Saturday, 29 March 2014

"I like to preserve myself" - Rajeshwari Chauhan in conversation with Vanya's Notebook...

Today, as I am all set to interview the authoress of the much awaited book Daniel’s Diary, here is a sneak peek to what actually is Rajeshwari Chauhan. We can describe her as a freelance writer, artist, and teacher who loves to create realistic paintings on canvas as well as doing wall paintings; she has also contributed as a script and content writer for many creative and promotional literature, short movies, and plays. “History brings tremendous joy in our existence...” says the writer. So, here I present to you a chit-chat with whom her near and dear ones call the Pied-piper...........

Vanya’s Notebook: Before stepping in to the how’s, when’s, why’s and where’s of you and the book, let me welcome you to the Literary world. With this note, I would like to know your feelings. I mean, all your readers or ‘fans’ to be precise are dying to know, how you are feeling, now that you are the author of a book?

Rajeshwari— Thank you, Sharanya. It feels simply great... like all my efforts have paid off as the book is well received.

Vanya’s Notebook: Now that the book is in your hands and is getting such a wonderful response, I would like to ask you, why did you choose this specific genre to write in?

Rajeshwari— I wanted the story to oscillate between past and present, fact and fiction, ecstasy and agony, history and mystery; a kind of a double delight – like a fruit that offers succulent pulp, and also a seed that contains an edible nut; a story that has soft as well as crunchy episodes.

Vanya’s Notebook: Statistically keeping in mind the readership market these days, weren’t you scared of how the readers would accept your work, it will work or not, etc?

Rajeshwari— It was pure passion that drove me to write it. Of course, as you said, the statistics of readership market is of valid concern, but, at the same time, as a writer I did my best to perform my part.

According to the back cover- When Mrinalini, an art restoration expert, ventures into the ruins of Rang Mahal and the Palace of Sumangarh, an accidental discovery of a skeleton and a manuscript detailing the exploits of Daniel, a Portuguese artist, opens a window to the forgotten era of grace and grandeur. The blossoming of love between a Moghul Emperor and a Rajput princess, is seen through the eyes of a foreign traveller, who himself falls in love with the Rajput Princess. The plot revolves around Daniel’s quest for beauty and passion, the ecstasy and agony of love. He meets the famous courtesan Mahamaya only to lose her. It also draws a modern day parallel in the life of Mrinalini, a woman who seeks refuge in artistic pursuits and architectural ruins when relationships in life confuse her. Will she be able to decode the clues left behind by Daniel? Will the curse of centuries-old unfulfilled love break into a happy ending for Mrinalini?

Vanya’s Notebook: After reading your book and talking to you, I have learnt that you are very much similar to one of the protagonists of your novel, Mrinalini, to be precise. Was the character of Mrinalini etched to represent you to the world?

Rajeshwari— Bits of your life are bound to creep in when you write a novel. Yes, I have similarities with Mrinalini; and, they are not few in numbers, but still, Mrinalini neither represents me, nor is she my alter ego.

Vanya’s Notebook: Your novel has two parallel tracks running at the same time, the modern era and a time that is roughly around 4 centuries back- Which era was more difficult to write on?

Rajeshwari— As such, none of them was difficult, but not that easy at the same time. Historical era dealt with certain facts, so that narrowed the frame down, and received a sharp focus; whereas, in the modern era, there were many possibilities, and it could be chaotic with your imagination going haywire.

Vanya’s Notebook: I had read somewhere that if given a chance you would like to transfer yourself to 300BC or to the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya rule to be precise, then why did you choose to write on the Moghul Dynasty or Akbar’s rule rather than writing on the Maurya Dynasty?

Rajeshwari— I was fascinated by the secular union of Muslim king and Hindu princess. The Indo-Islamic synthesis rippled along various fields, like culture, cuisine, art, music, architecture, literature, and language, to name a few. I hope, I am able to capture at least a spark of that volcanic fire of Akbar’s personality. He was like an entire Sivakasi firecracker factory on fire!
As far as 300 BC is concerned, I am obsessed and working frantically on it. But, since it required greater research, I dealt with Mughal era to start with.

Vanya’s Notebook: You had also mentioned that you would’ve loved to be Megasthanese’s niece and write an account of the life of people living in royal chambers, so, with that statement of yours, can we presume it to be the topic of your next book?

Rajeshwari— Yes…though it is in its embryonic stage, I am as delightful as a child with Kaleidoscope about it.

Vanya’s Notebook: Who do you owe your success to? I mean, name one person who is the strongest and the most vital reason of you being at this stage.

Rajeshwari— As mentioned in the acknowledgements of Daniel’s Diary, there are number of people to whom I owe for this literary trip; but, if I have to name one person, then that person has to be my mother, Nalinidevi, who initiated reading and painting habits in me. She is a disciple of Somalal C. Shah, renowned artist and student of Abanindranath Tagore of Oriental Art Society, Calcutta. My mother’s stories and anecdotes would keep us spellbound. Few years back, she took us to see her school and hostel in Bhavnagar, and, I knew everything by the back of my hand, each painting, each hall, because I had seen everything in my mind’s eye while listening to her vivid description

Vanya’s Notebook: Describe one incident in your life which ignited the love for History in you for the first time.

Rajeshwari— My mother and father had their separate libraries. Mamma allowed us to use her books, but, papa was strict, and kids were not allowed in his library; so, secretly, I would turn the key, tiptoe inside, and pull out a book - one at a time. He had studied world history, and had lovely collection of biographies and political essays.
 Once I had picked this book of Russian ‘Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra’. It had lovely pictures and footnotes. Hearing someone approaching, I hid under the recliner and read about their tragedy with tears rolling down my eyes. I even scratched the picture of Rasputin, and made a hole where his face was.

Vanya’s Notebook: Prioritize and state the reason why? - Fame, Money, Family, Yourself, History

Rajeshwari— Family first, as they give us the sense of belonging.
Second I would place myself, because I am the center around which my world revolves.
Third, history, as it brings tremendous joy in our existence.
Money would come next, because it buys comforts, and my hobby material. It allows me to be more generous.
Fame is the last on the list, as it dilutes you; and, I like to preserve myself.

Vanya’s Notebook: To the most tricky question of the questionnaire, owing to the fact that you are not much into socialising, I, on behalf of your fan-base would like to ask you- who/what actually is Rajeshwari Chauhan?

Rajeshwari— I am happiest when I am reading on a swing or a hammock in my garden. A birdbath there is a visual treat as many species of birds love to visit it. This is the place where my imaginations get manifested – either on canvass, or on a notebook, i.e. painting and writing.
My near and dear ones call me pied-piper, as I love to be with my students, and there is always something new round the corner; be it studies, games, projects, plays, funfair, tree plantation, animal care, short film making, quiz, or something or the other.

Vanya’s Notebook: Hope, I didn’t bore you much with my questions. For the parting note, I would like to request you to leave a few words for our blog and of course for your readers.

Rajeshwari— Oh no! It was absolutely delightful. Thank you so very much for giving me this opportunity.
Your blog, ‘Vanya’s Notebook’ is a wonderful initiative where you are not only providing an opportunity to the writers to get their work neutrally evaluated, but also an important platform to let their readers know about their creative process.  
To my readers…what I can say, “I am grateful to you for your wonderful response to Daniel’s Diary. I hope, I will keep on fulfilling your expectations for times to come.”

Hope you liked interacting with Vanya’s Notebook throughout the interview. Wishing you loads of success for Daniel’s Diary and more to come.

“Thank you so much, Vanya for this interesting and meaningful interaction. My best wishes to you and your entire team for all your present and future literary ventures.”
Talking to the Royal blood of Chhota Udepur- Rajeshwari Chauhan; has been bliss for Vanya’s Notebook. We feel really honored to have been able to talk to such a wonderful talent of this Literary world and also to share her message to her readers.


  1. Very nice interview, Sharanya! Very well written!

    1. Thanks a tonne Suyash..!! Do share! :-)

  2. Thank you so very much, Sharanya... :)

    1. Anytime Rajeshwari... Waiting for more books from you...!! :-) Keep writing...

  3. wow, this book sounds like a must read! loved the interview, too.

    1. :-) thank u.. The book is a must read though, u can find the review too in my blog!