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Incredible Journey Teaser: Q&A with Anirood Singh

ANIROOD SINGH - picAnirood Singh is one of the 20 contributors to this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories anthology, Incredible Journey with his story ‘Karma’s Map’. Singh is an advocate of the High Court, a nonexecutive director of companies and an advisor to the public sector. He is also an avid writer, with a master’s degree in creative writing from Rhodes University. As well as a number of non-fiction articles and conference papers, he has written two novels, a play, two screenplays that have been made into films, and a number of short stories.

 

As a repeat author how did writing this year’s story, ‘Karma’s Map’, differ from writing ‘Demon In The DNA’ for Bloody Satisfied?

‘Demon In The DNA’ was entirely a work of fiction in the crime genre. ‘Karma’s Map’ depicts the protagonist in my (as yet) unpublished novel, Karma on Trial. To this I added some of my personal experiences. So it is part fiction and part fact.

 

 

 

What inspired the theme of your story?

If it can be called inspiration, it was discovering that I suffered from prostatitis and I had to undergo a surgical procedure to survive. Prostate complications, added to diabetes and hypertension, can adversely affect one’s physical and mental state. However, one learns to cope with life’s slings and arrows. So I decided to write about prostate problems and their aftermath.

 

Your story starts by going through the traditional Indian nuptials. Can you comment on some of the traditions?

I am a non-practising Hindu and as such do not know much of Hinduism. As far as I know there are three types of Hindu weddings – Aryan, Sanathan and Vedic. These are still practised today, accompanied by great pomp and ceremony as well as high cost. In my opinion these nuptials are more of a showpiece than a simple marriage ceremony that could be undertaken at little or no cost at a temple. I believe some of the cultures, traditions and rituals practised by Hindus were based on or influenced by mythology. Hence, some of us South Africans of Indian descent do not understand the significance of many of these and simply follow family traditions.

 

You are quoted as saying “life begins with a death sentence” in your biography. Could you expand on that?

The belief by Hindus in karma, or fate, could mean that one’s life is mapped out beforehand and could be read in the stars by a seer or priest, in the stars. Such a person could reveal one’s future based on the person’s date and time of birth and other factors. It has been said that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life where one lives according to nature as one of God’s creatures. In this system humans are but caretakers of earth for future generations and our deaths commence at birth – one is born to die, or death is inevitable.

 

Why do you think it is important to write about the afflictions that are inevitably a part of growing older?

When some older folk talk to each other, often a part of the conversation is a catalogue of ailments discussed in order to elicit some sympathy or solace. It would be boring to write about them, especially in the absence of story. On the other hand, it may be educational, and entertaining, for others to learn of certain ailments which they themselves may encounter. However, I believe the writer must include some wit and humour – laughing in the face of impending or inevitable death.

 

What does this year’s topic, the ‘incredible journey’, mean to you?

A journey can take many forms, such as a voyage of discovery. However, I decided to write about something more mundane than adventurous, hence the prostate-based tale. I used real life to fashion a largely fictional story.

 

Describe your fiction writing process. Is it disciplined and 9-5pm or do you need to be in the mood?

I am semi-retired so have more time than the average working writer. I do not follow a strict writing regime but write (and read) whenever I can. This includes non-fiction and professional articles and papers, including legal opinions. I do not need to be in the mood because I don’t know what that is. I make notes as something comes to mind and later incorporate them into stories. I write at any time of the day.

 

What short story writing tip can you share?

Originally I believed in spontaneous writing, that is, free-writing based on a story idea and incorporating whatever comes to mind. I have since learned the value of writing to a plan, that is, using an outline. This is a road map, which should not be seen as a straitjacket but one that incorporates sufficient flexibility to enable the writer to take deviations through sub-plots, etc. However, one must remember that characters are the drivers.

 

Do you believe you have a role in promoting South Africans’ interest in reading?

Yes. I am executive producer of a low-budget movie production company. I wish to turn some of my short stories into short feature films and perhaps hint at the importance of story and characterization. I also hope to publish some in serial form on Amazon.

 

Interview by Liz Sarant

 
incredible journey cover copy

Book details:

Incredible Journey: Stories that move you edited by Joanne Hichens
Book homepage
EAN: 9781928230182
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