Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
Goldie: We are siblings in the same profession, with both having an understanding that the other is better than self. Writing for us is purely being creative. Takhte, our company name, is inspired by the primeval time when, for learning, one used a wooden rectangular structure to provide a stable and firm base underneath for affirmative writing. We believe in old truism that you never get a second chance to create a first good impression, so write smarter and not harder. Additionally, we aim at promoting the importance of effective writing amongst young minds, and for this, we conduct the writer’s writeshop. We are organizing in partnership with UNESCO New Delhi, pan India online essay contest, like ‘Millennial Indian Writers’ in 2019 and ‘Year 1 AC (After Coronavirus)’ in 2020.
Talking about self, since childhood, I loved buying books, getting a book as a gift, and gifting books. I would say, have a good collection and a snugly book corner. For me, reading works as a passion, past-time, and quick-meditation. I have been into finances and worked with numbers, so I picked and dropped playing with words. However, when the business and earning is with words, writing comes naturally to me. I like writing on art the most; it’s filled with creative juices. And, the challenge is to be more creative in narrating the creativity. My other interests include trying all creative work with hands more, of course, the mind too; exploring the salad making, and visiting holy shrines.
Shivani: Being upfront, I never wanted to become a writer, but after doing English Literature and Journalism, I ended up being one. Though crime reporting always intrigued me but left with no choice than reading only. As my career evolved, I took up the challenge of writing on anything and everything, be it health, climate change, lifestyle, travel, fashion, art, management, and so on. I believe all you need is to master the words and hell upon being creative. However, I enjoy the most is profiling about people, and to do biographies.
I don’t like collecting or reading books, and I have few downloads that too on Kindle. My other interests include travel, product-shoot, and collecting lenses. My dream is to come up with a hospital for stray furry kids.
One word answers
i) Your fav genre in books
Shivani: Autobiography & Biography
ii) All-time favorite books
Shivani: Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of A P J Abdul Kalam
iii) A book that you think is really overrated –
Shivani: The Alchemist
iv) Your first read
Goldie: Enid Blyton and then series on it
v) One book that you value the most
Goldie: Miracles of Life
vi) One book that you’re meaning to read for a very long time
Goldie: J.K. Rowling – Have never read any of her books.
vii) Your current read
Goldie: Re-reading some of Shakespeare’s though have had read all his works. Well, now the reading is more work-related.
What’s the story behind ‘Artists of India’?
Goldie: We deem in contributing to the message that the art of our country is astoundingly rich, distinctive, and vital. Its legacy endures and shapes our place in the world, and that it will inform generations to come what India is as a civilization. With this thought in mind, we decided to come up with ‘Artists of India – Modern and Contemporary Art.’ We hardly found any such book or limited segments being available, but then it should be of interest equally to art enthusiasts, patrons, and researchers. The books by galleries are there, generally on the individual artist or few together. But by and largely inaccessible, if available, it’s limited and exorbitantly priced. Our objective was also to assist and guide up-coming artists to enhance their knowledge and learn from the experiences of the eminent artists and above all to work for society. As we believe an artist has a significant role to play in generating awareness and changing mindsets of people on social concerns bothering the nation.
There’s no doubt that your book ‘Artists of India’ must have required some real good immense research. Would you like to share that experience with us?
Goldie: The book was under production for six months. We researched Indian Modern and Contemporary Art by visiting various libraries and book stores. We came in touch with many artists spread across all States and UTs of India through social media, WhatsApp groups, phone calls, individual emails, and word of mouth. Shivani took the responsibility of carrying out interviews through telephone and mails to understand the artist’s perception of art, their achievements, and their creative journey.
What were the challenges you faced while writing this book?
Goldie: Many senior artists showed interest and enquired about the book but later refused/withdrawn as being bound with the galleries they were attached.
What’s the hardest part about writing? And the best part about it too.
Goldie: Same challenge, as cited above. On the contrary, the best part is many senior artists enthusiastically supported our initiative. We are also grateful to have many Padma Awardees and other artists who have gained recognition and made India proud nationally and internationally as part of this book.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing the book?
Shivani: The positive and encouraging feedback received from the senior and eminent artists that hardly any such type of book is available or can take shape.
What are you most grateful for as a writer?
Shivani: Our first book is acknowledged by Honourable Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu Ji, and many luminaries and dignitaries. It has also been shortlisted by National Book Trust for International Book Fairs and Exhibitions held at Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Cairo, Mexico, and Sharjah.
What is your opinion on the artistic process?
Goldie: It is an undeniable fact that everything in the world was created to create something beautiful, something exquisite, to add sparkle, to fill it with glitter. In a myriad of images around us, we as the human search for the meaning, and we debate, we surmise, we frame, we paint, and in all this, we follow the path of ancestral beliefs or advocate the future happenings. Despite crossing paths of confluent and contrasting intents, a fact is that we create. Whether our creation is new, or a rebuilding of the old, but we create. The artist, in its place, absorbs the world, contemplates, and re-creates it in a new and unique form as the world of art, takes the viewer to a far-off world within this world.
Are you currently working on any book?
Goldie: Not exactly, as just the seed has germinated to encapsulate textiles of pre and post-Independence India. Well, my Dad has been a textile engineer, so I have learned a lot from him, and in fact, he wants this book.
What’s the one thing you take away most from your reading?
Shivani: As most of my reads are biography and autobiography, so I get enthralled and encouraged in getting to read life experiences and the challenges overcome.
What are some simple things in your life that make you happy?
Shivani: The only act – feeding streeties.
What do you think of the publishing industries in India? Is it hard to get published as an author?
Goldie: The bigger the brand, the higher the premium is to be paid. I believe writers should keep writing no matter they have to go for self-publishing. You never know when you can hit.
Would you like to give some tips/advice to the aspiring writers out there?
Shivani: Never be smitten by any writer’s writing, else unintentionally, you’ll end up in emulating the style. Write your own rules.
Do you think reading and writing are co-dependent? If no, then do you think someone who doesn’t read books can become a good writer?
Shivani: It’s not codependent at all. A good writer need not be an avid reader; an ardent reader need not be a good writer.
Goldie: I’ve always loved reading, but never related it to bettering writing practice.
Last but not the least; is there anything that you would like to tell our writers?
Shivani: Write your first draft, knowing no one else will read it. Be as creative and crazy as you like. Have fun in writing. Importantly shelve it for some time depending upon the schedule of the work allows. Then read it and edit it. Revising and editing should be two-third of the overall time, and writing the first draft should take one-third of the allocated time.
Goldie: Significantly, to engage readers, be specific with your language. Banyan or Chinar rather than a tree. Starling or sparrow, rather than birds. Strolled or ambled rather than walked slowly.
If you loved this interview with Goldie and Shivani Kasturia, the authors of “Artists of India”, then do check out more of our bookish content, here.
Also, if you have any questions for Goldie and Shivani mam, do let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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