Interview: It was great reading your book Nalini. Please tell me a bit more about yourself.
Nalini Dhiman: I’m a fifteen year old high school student. I’ll be turning sixteen the following month. I am into reading novels and poetry; I love gaming, and enjoy travelling as well. I’ve been into writing as far as my memory serves me, that is, since I was a child. My father inculcated that habit within me. He was a great expressionist himself. I guess, that’s pretty much it.
Interview: So what inspired you to write poetry in the first place? Was it a childhood hobby or a newfound passion?
Nalini Dhiman: I used to write a lot of stuff since I was 5, but I delved into philosophical and expressionist poetry in 2017, when I was 14.
Interview: When it comes to poetry books nowadays the competition is really tough, so what made you believe in your book that it would do better than the rest?
Nalini Dhiman: The primary point of getting my book published was not to race myself to the top of the stands, but to leave behind a legacy. I wanted to share my perspective of the world; therefore, I published this book. Rest assured, this won’t be the last book I publish. I believe, if people truly enjoy my book and read between my lines, I will not have to worry about making my book better than the rest.
Interview: Which one among your poems in this book is your favorite and why? Are you a self-critic and if yes, then to what extent do you criticize your own work?
Nalini Dhiman: My favorite chapter in this book is Infinity, because it’s entirely based on my father. However, my favorite poem is “I died yet nobody learnt a thing”, which is in the last chapter Reality. I love this poem because it shows, according to me, what the world is like. This is what I highlight through the poem. Poetry is a form of expression; I get praised for writing so well but not even one person understands the point of it. I write about suicide, depression, self-harm, and all of these poems get applauded. However, the true meaning always stays untouched. I don’t know if I’m a self-critic, but I sure am a self-doubter. So, naturally, that leads me to doubting myself and my work. I still think that my words could be more well written.
Interview: Since I am also a poet and love to read and write poetry, I could totally connect with you. Name few other poets whose work really makes you feel connected with them?
Nalini Dhiman: I’m not sure if there are other renowned poets with whom I entirely connect, but here are some of the poets whose work touched my heart: my father, Sabrina Benaim, Michael Lee, Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe.
Interview: As a child, who was your biggest inspiration and why? How does it feel now when you know that so many people read your books and derive inspiration from you?
Nalini Dhiman: I think my father has always been my biggest inspiration. He inspires me to work hard and to express myself. When I was a child, I used to narrate stories to him, and he used to pretend to fall asleep because I used to express myself in a bland and boring manner. I wanted to make myself capable of my father’s interest, so I practiced and I practiced. He loved my poems till I was a child. As I grew older and more mature, my poetry changed styles and reflected sadness. Although I was not sad, my poetry always was. My father could feel the words because of the way I wrote them, and therefore, he believed in me. That’s how I remain encouraged every second of the day because I know that my father believed in me.
Honestly, not many people have read my book. But to think that so many strangers and friends have read my book, I feel a little intimidated. Writing poetry is like exposing your heart to the world. Also, I wouldn’t want my words to mislead anyone.
It also feels exhilarating to know that there are so many people who love my words! I’m thankful to them, truly.
Interview: That’s really interesting Nalini! I would like to know what was the role of your parents in shaping your overall personality today?
Nalini Dhiman: My father shaped me. He encouraged me to have a big heart and to accept everyone in it. He told me to do what I loved as I would automatically excel in it. He taught me to be grateful to God and to anyone who has helped me. My mother taught me to never give up, to stay down to earth and humble, and to enjoy little things in life.
Interview: How did you coin such a beautiful and thought provoking title ‘The Labyrinth of Clouds’ for this book? What were the thought processes behind it besides the idea of expressing maze and puzzle?
Nalini Dhiman: I’ve always been fascinated by clouds. When my father left me so abruptly, it felt as if I was stuck in an infinitely large void of nothingness. I felt lost, puzzled and stranded in the midst of things that clouded my mind. Therefore, ‘The Labyrinth of Clouds’ came out to be the name of my book.
Interview: Who do you look up to for getting inspirations in writing and why? Any tips for youngsters who also wish to make a career in writing and inspire others?
Nalini Dhiman: I think I derive my inspiration for writing from my life itself. Therefore, it is myself who I look up to.
Tips…well…I would encourage you to write without being in haste or pressurised by anyone and anything. The pen and paper are yours. The laptop is yours. Anything you write on is yours. That is your world and no one can you from expressing the way you want to. Look for a good publisher and start with small steps. Be confident and positive.
Interview: What are your favorite books or rather which genre do you prefer to read the most? Why do you like to read that particular genre the most?
Nalini Dhiman: I like to read Young Adult the most. This is because I belong to the category of young adult as well, and I can relate to the stories on a different level. I enjoy reading the same thing I experience from another person’s view of it.
Interview: Any plans on trying your hands in writing stories as well? Do you think its easy for poets to switch to being novelist and also vice-versa?
Nalini Dhiman: I am working on a project that involves stories, but I won’t give out any information right now hehehe.
I don’t know if it’s easy or not, because honestly, everyone is different. Those who rap can try to write poems as such, those who write stories might not find it easy to write poems. A lot of factors are involved and a clear conclusion can’t be made out of it.
Interview: Any next book in the pipeline which we need to wait for? If yes, what is it about and when can we expect it?
Nalini Dhiman: Yes, my first book is just one baby step. I cannot give out information about my next project, but it can be expected to launch in 2020. Again, it revolves around poetry.
Interview: Thank you so much Nalini for sharing so many insights about yourself and your book. It was such a lovely conversation. Any last message you would love to give to us or to your readers?
Nalini Dhiman: The pleasure was mine as well! I hope you all enjoy reading my book. I would love to know what you think about it, and I’m available on Instagram and Twitter for contact. I am thankful to you guys for everything. Never stop expressing!