Meet Praveen Singh aka अनुनाद: The Potter Poet of YQ

There is elegance in simplicity and experience presents it the best. Our writer Ayena Makkar Girdhar caught up with one of our beloved potters and poets — Praveen Singh, and got to know how he shapes his life and words.

Praveen Singh

1. Hello Praveen ji. Thank you for taking out time to do this interview with us. To start on, we’d like to know you more, see your world through your eyes.

Everyone lives to become a superhero for someone; we all live that dream with all human mediocrity.

I was born in Chitrakoot, a sleepy town that gets an important mention in Ramayana. I was third in four siblings and I had privilege to grow up with three sisters that exposed me to a completely different perspective of human emotion and expanded my horizon.

My parents were the first generation that moved from the village. I have seen my parents balancing the resources among us and the larger family like a juggler treading a thin rope. I have never seen a more selfless devoted set of people as my parents are. They ensured that in whatever limitation, the lack of resources was never apparent to us. It was a bit difficult time but we were in it together and sailed through holding hands.

Our Mama Ji stayed with us for his education and he was like an elder brother for us. He was particularly very appreciative and encouraging. Among all the influences I could recollect on my personality, he is likely the most prominent one and he still is. He was the biggest influence on our taste of literature and music.

I used to read a lot those days and since I did not had a lot of friends, writing became a media for me to vent out. I still have a notebook with my poems that I wrote in my teens and I am quite proud of how I used to write.

I was a very average student throughout my studies and I always thought that I could compensate for that through extracurricular activities to gain attention and interest. That thought was likely the best thing happened to me. I focused on learning every new thing that came along. I could never master any of them either but I developed a lot of skills. I loved to draw and to the extent that it also decided what courses I wanted to take and what stream of education I would pursue. When I was in ninth standard, I participated in a theatre workshop and I was liked so much in the roles I played that I became part of a theatre group as well. For a couple of years my dream was to be a theatre artist when I grow up.

I always had a strong passion for photography. I use to look at things with an imaginary frame around them. A camera was the first thing that I saved for when I got into a job. Since then I have been upgrading my camera gear and love it more than any other possession of mine.

Recently, I have started stealing time to explore my passion for pottery which is like finding a long lost love and one that takes up all your time and energy for a while.

During my MBA, I met a girl who for the first time reciprocated my feelings (after a long list of crushes and typical middle class one sided affairs). We became the best mates in college but it took us eternity to realize that we should marry, and finally when it did, we got married. That one decision has turned out to be the best date for me to date.

Last year, we were blessed with our son, Prithvi. He has made our lives overwhelmingly busy and ridiculously happening. He is like an interactive toy that keeps the whole family occupied all the time. But looking in retrospection now, I feel that we got lucky with kind of people we met and the opportunities that came by. I am extremely thankful to whatever I have got and am willing to give it back to people.

So even if not the most powerful one, I am a superhero with all my mediocrity.

2. So you say, living amongst 3 sisters changed your perspective towards life. Share some anecdotes on the same.

I share a very special bond with my sisters and mother and they have been my teachers in the truest sense. It was challenging for girls to grow up in a tier 3 city of 25–30 years ago. It was restrictive, prohibitive and compromising on a lot of fronts. Seeing that while growing up changed my perspective towards a lot of things including how girls think and why society behaves the way it does etc. That feeling has made me increasingly appreciative of girls’ courage and compassion and even reluctance to certain things.

3. How did you get to know about YourQuote? What changes has it brought to your life?

Aishwarya Swarup, one of the finest writers here who is my sister, introduced me to YourQuote. I used to write as a teen, but never shared with anyone, especially on public forum. Getting on YQ was like getting back that pen. Now, I consistently keep saving my brainwaves in some notepad only to come back later and refine. YQ has changed my approach towards writing completely. It not only provides a platform to express but an equal opportunity to learn, collaborate and appreciate.

4. Sketching, theatre, pottery and writing. That’s quite a handful of artistic interests. Which one is closer to your heart and why?

All of them have been around in some form and have defined my existence in some crucial aspect. Due to my job now, I am not able to keep up with all my vocations, but still they come to rescue when I need them the most. Right now whatever time I get, I spend in improving my skills at pottery. It’s like a lost love came back to me, so just want to grab it. I think life gives second chances only by accidents.

5. How seriously do you take writing? What muses you to write?

I am not a very prompt writer, neither a very organized one. I usually write in distress which is when I feel an urgency to vent.
I love interacting with people and observing my surroundings. It is interesting to note how everyone carries a unique story so different yet so familiar. I write mostly about the #silentalks #selftalk which are my version of the unexpressed thoughts from the unfinished communications between people who barely know each other. So, it’s the people and places whom I muse most.

6. Do you read a lot? Tell us about your favorites.

I am a very impatient reader. Very few things interest me; I have never finished even a single book in my life so far (including text books). I have never read any fiction so far. People in my life have been the storytellers. However, I do read hindi poets often, in a very unorganized way. From whatever little I have read Manto, Agyey and Ali Sardar Jafri sahab are my favorites, and never forget Gulzar of course.

7. Do you find a shade of your upbringing in your writings?

I carry my home and good memories of my childhood along with me. My nostalgia is my patronus charm (you will get the reference if you are a harry potter fan). Most of my writings are a figment of my imaginations grown on these memories.

8. Who are your favorites on YourQuote?

I keep bumping into new amazing writers every other day on YQ, I don’t follow them instantaneously, but I read them in sequence, if what they write resonates with me I follow them. There are some who inspire me to write and have improved my writing significantly by either helping me with feedbacks or by setting really inspiring benchmarks, that includes you of course!
Some of them in no particular order are- Aishwarya Swarup, Prasoon Bhai, Saket Garg, Manish Kumar Jha, Harsh Snehanshu, Bhavesh Bhargava, Srishti Garg, Piyush Mishra, Vibhor Shukla, Baabusha Kohli, Mayank Dadu, Abhilekh Bhai, Anshuman Saxena, Mohini Dhankhar, Praveen Pandey, Tanmay J. Mishra, Anil Ameta Ji, Ashish Awasthi, Deeksha Ji, Garima Singh, Rya Ray and Rohit Panjwani but this is such an abbreviated list that doesn’t even cover 10% of my favorite list.

9. What’s the one piece of advice you’d want the fellow writers to follow in life?

Well I don’t qualify to give life lessons to others, neither am I good enough to advice others on writing. However I could offer a few observations from my interactions on YQ. I think writing is very personal and people should try to be original. Being inspired is one thing, but when I see increasing number of plagiarized posts, it breaks my heart.
Apart from this I wish people to be more helpful to other writers and be respectful in their tone and feedback. Writers are specifically very emotional, we need to be cognizant of this.
Exchange smiles with strangers- stop on some random profile and try to learn from them/help them respectfully.

10. If ever written, what would you name your autobiography?

A: Although I don’t see a biography in offing but if ever written, it may be named “Syah Paron ke Khwab” (Dreams of the Dark Wings) and that will mainly capture how a few kids wished for things for which they didn’t have resources and how everyone came together to make it a reality for them in the end. What I could promise is that instead of being a very preachy, it will be a very optimistic read.

11. It’s really intriguing to see a brain doing medicine and then following art so passionately. Have you ever regretted or wished to change your choice of career?

A: I wanted to become a doctor, but later, had to pursue pharmaceutical sciences. As a student, my favorite subject was Pharmacology (the science that studies what drug does to your body and what your body does to the drug). However, I ended up making a career in business development and marketing. I think job is a means to sustain passion and the passion fuels your ambition in career. We need to put effort to restore this circular loop of passion.
I have come far from where I started and I have no regrets on decisions I took or things I could not achieve.

12. What changes has parenthood brought to your life?

Prithvi celebrated his first birthday just a few weeks ago, he is a super charged kid and keeps all of us on toes all the time. The change after parenthood is that me and Priya have lost our “Me Time” completely but never the less we are enjoying every single moment of our “Us Time”.

13. Do you feel you missed out on not having a huge friend circle early on in life? How important according to you is it for an individual?

As kids, we were a complete world within the circle of siblings and a few neighbors and I don’t think anyone needs a huge circle of friends anyway. I have only a handful of friends from college and previous jobs but then they are always there to watch my back.

14. Any regrets from what life has offered you? Anything you really wish could’ve dawned differently?

Life has always given in bountiful when and what was most appropriate at the time. I am always thankful to the kind of people we met and the kind of opportunities followed through. Maybe, things would have been different but that would have resulted into a different “me” too. Everyone has a couple of nicks and bruises, but when I see in the broader schema of life, they are like dark specks on canvas that only complete the picture to perfection.

15. That is a really brilliant thought. Tell us about a priceless possession you never wish to lose.

I don’t think I love any object so much that I would break if I lost it. The only thing that I would pray to have around me forever is Priya, my wife. She is the best I have, only she has seen the worst of me.

Ayena: Thank you Praveen ji, for taking out time from your busy schedule and having this wonderful conversation. It was really lovely to have a peep into your life which has so many dimensions hidden. Wish you the best of future.

Follow Praveen Singh’s writings here:

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