She Rules

WITH IN­TER­NA­TION­ALWOMEN’S DAY AROUND THE COR­NER, SIM­PLY PUN­JABI DE­CI­PHERS SOME OFTHE RE­GION’S MOST POW­ER­FUL WOMEN AND THEIR WORK.

India Today - - INSIDE - BY SUKANT DEEPAK THE WRITER’S WORLD NEEL KA­MAL PURI

SIM­PLY PUN­JABI de­ci­phers some of the re­gion’s most pow­er­ful women and their work.

Some­times the most im­por­tant thing about writ­ing is the joy one de­rives from the sen­su­ous mix of thoughts and words. That holds true for Chandigarh-based au­thor Neel Ka­mal Puri. “Not to men­tion, the feel of the lan­guage,” she adds. The 57-year-old lec­turer at GCG Col­lege points out that it’s not only the way things are ex­pressed but how the prose makes a vis­ual is im­por­tant. Her aim is to make read­ers see, what is be­ing writ­ten about. Puri has to her credit two works of fic­tion, The Patiala Quar­tet and Re­mem­ber to For­get. De­riv­ing her ethos from the Pun­jabi sen­si­bil­ity, Puri says her sto­ries emerge from what she has grown up with. “I un­der­stand the nu­ances of the Pun­jabi cul­ture and the psy­che, which go a long way in help­ing me write.” Giv­ing a form to her ev­ery day ob­ser­va­tions, the writer is cur­rently work­ing on a collection of short sto­ries ti­tled Theka Tales, which she says have started out as a collection of short sto­ries, but may turn into a novel. Puri says as a woman, she is bound to be typecast with ev­ery­one ex­pect­ing her to have fem­i­nist streak. Of course, the women char­ac­ters in her works are strong. “But that is be­cause I have al­ways be­lieved that women in gen­eral have bet­ter cop­ing skills and a greater sense of re­vival. For me, the most im­por­tant ques­tions that should be raised are those per­tain­ing to iden­tity and in­clu­sive­ness,” she says. Look­ing back at her jour­ney, Puri ad­mits she never thought she would write a novel that a pub­lish­ing house would want to take up. Ses­sions of writ­ing letters from hos­tel to home can be duly ac­cred­ited for adding fuel to her pas­sion for writ­ing. Puri fi­nally started writ­ing in the 90's. The writer says that she draws her in­spi­ra­tion from her “whacky” per­spec­tive of life. “I am glad that I have the abil­ity to see the funny side of life. This in turn gives my read­ers a new per­spec­tive to things I write about.” How­ever, there are still days when she has to force her­self to sit in front of her com­puter and start typ­ing. She lets us in, “Some­times words come, some­times they don’t. But the key is to be dis­ci­plined and keep at it.” Typ­i­cal to some­one en­joy­ing the boun­ties of na­ture and so­lace that Chandigarh pro­vides, a jog at the Sukhna Lake pro­vides Puri with the much re­quired boost to re­fresh her mind and weave a whole new tale. Writ­ing is an art that knows no bound­aries, no rules, no ex­cep­tions and no paths. “Ev­ery work of art has a des­tiny of its own,” Puri says.

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