An interview with: Meraaqi – Pseudonym of Arshiyaa Taj Khan, author of Divine Trouble
Arshiyaa Taj Khan, also known as Meraaqi is a poetess based in Mumbai, India. Inspired by the immortality of words, she started writing at the age of fourteen.
Arshiyaa is the author of Divine Trouble, her debut poetry book, and she intends to write many, many more.
Please describe your book in one sentence.
It is the liberation of everything I had imprisoned within me.
Tell us in brief, what led up to this book?
An intensely severe existential crisis.
What poets do you admire?
The Art of acknowledging how one truly feels is no less than Poetry. To me, every individual who can honestly and unapologetically express himself (or herself) is a poet; and I admire this kind of uninhibited expression, no matter who it comes from.
What’s your thought process behind a poem?
There is no thought. I only note down the words narrated by some alien inner voice that actually seems to be mine. In my opinion, the forced act of trying to think ruins the rawness I prefer in poetry.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Perhaps, the freedom that comes with it. It takes courage to write truthfully, but it is rewarding in ways that go beyond money. I enjoy the simplicity and significance of it. After all, it is only paper and pen; but the undying power of what can be done with them is thoroughly intoxicating.
Do you have an agent?
Not yet, but I would like to have one someday. The business aspect of being a writer is quite a challenge for me. I believe I am not made for corporations and numbers; I am made for aesthetics and words.
What inspires you to write?
I am almost always inspired. I know no other way.
How did you find your style? Has it changed over time?
Style is out of question, considering I am yet to find myself.
Do you have days when writing is a struggle?
Not really. I believe one mustn’t try too hard. For me, writing is never a struggle. Not writing is.
What are you reading currently? Are there any authors who have influenced your work?
I read several books at once. Most of them are related to poetry, physics, philosophy, psychology and astronomy. Many authors have influenced me but not my work. It is important to love the ones who inspire you without necessarily becoming them.
What are your favorite books to give and get as gifts?
If I answer this, I will have an entire book titled ‘Favourite Books to Give and Get as Gifts’. Instead of naming a few, I would like to suggest the kind of books that I’d absolutely love to give and receive – they should be life changing. They should question your beliefs and appeal to all the possibilities in you. They should reward you with an enhanced perspective and resurrect the enthusiasm often destroyed by adulthood. They should be different and unforgettable. They should be powerful enough to eternally claim a part of your memory.
And finally, they should be anything but mediocre. It is better to be outrageous than ordinary.
People often ask me for book recommendations but I always urge them to read only what they are instinctively drawn to. For when you choose to read someone, you allow that person to get inside your mind, and only you must have the privilege to decide who is worthy.
Hardest thing about being a writer?
It’s a lonely profession.
Best piece of writing advice?
Don’t try to write. Just write.
Your advice to aspiring poets/writers?
You are already who you wish to be, just make peace with all the thoughts in your head that tell you otherwise.
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