Life is simply wonderful: Rajender Krishan Chowdhry

Raj Chowdhry
I wander a lot. Do you? If you do, then follow me and let me also follow you. Following each other we may discover what has been a stroll so far. Life is simply wonderful.” - Rajender Krishan Chowdhry
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Born in 1951, Rajender Krishan Chowdhry AKA Raj Chowdhry is a famous poet and the founder and editor of Boloji, a platform that has been shared by hundreds of writers - poets, journalists, novelists, critics and artists since 1999. Graduated from Delhi University, he developed interest in literature and cinema in his teens. He migrated to USA in 1989 where he started Boloji. He is passionate about Poetry, Photography and Visual Art.  He is an admirer of Kabir Das, famous Indian mystic poet and saint from 15th-century. Setu has proudly published a few of his bestseller books, namely Amma's Gospel, Solitude, Wanderer, and the Photo Essays, all available on Amazon sites worldwide.

Anurag Sharma in conversation with author Rajender Krishan


Anurag: Welcome to Setu Raj ji. How long have you been writing?

Rajender Krishan: Ever since I learnt to write. I got the ‘The Complete Works of Vivekananda’ as a gift on my 18th birthday. I wrote Yellow Leaf after finishing Vivekananda. Yellow Leaf was published in Motherland in Delhi where I was published for quite some time afterwards.

Anurag Sharma

Anurag:
May I ask you to read it?

Rajender Krishan: Sure, here comes ‘The Yellow Leaf’

Here I am,
resting in the grave,
waiting for the pariah
to make me free
from the burden
of wreaths
when you have gone

This emotion of
exhibitionist rituals
is callous, absurd!
Why kill more lives
to decorate the dead?

Recall the exotic aroma
of the beautiful flowers
as they always exalted
your erotic fragrance
when we walked together
agreeably, arm in arm.


Anurag: Deep spirituality for a teenager.... Is that the core of your poetry? What do you write mainly?

Rajender Krishan: Whatever triggers my mind.  Predominantly spontaneous poems and essays on Kabir verses.


Anurag: What makes you write?

Rajender Krishan: A thought, an issue or an event that fascinates or even bothers me.


Anurag: Do you edit a lot before publishing your work?

Rajender Krishan: Seldom.


Anurag: How many poems have you written so far?

Rajender Krishan: Over 200


Anurag: Are you a full-time writer? How do you get time to write?

Rajender Krishan: No, I am not a full-time writer. But one finds time for anything that one loves to do.


Anurag: Do you face writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Rajender Krishan: I am not a writer per se, so question of writer's block does not arise.
Writing is just a biproduct of expressing my thoughts.
Not entangled in - Sequence, Interface, etc. like an author


Anurag: Why poetry, why not fiction, or nonfiction for that matter –

Rajender Krishan: My poems are spontaneous thoughts. To write other stuff, one needs to think, plan, research, create, fabricate, and so on ... and that's not my cup of tea.


     

I blog, I wrote articles, on environment, deforestation, desertification of Delhi, on issues such as Nirbhaya. First page on Boloji – Jay Jagadish Hare, on Mantras, parenting, film reviews, and a few more … My poems are my stories… Life wants to express itself, as part of evolution, growth…, Expression could come in various forms – art, dance, literature, even humming, looking around and enjoying the beauty of nature.

We are taught a lot of things in school and follow that in our lives -acceptance, rejection, learning … everything starts as part of our schooling.

The turning point of life is when you want to unlearn the garbage. All forces of Geeta are within you – the first shloka starts with the question that opens your eyes - Dhritrashtra is the seeker who is asking –
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः, मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय

After assembling at Kuruksetra, being desirous to fight, what did my sons and the Pandavas actually do?

As Rajiv Gandhi once said, “It’s just a matter of chance, that I was not born during Indian freedom struggle”, many things are not decided, or controlled by us. Vivekananda also said that we are all bound by time, space, and causation.

Japuji sahib and other spiritual messages are describing the fundamentals. The story around the message is just the medium. Shabd ke saath roop juda hai, (the word has a form). The root of Shabd, Naad, or sound is Om, that can’t be nishabd, or silent even though we can’t explain it.


Anurag: How is social media influencing authors?

Rajender Krishan: I am not on social media as it is known by FB, Twitter, Instagram, et al. I quit those platforms years ago. So, no comments.


Anurag: What was the best time of your life?

Rajender Krishan: From my birth until now.


Anurag: OK, let me rephrase the question - What was the best time of your life as an author?

Rajender Krishan: In the sense that you ask, then 2020.


     


Anurag: Tell us something about Boloji.com.

Rajender Krishan: Boloji.com was started in 1999 to offer a platform to both amateur and professional writers to share their content.


Anurag: Any happy memories about Boloji that you want to share with Setu readers?

Rajender Krishan: All memories about Boloji are happy. Several well-known professional writers contributed, many newcomers joined to eventually start their own sites and quite a few people found a new direction /purpose to their individual lives as Boloji helped them open up and discover their potential and hidden talent by virtue of their exposure to different kind of topics and styles of writings on Boloji.


Anurag: Anything that you consider as a mistake, or a bad experience in this process?

Rajender Krishan: Not a mistake, but a few difficulties here and there. I personally am not from either the literary field or with a technological background.  Thus, I had to go through several hurdles that took a lot of my personal time.


Anurag: Tell us something about the books you have published.

Rajender Krishan: Mr. PCK Prem who is a well-known and celebrated literary figure, is to be credited for encouraging me to publish my first book “Solitude and Other Poems” a collection of 60 poems, as he felt that these were different and unique. Solitude got published in 2013.  And as it was perhaps meant to be, I did not write anything from 2013 to June 2020 – a little over seven years. So much for my being a writer!

The jinx broke in June 2020, when the death of my colleague and other traumatic news caused by the pandemic trigged and acted as a catalyst, and I penned an essay on Kabir’s couplet – “Jis Marney Te Jag Darey, Mere Man Anand -  That Death the World is Terrified Of”, followed by a poem Leela.  These both pages worked as a therapeutic response.

A little more contemplation and finally as has been my wont, I invoked my Grandma with a simple question as to how she would have dealt with a situation like this.  And the “discourse” began. The words started flowing and I started writing. Or, put it this way, I started “listening” to Amma, and what I heard, deciphered, decoded and understood, got articulated into first Amma’s Gospel - a collection of 45 poems (published October 2020) and then Wanderer – a collection of 100 poems (published January 2021).

This encouraged me to publish my collection of Photo Essays – also published in January 2021.


Anurag: How did you meet PCK Prem ji?

Rajender Krishan: I met him through Boloji.com


Anurag: Many people say that the time of the book is over. Your thoughts?

Rajender Krishan: The idea of the Book is essential to human civilization It is continuing to stay, so long as the man continues to express himself. I


Anurag: What makes Amma’s Gospel a bestseller. How come 900 copies of this book were sold within weeks?

Rajender Krishan: I suppose it is because everyone relates to mother.


Anurag: I’ve learned that Amma’s Gospel is going to set some record as one of the most translated books? Tell us complete story.

Rajender Krishan: Some noble and learned souls they are, who are academics, agreed to share Amma’s Gospel in their respective languages. So far, the book has been translated into Tamil by Dr. Barathi Srinivasan and into Maltese by Patrick J. Sammut who is an educationist in Malta.  While Tamil version is already published, the Maltese version is in the press.  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli VB a well-known figure in the Indian literary world, who has translated it into Telugu.  It will go to the press sometime by end March 2021.  Work is in progress for translation in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam and Bengali as well by different celebrated academics / poets.


Anurag: Wow, getting translated in seven languages - that a great honor for Amma’s Gospel. What about your latest book Wanderer? How did it get its title? Anything special?

Rajender Krishan: Wanderer reflects the person that I am. However, the book Wanderer is nothing but an extension of Amma’s Gospel with some of my personal experiences and observations in between.


Anurag: Your books are well-written and appreciated. But those are well illustrated too. Each poem has an equally impressive artwork attached. Tell us something about this idea of associating art with literature.

Rajender Krishan: I am not a writer per se. My writings are observations and spontaneous responses to situations. As illustrators, both Simi Nallaseth, who illustrated Solitude and Niloufer Wadia who has illustrated Amma’s Gospel and Wanderer, did a wonderful job by giving an impeccable artistic interpretation, thus adding life to the written words.


Anurag: Tell us something more about them.

Rajender Krishan: Sure, Simi Nallaseth is a filmmaker who lives in Mumbai with her husband, her two sons and her mother.  Simi has animated for Ice Age I. In New York and India, she has designed, directed and animated for several advertising films, shorts, station ids and music videos. Her works have been screened at several international animation festivals. Simi has been a part of my poetic journey since 1999 when I first started translating Kabir verses on Boloji.com.

Niloufer Wadia from Pune has interpreted each and every poem of Amma’s Gospel and Wanderer, with illustrations, after having spent over 20 years in advertising, quit to follow her first loves, fine art and illustration. She paints in acrylics and watercolors, and illustrates in a wide variety of styles, from children's picture books to medical tomes, in the traditional and digital media.


Anurag: What are you writing currently?

Rajender Krishan:   Nothing.


Anurag: OK, let us see when you write next. What are your favorite books. Any books that you read again and again?

Rajender Krishan: 25 years ago I was an avid reader. With advancing age and dwindling eyesight, I don’t read much.

There are a few titles that I read again and again: Madhushala by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Vedanta and the modern man by Sri Ramakrishna, Upanishads by Max Muller; I have read Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino 500 times.


Anurag: You are also an artist, and a talented photographer, is that true?

Rajender Krishan: The camera does shoot good photos when I click.


Anurag: You started Boloji.com and HindiNest. These two sites have generously served millions. What are your thoughts on generosity?

Rajender Krishan: Whatever you give to life it returns manifold, you don’t have to choose to be generous you have to be because the life is generous to you. That’s the rule of life – if you choose to be miser, life will be miser. Through generosity, one gets liberated.


Anurag: What is your advice to authors who want to write a bestseller?

Rajender Krishan: I am not qualified to advise.

Anurag: That’s very polite of you. Thanks a lot, and best wishes.

9 comments :

  1. I am really a great fan of Rajender Krishanji and his poetry. I was also got my writings published through boloji.com for the past one decade on many topics of my choice. I was also fortunate enough to write reviews for all his poetry books 'Solitude', 'Amma's Gospel' and 'Wanderer'. Reading and musing over those poems is really a memorable experience for the readers. This interview shows Rajenderji, notwithstanding his name and fame, is a simple and down to earth personality. Thanks.

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  2. Simply amazing...it reveals the man who loves and loves human beings... ant conveys the message of goodwill to all.

    p c k prem

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  3. Simply amazing...it reveals the man who loves and loves human beings... and conveys the message of goodwill to all. Thanks

    p c k prem

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  4. Well said: The turning point of life is when you want to unlearn the garbage. All forces of Geeta are within you.

    It is a wonderfully expressed thought in words. The simplicity defines itself in the session of conversation giving a good message of life "whatever you give is returned many folded."
    I heartily congratulate Rajender ji and Anurag for reproducing the underlining theme of writings as in memorable AMMA’S GOSPEL and WANDERER. The read gives an insight of what is true and we are all attached to the truth being a part of it. It is a wonderful princess of going through renovation in this pandemic periods with AMMA’s gospel as a real gift to the readers.
    -Devi Nangrani

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  5. Enjoyed reading, a revealing experience

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  6. Prof Dr Nar Deo Sharma : On the basis of my stylistic critique I wrote on the poet's book: WANDERER, I can say that he is a good poet and whatever thoughts he expressed to Anurag Sharma in his personal interview are well mirrored in his simple and evocative poems.

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  7. Excellent interview! Great questions and phenomenal answers.

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  8. Very candid and honest conversation between the two. The poet is well versed in great Indian epics and scriptures and his timeless works- enriched with the deep Hindu thought are a unique contribution in Indian Writings in English- deserving high acclaim and applaud.

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  9. Very candid and honest conversation between the two. The poet is well versed in great Indian epics and scriptures and his timeless works- enriched with the deep Hindu thought are a unique contribution in Indian Writings in English- deserving high acclaim and applaud.

    ReplyDelete

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