LETTERS TO DAUGHTER MADE HIM A POET
An exporter by profession, Rajiv Khandelwal’s literary journey began with writing poetic letters of consolation to his homesick daughter. An author of four books on English poetry, Rajiv, today, is deep into literature and Indian classical music.
“I owe it to my mother, Lalita Khandelwal, who made me read Enid Blyton and play guitar in childhood,” says the electrical engineer, who exports auto parts for a living.
Rajiv, 61, was born in Kanpur, his maternal hometown. His father BD Khandelwal belongs to a noted business family of Agra which owned an oil mill.
His mother, who was a teacher, had much of her influence on Rajiv who got initial education in ‘Sheiling House School’ in Civil Lines of Kanpur.
“I came to Agra and studied at St George’s School and cleared ISCE exams in 1973. With family wishes dominating the children in those days, I joined Birla Institute of Technology at Mesra in Ranchi and graduated as an electrical engineer in 1979.
But since I had no plan to accept the job, I started looking for business options,” he says.
A BORN ENTREPRENEUR
“In early seventies, VCR was a new thing in electronics and cassettes were much sought after thing. New to the world of business my uncle provided me Rs 5000 to begin with and I set up a video cassette library in Kanpur and its branch in Agra. I named it ‘Movie Hut’ and the venture brought me back to Agra,” recollects Rajiv.
“I visited Singapore during those days and discovered the importance of videography. It gave me an idea of shooting monuments and heritage of Agra and outcome was ‘Visit India – Discover Agra’ series. We shot Taj Mahal and other tourist monuments together with the marble trade of Agra, its food habits and had even hired voice of Binacca Geet Mala fame Amin Sayani,” says Rajiv.
When the business faced a low time, Rajiv had to open a television showroom but continued to look for opportunities.
It was then he started exporting auto parts to Trinidad. The business flourished and now Rajiv is a known exporter in Agra leading a content life with his parents and wife after getting his two daughters, Vertical and Vernca married.
A MULTIFACETED PERSONALITY
Rajiv carries a passion for singing and had won awards for his talent on stage. Presently he is undergoing training for Indian classical music from Gajendraji who holds classes thrice a week. Recollecting his college days at Engineering College, Rajiv has fond memories of being declared best actor with Special Mention while representing BIT Mesra at ‘Mood Indigo-76’ and ‘Spring Fest -77’ organised by IIT Bombay & IIT Kharagpur – the open All India cultural fiesta organised by IIT’s for participating Engineering Colleges.
“Reading is my passion and I used to read a book in a day but now have to devote time for my own writing. My fifth book is likely to come up in 2019,” says the man who owes it all to his family. “They are not demanding and happily give space to me to follow my passion,” he says.
A critical reading of Rajiv’s selected poems titled- ‘A New Voice in Indian English Poetry’ was written by Late Dr Som P Ranchan published in 2014. Another critical reading of his poems titled – “A Critical Discourse” is written by Dr Bhupinder Parihar, published in 2017 and another titled – ‘Amorphous Creativity – Poetic Achievement of Rajiv Khandelwal is written by Prof VVB Rama Rao.
Rajiv is part of an anthology written by Prof VVB Rama Rao titled-‘Sensitivity and Cultural Multiplexity in Recent Indian English Poetry’ published in 2017. He had been awarded ‘Literary Creative Award’ by Naji Naaman’s Foundation for Gratis Culture of Lebanon.
His poems have been translated in Hindi and the version is slated to be published in 2019. National and international critics have written 17 review/critical paper on his poetic works till date and the compilation is scheduled to be published in 2019.
Rajiv Khandelwal with his mother and wife.
Khandelwal with wife and daughters and (above) a file pix of his poetic session.