Meet Aishwarya Swarup: The Wondrous Poet of YourQuote

Our veteran writer Abhinav Nair caught up with the writer, dancer, engineer and one of the popular poets of YQ, Aishwarya Swarup. In this interesting and engrossing conversation, you get to know the story behind the poems and ultimately, the person behind those wonderful poems that you might have read.

Aishwarya Swarup

Q. To begin with, tell me something about yourself in 250 words. Let me and the world, a peek into the self that you are.

I’m a person who finds home in books, music, writing, qualia and travel. I was exposed to comics by Pran, then to old school classics in my early childhood. Somehow, the one book that fiercely pulled me towards reading was the biography of Muhammad Ali Jinnah–in Hindi. Native of Gorakhpur, I’m a proud Carmelite. I’ve travelled regularly in my life, have experienced cultures, food and people, though it’s never going to be enough. Travel, reading and incessant daydreaming have catalysed my writing ability.

From a stubborn, quite and under confident child to a yet stubborn, confident and curious person, I’m someone who has experienced dramatic upheavals. You’ve caught me at the time when one of the most difficult phases of my life is coming to an end. From suffering a great emotional exhaustion to undergoing a major surgery, this is the first time in two years when I am unemployed for 8 months now. Optimism, and courage helped me emerge stronger, and I leave a touch of all these in my write-ups.

An engineer by profession, I’m looking forward to step into compassionate business. I’m Junior Diploma in Kathak, a pianist, a bibliophile and a wannabe polyglot. Somehow, I’ve always known whether I wanted tea or coffee. That’s how I take decisions. Highly opinionated and starkly honest, I come with a lot of whys and answers to a lot of hows.

Wear the sky, even if it’s thunderous. Make an entrance.

Q. Well, that was quite a lifetime in a jiffy! Emotional exhaustion and a major surgery, that’s a lot to take in, I guess.

A) Let’s call it a period of waxing and waning. I suffered from herniated disc, was unable to walk initially. Post surgery, I was on bed rest for a very long time. I used to be (even now I am) a person with the inability to sit idle. I tried to work from home, but I started having a different set of problems — degenerative disc. This was the first time I was scared. I stopped working. That’s when I signed up on YourQuote. About the emotional exhaustion, let’s say I invested in a lot of things and the ROI wasn’t very good.

Q. I would love to know what/who helped you sail through those turbulent times.

Things that got me going were courage, optimism and the belief that things will keep getting better, evidently amplifying these values in me. I rely on self belief, on the fact that I have a lot awesome things to do, to change, to make people laugh and cry. That light outside the tunnel we all see? That’s what keeps me going.

As for the people in my life, my mother, oh the woman, she held me close and warm. My brother supported me all along like music. My father kept me on check. But I’ll also mention, I was able to tweak the people I was surrounded by, the people who were gold, from those who were potential alloys. I think that happens to all of us at one point or another.

Q. There’s a lot to learn from you, for sure! What got you started with writing?

A) I was 15 and I think it was 8th standard when I read the story — The Portrait of a Lady, by Khushwant Singh. The personifications he used had me awestruck. That’s when I tried my hands on personifications and wrote my first poem. It was about my school friends. Good old times!

I used a lot of ellipsis for the first few years when I started writing, but the way I wrote changed again when I read the poems like If, Kubla Khan, etc. Later I started being more local (diction, situation and gesture wise) in my writing to make it more relatable. Thanks to my friends who made this suggestion.

Q. Who all have touched your life, from the world of literature?

A) Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Bulleh Shah, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and many more names, anonymous write ups, quotes. And oh, songs!

Q. Yeah, songs do have an intimate relation with most writers? What genre do you prefer?

A) I can tell you what I don’t like. Metal. I have personal favourites in almost all genres.

Q. If given an option on a bad day, would you choose a book or a song to get back your poise?

A) On a bad day, I’ll say, I look for familiar books and songs. Nothing new. It may annoy me potentially.

Q. Personally, I really love the way you play with words in your quotes or poetry. Who/what is your muse?

A) Thank you (: Muse. Inspiration is varied, it’ll be unfair to name one thing/person. Extremes of feelings — undying love, ire, courage, sacrifice get me going. Society, animals, the sweet little things, war, sufferings, words by great men, people I love, it’s a potpourri of all this. I’ll share a few poems/words that help me be.

‘If’ , by Ruyard Kipling -

“If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss”

Meet me on the equinox — a song that I love!

“Meet me on the Equinox

Meet me half way

When the sun is perched at it’s highest peek

In the middle of the day

Let me give my love to you

Let me take your hand

And as we walk in the dimming light

Oh darling understand

That everything, everything ends”

And of course,

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” — by Dylan Thomas.

Q. Well, why do you write?

A) The best things that happen, happen without any reason. So is writing for me. It’s as if, every now and then I’m struck by lightning and in that moment, I write.

Q. What is it that you love about YourQuote? How different do you feel it is, when compared to other writing platforms?

A) Though I started using YourQuote in the first place because it was Harsh’s brainchild, YourQuote turned out to be an app finding place on the first screen of my application page. It is interactive, modular, very easy to use, has the right links placed at the right places, the team catalysing the flow amongst the writers is doing amazing, has mimed the best features from the most desirable applications we already use. The best part is they are improvising everyday and are community centric, glorifying a person’s ability to write more than their face and their ability to socialise. The perfect app for introverts, extroverts, ambiverts. I am one of the many people who are hopeful about YourQuote making it big. Kudos to the team. Godspeed.

Q. I share the same wishes! Now, could I know as to who are your favourite writers on YourQuote?

A) It happens so, that you were my first favourite on YQ. I have some of your quotes saved. I’m glad you’re the one interviewing me. (: Prasoon Vyas brings a blend of everything around, it’s all so real! Anubhav Srivastava for the beautiful oblivion that he creates. Maha Devan, Percy Bharucha, Yathartha Chaturvedi, Yash Raj Goswami, Mahathi Anand, Ayman Jamal — the woman’s opinion are profoundly put. Harsh Snehanshu — how easily he makes the little things beautiful. Mohini Dhankar, Pavan Tarawade, Manish Kumar Jha, Praveen Singh, Sai Manohar, Akshata Mishra, Kajal Puri and so on!

I’m sure I’m missing out on amazing work by so many other writers. I try to look for them every day.

Q. Well, it’s humbling to know that I was your first favourite. Thank you! And yeah, you’ve got some gems out there. So Aishwarya, what are your hobbies?

A) Hobbies. Hmm…I love to read, write and travel. I’ve started to enjoy cooking, not that I’m awesome, but I always try to be. I learnt to ride bike in 2015. And I’m dying to get my hands on the machine since. Not that I’m any good, but I definitely enjoyed it the few times I rode it on the roads of Ghaziabad and Chennai. The control was new to me. I love to try new things, be it food, places, sports, adventure sports, etc. Though I have to shun my dreams of bungee jumping because of my condition. But I’m still in for parasailing! I enjoy solving Sudoku puzzles and playing chess. Having said that, I look forward to things that get me thinking.

Q. Wow! How come Kathak? I mean, it really stands out!

A) It started as an extra curricular. I was chubby as a child, and the dance moves were not very visible. I loved dancing, you know one of those things that lift your spirits? It was that to me. Once, I wasn’t selected for a school dance performance and I cried. Haha, that’s when I knew how ardently I wanted to be good at it. So, I kept learning dance — Kathak.

Later, I was working for Infosys when I got the opportunity to learn Cuban Salsa. The feeling of satisfaction was found then, in learning and in dance. Though I had to leave the classes on a very early stage.

I can say, dance happened to me. It’s one of those things that I do only for myself and my inner Chee.

Q. What’s with the “compassionate business”, that you mentioned?

A) I want my work to make change and profits, not only in monetary terms, but also in societal terms. As said in Sherlock (the tele series), “Love is a much more vicious motivator.” So is compassion. There must be people there willing to take collective responsibility and bringing out the changes that would create better, stable and happier tomorrow. I would want to stop that time from coming when photographers and war correspondents would be awarded for capturing melancholy of ecological refugees. The worst thing we can face.

Q. Hmmm, I hope to see that happen in my Lifetime. Any anecdote from your life, when a perceived wrong choice, ended up being advantageous?

A) I chose Trivandrum as my workplace after I completed the training in my previous firm. I thought it to be a wrong decision back then. But, I couldn’t have been more wrong! The place grew on me. I could see the sea from my balcony. The Google weather reports showed “thunderstorm” as the condition very often and I was more than happy that I could listen to the thunderstorms, feel it in the air and witness it in the sea. The people I met were amazingly helpful and friendly. I met a guy in Trivandrum who worked at the billing counter in a mart near my house. He was the only Hindi speaking guy and belonged to Bengal.

Once, we got into talking and he told me he was living in Kerala to learn music and the job helped him earn. I was amazed! There, I witnessed passion and fire living inside people. I miss the sea, I miss the travel, the air and the complete experience! I’ve lived in four states in the past two years and I’m very happy about it.

Q. God’s own country it is! You’re an interesting person Aishwarya, and with a jolly good load of Life experience already. What would you name your autobiography?

A) Interesting? I hope so! I have a few stories, so does everyone else ☺

There won’t be any autobiography Abhinav, as I’m very bad when it comes to preciseness. Though I’d want my life to be inspiring enough to be written about.

Q. It already is, I guess. God speed to you too! Coming to my last question, what’s your favourite possession which you feel defines you?

A) The books that I own are very dear to me. Books are portkeys to another world, to a new dimension of thinking. They won’t define me, but they’ll definitely reveal my current concerns and interests. 
I’ll share a picture of the books that I’m currently living on.

Here are some of Aishwarya’s best poems. Hope you like them as much as we do.

Be amazed to read more of her writings: