Peep Into the Life of Shrey Saxena, One of the Most Imaginative Writers on YourQuote
Our writer Mahathi Anand talks to Shrey Saxena, one of the most imaginative writers on YQ, popular by the pen name रहनुमा and unravels his life-story, inspirations and the story behind the pen-name.
Describe yourself in about 250 words. Imagine writing a tiny autobiography.
Hello, I’m Shrey Saxena. I was born in Jaipur, brought up in Bhopal and then moved back to Jaipur. A few years back, I found a song that I still connect to because it describes me the best. If you have listened to Swanand Kirkire’s ‘Baawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna’ someday, that’s me.
I have dreams, many of them, one of which is even to work with YourQuote. I grew up as a child surrounded by mythological stories, historical stories, the short and inspirational stories that used to be published in Bal Bhaskar and a lot of Hindi Comics that you can find at almost every railway station. So, yes I have loved to read since the time I learnt to (as far as I remember). Also, this also adds to how I’m able to carry multiple personalities as I’ve lived those characters in my daydreams and imagination.
I have a huge craze for Cricket (I literally shed a tear when every member of Fab 5 retired and MSD too) and I used to play well during my childhood. I like to play sports, sketch, sing, watch movies, a few English series but I detest Hindi Daily Soaps. Also, I’m a blogger who likes to write on Travel and Adventure.
From a student who was bullied a lot in school but never reacted, to one who got involved in a fist fight on the first day of college (and won :P ) and to one who now knows the better way, I’ve progressed but done every possible mistake. And so that we don’t miss out on it, I’m a Civil Engineer. :P
What changed you from being a shy, bullied boy in school to becoming confident enough to defend yourself in college?
I was always confident. It was only my parents’ lessons of non-violence that used to stop me in school. Once my classmate in school had advised me that once you take a stand for yourself, even if it takes hitting someone for once, do it and they won’t come back after you. And I just implemented it on the very first day of my college life. College life went pretty peaceful after this in these regards. The guy wasn’t from my college though.
Maybe you could give your blog website so people can read it when they find time?
Sure. The link to my blog is www.shreysaxena.com. I’d be happy to read the reviews.
What brought you to writing?
I have read a lot ever since I’ve learnt to read. From nursery rhymes to newspapers or for that matter, even Hanuman Chalisa :P, I’ve been reading it since my K.G. II class. My parents used to monitor what I was reading and whether I was reading correctly and understanding it. That helped, because somehow it ignited a spark in my mind that one day, people should read what I write too. But I could do it for the first time only in my 4th class when I wrote a poem in a competition instead of penning down what I had learnt from home. To others, I had failed in a competition even being a bright student, but to me, I had begun with something I still do, I had started to write :) Later, I won a poem writing competition in my 12th class when I got to know the topic on the spot and I wrote on it. Thereafter, I turned to writing stories too, gradually though.
How did you begin your journey with YourQuote?
On 27th November 2016, one of my acquaintances published his quote on Instagram. It had that picture of a man, woman and a dog on a park chair in the background. Bottom right side had YourQuote.in written on it. I had been searching a platform where I could write and publish such quotes of my own without investing money, since a long time. That’s when I downloaded the app from PlayStore and entered into the YourQuote-ing world. Debashis commented on my first quote and that’s how it all began.
Who influences you and your writing deeply?
I have a habit of reading and it has always helped me. When I read, I visualize what I’m reading. It even involves me playing a certain character as well. Trust me, in my imagination, I’ve played characters from Robert Langdon of Inferno (Anne Hathaway was Dr. Sienna Brooks :P) to Krishna and Arjun in Mahabharat. So, in my imagination, I even used to visualize the emotions they must have been through. You can say that when I read, I enter a whole new dimension of my own. Visualizing all those thoughts and emotions has helped me in whatever I write, whether deep or funny. I’m influenced a lot by my surroundings and the people I know and so are my writings.
What is the most fulfilling thing about writing?
The most fulfilling thing about writing is that it enables me to pen down the words I could never speak and even the tears that could never flow down my eyes.
Do you plan on a career with writing?
I’m open to all options but haven’t thought about that yet.
Is there any story behind your pen name?
To date, I never had a pen name. But today I have finally started using रहनुमा as my pen name. And yes, it does have a story. I’m a guy of unusual choices. I have never taken paths that have been taken by anyone I know in the past and I invent my own way of doing things. During this time, I’ve earned a lot of experience in my life.
So, today I know a lot better roads as compared to a lot of people. No, I’m not ghamandi about it. But I use it to help anyone who needs a bit of help on any issue. As per this description, रहनुमा looked pretty apt.
What hooks you to YourQuote? And how do you think it benefits you?
The Fraternity. YourQuote has built a fraternity that talks writing, eats and breathes writing. So, when I post a quote and someone corrects me or helps me in bettering the post, it benefits me. Also, there are writers on the app who are prolific in certain writing styles and languages that I was never good at. So, by looking at them and having a conversation with them, I try to learn whatever I can. Else, networking always helps.
Not to forget, we have YourQuote Baba with his writing gyaan and now we have Gyaan in multiple languages. The list of benefits goes on.
If there is a novel based on your life, what do you think it must be called?
If there is a novel based on my life, then it must be called “That Humorous Rebirth”. A lot of rebirths happen in a life but life still remains incomplete without Humour.
Which book do you wish you had written?
The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi and now, even The Ramchandra Series.
Could you tell us about a particular incident in life which made you who you are today?
Thank you for this question, Mahathi. This question actually made me introspect a lot. I have spent a day thinking an answer to this question. To answer your question, there is no particular incident. It is a series of incidents in my life that have shaped me. However, if I were to sum it up, I’ve always had situations in my life that the things or people (except my family who have always been a constant and a constant support) I have loved or valued the most, they were either taken away from me or I had to give them up. I’ve seen some terrible financial conditions in my life, I still do and that’s what I’m trying to counter whichever way I can. And it has happened so much that now, a loss or losing to someone doesn’t pain me (I’ve been called selfish, I don’t know why and I’ve been called heartless, emotionless and lot of such things. I don’t know how much of the latter is true, though. It has made me not care about whatever one thinks about me. It’s anyway not my job). It was pretty normal for me to let go of a lot of things I desperately wanted, even since childhood.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t try to compete or give my 100%. I’m the fiercest competitor one can have but still if I lose, it doesn’t bother me.
Another thing that has helped me becoming who I am is incompleteness. When I do something, I put my heart in it and it gives exponential results. But such situations used to arise, always, that I had to leave everything in the middle and I used to hate it. It stopped for a while when I took stand for myself even in the most odd of situations. But then as they say, situations worsen up when you strengthen up.
Even about love, the only girl I proposed to date rejected me. See, even that says a lot :P . And why just one, well I’m hell choosy. :D
What do you think is the most important aspect in a story?
It’s easy to serve a world that practically cannot exist, by exaggerating every single emotion that a human can possibly feel. It converts the story into nothing but a melodramatic Bollywood Masala Movie.
It’s hard to stay real and still serve a gripping story. Since I’m a realist, I think the most important aspect of a story is to keep it real while not losing the grip. You can and should present a different reality like Harry Potter books but even those books didn’t exaggerate. They defined things logically.
Another important thing is a rich vocabulary. I’m not a fan of using highly complex words everywhere but I’m a huge fan of using right words at right place, no matter how simple or usual they are.
Who are your favourite writers on YQ, and why?
On YourQuote, I’ve seen a lot of posts but still missed many. So, the names I’m going to write are purely based on how well I understand their posts. Parag Khara, Sakshi Vashist, Sara Jothi, Prasoon Vyas, Debashis, Kartiki, Abhilekh, Pooja Singh, Prem Kumar Chanda, Bharath Nandibhatla, Mohini, Ayman, Saket, Mayanka Dadu, Shubhi Khare, Shubhi Kapur, Tanisha Rajput, Sakshi Garg, Aishwarya Swarup, Aishwarya (Shourya), Meghana Bose, AMG, Calmkazi, Mahathi, Manish Bansal, Satyam, and Meehika are my favourite and are on notifications.
I’m able to relate to their posts and learn from them which is why they are my favourite. There are two more names who stand out of all. Harsh Snehanshu and Agyani Baba Saurabh, the reasons need not be told because almost everyone knows them already.
I’m humbled by my mention on your list. Any specific kind of writers who you dislike for some reason?
I don’t dislike any writer as a human. However, I do have dislikes regarding the writing style. I don’t like the writing style in which human emotions are over-exaggerated or exaggerated. This generally happens when you read posts or stories that talk about infatuation that happens during the adolescence and sadly they term it as Love. According to me, it spoils the generation in the best possible manner.
You said you write about travel and adventure. What kind of adventure have you experienced in life?
Quite a few. I’ve done White Water River Rafting, Mini-cliff Jumping and a lot others are on the list. Adventures to me are something that I want to do while I have a chance. You never know how fast time flies and you may find yourself sitting in your garden with your wife, drinking green tea and waiting for your laughing club friends to arrive.
There is whole of India to explore and visit. I prefer Backpacking trips and I really don’t refrain from staying even in Dharamshalas or spending a night at the railway station. However, I’m yet to buy a DSLR which could help me add an edge to a lot of things. Let’s see what happens and when.
If there is one thing you’d like to change about your life, what do you think it must be?
I may want to replace Trump or may be assist Modi, haha. No, mostly I’m happy with my life. I like to overcome challenges and difficulties. However, I’d like situations to play a little cool and help me with my plans.
What has been the greatest personal discovery for you?
That I am born with a whole body, a very big and strong heart and an exponentially large liver (Jigar / Jigra) without being diagnosed with Jaundice, haha.
Yeah, I’m a guy who hasn’t really asked for much to be born with and never have I wished to have been born with a silver spoon. So, I thought may be my biggest personal discovery would be my contentment but no, the biggest personal discovery are my dreams which aren’t common to anyone’s and my guts to go after them.
What is your favourite possession? Share a picture and add 3–4 lines.
My favourite possession is my small world which consists of my family and friends. I won’t share any picture of my family (sorry for that) but surely, I’ll share a picture of one of the gifts my friends in Bhopal gave to me when I left that city for good. It’s close to my heart and will always stay so. The pic has only four friends but my actual circle of loyal friends is much bigger than just that. Now, they are scattered all over India and one in overseas.
These photographs are when my first year in college was about to end. I’m the one in red. (first one from the left in the centre pic.)
And finally, thank you Mahathi, for being so patient and considering me for an interview. It has been lovely to interact with you. Best wishes!