#SnakesInTheMeadows has been authored by Ayaz Kohli. There’s a story, a background behind this impactful and soul shuddering tale, some experienced and some collected from the tormented souls of those fateful days in the Paradise of Earth.
1. Introduce yourself for your readers.
I am Ayaz Kohli – an author by passion and a Civil Servant by profession. Snakes in the Meadows is my debut novel.
2. What/Who inspired you to write this book?
Many circumstances and persons, including my father who himself is an author of the vernacular. Primarily this book is inspired from some actual happenings in Pir Panjal region of J&K. In particular, the plight of one remote village and, of course, its resilience inspired me immensely to write this book.
3. How did it feel to write about your own district, the place you were born ?
It was like reliving the same story, again and again. While writing it, I experienced a medley of emotions- joy, nostalgia and, at times, deep pangs of helplessness over certain things that can’t be fixed.
4. Jammu and Kashmir has always been in a state of conflict, so illuminate your readers about your childhood days.
Snakes in the Meadows juxtaposes the peace time with the conflict laden one. When we were kids, our parents would, occasionally, narrate to us the horrible tales born out of Indo-Pak partition. Back then it felt like the apocalypse had already happened and we should have been thankful and sympathetic to our forefathers for having endured that dread. No one knew that another dread was in the waiting, ready to unleash itself, not just to be narrated but to be lived.
5. How has been your journey as a writer?
It has been one long and arduous journey. It took me a decade to write this book, and another couple of years to get it published. But, now, considering the accolades that my work is getting, I feel that those years and efforts were well invested. The response my book is getting is tremendous. I feel elated.
6. Which is your favorite character from your book and which character was the most difficult one to portray?
I have worked hard, to the best of my capabilities, to develop the characters of my book. Each of them represents a unique identity and idea. There are no personal favourites, but if I have to name one, it would be Ashwar. It’s her rousing words that resonate through the book, “Someone will tell a better story of how you died rather than you telling your children how you lived.” And that ‘someone’ is me. That’s how I find myself as an unmentioned character in the book.
7. Any message for your readers?
Many messages, indeed! For now, all of them are in my book – Snakes in the Meadows. Read them all, write back to me and stay in touch.
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