“In writing, there is art. And in art, there is a craft.”
Nashik, July 24: This famous quote by Susi Moore is enough to proclaim that writers are artists of their kind.
The “Art Vs Skill” debate has always surrounded writing for a very long time. Unlike other art forms, writing hasn’t found its rightful place in the realm of art. It is worshipped as a skill but seldom as an art form.
With her diverse body of work, Janhavi Bhat – Author of “Safarnama”-is set to break these constraints. Writing for her is a peculiar blend of art and skill. Neither of them can be compromised in any situation. In the world of trends, art must survive in its purest form. For this to happen, creativity and spontaneity need to thrive in the mundane reality of today.
The writing was nothing short of a fortunate accident in Janhavi’s disinteresting time at Civil Engineering. As opportunities for scripting and hosting events showed up, she grew fond of this newfound realm which she never thought existed. Being an avid reader, she became a part of various online platforms and eventually began writing as engineering continued to stay in an unidentified corner of her life.
This hobby took the shape of a possible career only after a year-long illness when Janhavi was bedridden. The decision was made. It was the right time to burn the old bridge. It was the right time to start afresh. With a namesake engineering degree, her pursuit of a writing career took off. She sailed by making Instagram her launchpad for creative write-ups with freelance writing gigs, theatre, and odd jobs.
Few open-mic performances and an online creative writing workshop inspired her to pen down 15 poems from the perspective of a young girl leading to her first English Poetry Collection in 2018, named “Alluring Shadows”, which is available as a Kindle edition. “Alluring Shadows” is a girl’s journey from insecurities and her little bubble of depression to a brighter world. What makes this collection unique are its imagery and the metaphoric depiction of nature with its various elements.
An undeniable authenticity marks her widely appreciated Hindi Poetry Collection “Safarnama”, released in 2019. This collection revolves around love, life, wisdom, spirituality, and betrayal with a unique representation and an unconventional writing style. Janhavi has given birth to the submerged emotions in a human heart through simple words. In her own words, this collection results from her curiosity about the Urdu language and spontaneous responses to her then circumstances. One may clearly state them as raw and unfiltered emotions that spurt out in the exact moments. Poetry, unlike fiction for her, is about moments. One minute here, and the next, it’s gone.
She chooses to keep the 69 odd verses untitled. Fundamentally different from the rest and emotionally rich, “Safarnama” creates an unforgettable aura for the reader. This collection effortlessly sheds light on vulnerable aspects of life, which many prefer to keep under wraps. Many readers like to call this collection the background music to a human’s daily life experiences, events, emotions, and even mishaps – almost equating “Safar” to “Suffer”.
Nonetheless, many find the depth of “Safarnama” alluring and all-encompassing. On the possibility of different interpretations of her work, Janhavi famously quips her work is open to various interpretations as readers from different walks of life with different experiences and circumstances will read her work. Different backgrounds offer varied perspectives, and hence understanding too differs.
The untitled verses too hold a specific meaning. She urges readers to read the collection in a sequence, unlike other poetry volumes where you’ll pick up your favourite poem and leave the rest. The verses, when read in a series, culminate into a story. There has been something called prose poetry, but it’s altogether a different experience to read an entire poetry collection that hits the reader with a sudden realization towards the end that what they essentially read was a story that began at a certain point and climaxed at a particular stage – genuinely justifying the title.
The experiments and spontaneity don’t end here. One will spot a similar play of representation in her novella “Ashes of Desires”, published later in the same year. This new-age mythological saga revolving around water scarcity and a possible cosmic war takes the form of an epic poem. It brings forth action scenes that seem to be written with utmost joy and thrill. Oscillating between worlds at different times, this is a new-age fantasy that readers would enjoy. Understanding that writing is a process and imagination is a world bigger than any other world, she is reworking on some crucial aspects of this story in her Master’s Program.
Despite acting late in the direction of her passion, Janhavi recognizes storytelling as her companion since the time she was a young kid. Daydreaming, cooking up stories in her mind, enacting dialogues, and building more significant-than-life worlds in her imagination had always been an integral part of her existence.
After a wrong degree in hand and stumbling in the dark for a long, she is finally pursuing her dream of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in writing with her perseverance and indomitable willpower.
Summing with her quote –
“They say, it’s never too late to start. I say it’s never too early to go wrong. Take a decision and watch it lead you to your true nature. All you got to be is authentic.”
Janhavi Bhat is an author and a poet based in Nashik, India. She has done her schooling at Symbiosis School and Civil Engineering at Pune University. Post her graduation, she worked as a freelance journalist for a newspaper.
Her initial writing began through blogs and the online platform Wattpad. Her stories enjoy a massive readership of 63k plus to date.
She published her first English poetry collection, “Alluring Shadows”, on Amazon in October 2018. Her debut Hindi poetry collection, “Safarnama”, was published in November 2019. The same year witnessed the release of her debut Novella “Ashes of Desires” in December.
Versatility is her biggest strength. She has worked as a copywriter at a radio channel. Currently a content strategist at a marketing agency, she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at California College of Arts.
Find her books on Amazon