: Death Lives, during one of my writers block phases, I published it on KDP Amazon and later unpublished it. May be sometime later, when time will be apt, I will rework on Suicide: Death Lives and hopefully then, I will get some publisher for it too. “Being published is a great thing. Even greater is to know what to get published.”
How I Came Upon ‘T21 in Downs Lane’:
“In one way I would say that the story had found me. I had a chance meeting with people with autism and was appalled by the humane aspect of their nature. From then, I kept researching such disorders. Finally I zeroed in on “Down Syndrome”. The challenge on writing this work is to understand them properly and that could not have been done through books or research materials. I had to live that and I did, by being with them and their parents. The further challenge was the ‘don’t’. I had to be consciously aware all the time about the fact that whether I can do anything on this or not is not that material but I could not, by any single word, make them feel offended. This was stupendously tiring. The result was that the entire editing process also took over three months.”
About ‘T21 in Downs Lane’:
“T21 in Downs Lane is about one of the myriad differences among which we live. This is associated with genetic disorder. My protagonist is a person with Down Syndrome. This book is about the socio-economic-emotional aspect of life around differences and disorder, especially genetic disorders. This work encapsulates the finer points of human rights, inclusive society, psychological development of children in general and of Down Syndrome in specific, the grief cycle, parenting, the education system, medico-legal complexities and most of the things that relates to the growth of human beings. This book delves deep into the humane aspect of people with Down Syndrome and their abilities. T21 in Downs Lane is a benign effort of highlighting the importance of multi – intelligence over intelligence through a story.”
Advice for Aspiring Authors:
“Be yourself. Experience your seed and write on what brings out your pathos. Rest will follow, sooner or later.”
Author(s): Utpal Kumar Mishra
Publisher: The Write Place
Release: June 2018
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