It was a pleasure to interview prolific multilingual poetess Malakshmi Borthakur, Administrator in the Literary Forum, How To Write for Success.
Q.1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a translator, short story writer and multilingual poetess who takes happiness in holding the pen to write sensitive scripts.
I write in three major languages – one is the worldwide spoken English and apart from that in my two regional languages, called Hindi and Assamese.
Speaking about my educational background, I hold a Master’s Degree in English Literature and an additional Master’s Degree in Indian Traditional Vocal Music.
Apart from this dual Masters, I also hold an additional Graduation in Education called B.Ed.
These qualifications have helped me to be a good writer as well as supported me in trying to gain a bit of knowledge of Indian traditional music as well.
Speaking about my nativity, I belong to Assam, one of the eight states of North East India and currently I am residing at Lucknow City, in the state of Uttar Pradesh which is also a part of India.
Now speaking about my family background - I have a beautiful family that comprises my mom, my little daughter Ananya and my husband Dr. Biju Kumar Bhagawati.
My husband is a renowned Classical Vocalist in Lucknow and popular all across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
I am really happy to have a husband like him because he's been a great inspiration and the first reviewer of all my literary creations.
Now if you ask me about my role in the literary arena, I would like to say that I am an Administrator in the literary forum called ‘How To Write For Success’.
This forum is affiliated to ‘Motivational Strips’, the world’s most active writers’ forum.
The Founder of this forum has influenced me a lot in developing my writing skills as well as my leadership skills in the literary world.
She is none other than the Trinidadian best selling author Brenda Mohammed, who has written more than 25 books.
This forum called ‘How To Write For Success’ has three subgroups, called ‘Poems For Suicide Prevention’, ‘Poems Against Domestic Violence’ and ‘Library of How To Write for Success’.
Now to speak about another great opportunity which I got in my literary journey is that I am also an official member of Motivational Strips.
It’s undoubtedly the world’s most active writers’ forum and has more than 5.7 million visitors every month.
Additionally, I hold an official membership in the World Nations Writers Union, a renowned union for writers worldwide.
Q.2 How did you get started on your writing journey?
More than a writer I would like to be called a voracious reader.
My father late Sarat Chandra Borthakur, who was a Professor in Sanskrit literature, inculcated in me reading habits during my early childhood days.
When I was pursuing my junior school, I had almost finished reading Epics, Puranas, Upanishadas and all contents of Sanskrit literature that had been translated into my native language Assamese.
I had also shown keen interest in reading children's books in the Assamese language.
So after having embraced these reading habits, it helped me lots to start my own writing habits.
During my university days, as I was pursuing English literature as the subject, it helped me get acquainted with writings by global writers.
I was the editor of my school journal, Mandakini.
It’s a bilingual journal in both Assamese and English which enhanced my pace of writing.
My teachers used to be impressed by reading the journal.
During those years they had encouraged me lots to take up writing on a serious mode
My daughter Ananya's birth was a complicated delivery.
I still remember, it was the year 2013 and I was undergoing lots of pain emotionally and physically.
I felt those pains were gradually killing my enthusiasm for life.
I was in desperate search for healing myself from this mental trauma.
So as a relief system, I took up writing poetry on a regular basis.
I used to scribble any kind of crazy thoughts that used to run through my mind.
Later in 2016, I started bringing my poems to public sight through Facebook.
Those poems were all written in Assamese language.
During those times I used to have a friend called Sukanto Roy, who’s an avid reader and writer.
I used to periodically explain the meanings of my Assamese poems to Mr. Roy in English.
As he was enjoying those poems, he suggested that I should write also poems in English.
I was so fascinated by his suggestion that I started writing in English too.
Gradually I started being a multilingual poet who writes in three languages- English, Hindi, and Assamese
Q.3 Are there any poets or writers who influenced you?
I am very fond of reading the poems of popular Assamese poet Hiren Bhattacharya, renowned Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Gulzar Sahab, and Urdu Poet Kaifi Azmi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz Saheb.
I am also an avid reader of fiction.
The popular fictions of Hindi writer Munshi Premchand, Bengali writers Mahasweta Devi and Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and Assamese writer Purabi Barmudoi have always been my favorite.
In English, R.K Narayan's imaginary village 'Malgudi' and the stories he wove around that village fascinate me still.
Also, I love the poems and the writing style of Kamala Das, whose poems have close resemblance with the confessional poems of famous American poet, Sylvia Plath.
Apart from the above poets and writers, I also enjoy and cherish reading the books and poems written by Shiju. H. Pallithazheth.
He has a unique form of poetry that keeps everybody engrossed without taking their eyes out from the kind of poems and quotes he writes.
So, many people have influenced me apart from them but these are some of the very relevant people who have definitely brought in a lot of inspiration to me and helped me to become a writer step by step.
Q.4 Are you a member of any Literature Forums and how have they influenced you?
Yes. I am very much influenced by the world's most active writers’ forum, 'Motivational Strips' and of course the forum which I am a part of - as an Administrator called 'How To Write For Success'.
Motivational strips has writers from 106 countries and they have been very influential and instrumental in inspiring me with different modes of writings.
So, I do take my time to read each and every poem which appears in ‘Motivational Strips’ as well in ‘How To Write For Success’.
And definitely, the Founder is very versatile in terms of accommodating the writers from all across the globe in ‘Motivational Strips’ and this has helped the forum to become a research center for all writers globally.
So I appeal to all who read this interview to be a part of Motivational Strips literary family on Facebook.
Definitely, it's a treasure chest for literature icons and for many novice beginners and for those writers who want to enhance their knowledge further.
I am very grateful to Brenda Mohammed, who's the Founder of ‘How To Write For Success’ because through this forum she has given me the opportunity to get exposed to many literary icons.
It’s a forum that enhances our writing skills. And apart from that, I would also like to thank the Unions, ‘World Nations Writers Union’ (WNWU) and Union Hispanomundial De Escritores (UHE) and some of the other qualitative forums affiliated to Motivational Strips.
Definitely, these literature forums have influenced my style of writing and my quality of output.
Q.5 Do you have plans to write a novel, a poetry book, or to start a blog?
Yes. I had read the book of a popular best selling author recently.
After having read the wise stories of this book, I had a personal desire to translate it into the Hindi language.
I was not very confident that the author would agree with this proposition.
However, when I approached the author, it was enlightening as the author of this best selling book agreed without much of hassles.
Therefore that will be one of the major translation projects I will be completing during this year.
I am also currently doing a poetry book in Hindi.
So once I complete that, it would be a solo-authored book from my end.
Also, there's another thought for 2020 which has been long pending.
I will be starting my full-fledged multilingual short story/poetic blog.
It will represent my poems/short stories in three major languages which would be English, Hindi and my native language, Assamese.
These are the current ongoing projects which I am doing and let's hope that in the coming years I would be able to contribute more to literature on a published front.
Q.6 What kind of readership would you be aiming for?
Every reader is important for me whether s/he is a novice reader who has for the first time picked up a book to read or whether it’s a voracious and seasoned reader.
I adore readers, who wish to dive deeper into the ocean of knowledge.
So all kinds of readership are what I am aiming for and I wish to make my poems or short stories in a way that it can accommodate every age group and every demographics for my scripts to be read.
Q.7 What is the message you will be trying to get across?
The message that I would like to get across is that the written word has magical powers to influence a larger mass and also literature can influence people's outlook towards the world to think on a better front.
It can unite the world and create productive friendship and obviously the literary forums like ‘Motivational Strips’ and ‘How To Write For Success’ have already proven that the world can be united through the word art.
I am sure none will have second thoughts on it.
Q. 8 What is your writing process like?
I normally go by what I observe around or what thoughts influence me from time to time.
Maybe on a starry night, I start imagining a communication with celestial bodies.
Maybe when sitting in a garden, the flowers and ambiance can communicate to me some ideas to pen.
Maybe a neighbour telling me an incident can inspire me to write a short story.
The moods and surroundings decide my writing process.
They form my muse.
Q.9 How do you go about editing your work?
The initial phase of my literary journey would be just to write and after I have written a script, I will definitely do the first round of reading where I will clear out any kind of grammatical errors or any kind of punctuations that are needed to be corrected.
In the second round of reading, I will make sure that the script is in accordance to be fitted on a qualitative front and the third read will be to make sure that it is in accordance with what the readers are expecting from me.
So, these are the three modes of the edit which I do and of course, the first round of edit will be developmental edit, the second will be a line edit and the third will be proofreading which I do on my own before I decide to send across my poems anywhere or decide to publish them.
Q.10 Is there something about the writing process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
I don't think this question is relevant, because as long as we have forums like ‘Motivational Strips’ which is issuing lots of articles on how to write, especially the founder Shiju H. Pallithazheth keeps writing articles for writers and this has helped me to a large extent to be a better writer.
And also there is Samantha Beardon who's basically from Oxford and her articles in Motivational Strips have been very handy.
Also, being a part of ‘How To Write For Success’ and working with Brenda Mohammed definitely has influenced me a lot to develop my journey of literary word art.
That's why I think this question is not relevant because I have all the people around me who are some of the world's best writers to influence and develop my writing skills.
Q.11 Do you have any advice for writers?
My humble advice to all my brothers and sisters across the globe is that, don't hesitate to write if you have a thought in your mind and never feel discouraged from encouraging a fellow writer by writing positive feedback for that person.
Because the more you write positive feedbacks for people around you, the more you are in an ambiance with a lot of positivity.
So the writing journey is a collaboration of yourself with your surroundings.
So make sure you are in the right platform, with the right kind of quality people and the type of surroundings which you are in - all will definitely bring for you a lot of good results and keep you on a path of rightful literature ethics.
Q.12 What are your social accounts if people want to connect with you?
For My Facebook Page CLICK HERE
To follow me on Instagram CLICK HERE
Follow me on Goodreads CLICK HERE
BIOGRAPHY OF MALAKSHMI BORTHAKUR
Malakshmi Borthakur is a writer/poet of international fame holding a silver categorized membership in ‘Motivational Strips’, the world’s most active writers’ forum. She is also an official member of the World Nations Writers Union (WNWU) Kazakhstan.
Malakshmi has a steady literary career as a translator, short story writer, and multilingual poetess. Hailing from the state of Assam in India, Malakshmi writes in English, Hindi and her native language, Assamese. She holds a Masters Degree in ‘English Literature’, and in ‘Indian Traditional Vocal Music’ with additional graduation in Education (B.Ed).
For Malakshmi, poetry is a passion and music is her pastime. She learned music under the tutelage of her husband, renowned Classical Vocalist of Lucknow, Dr. Biju Kumar Bhagawati. Malakshmi also gives music lessons to students up to the graduate level during leisure times.
Malakshmi values humanity as an author and poet and her literary works shed light on issues such as love, life, pain, tears, and the anguish that individuals suffer from within. Her social concern subjects include gender justice, human rights, and human development. Her desire to put colours of hope and life in the blank canvasses of the lives of people around her prompted her to start writing short stories apart from vibrant poetry.
Malakshmi’s literary works are popular through varied national and international magazines and anthologies of repute. She has contributed to many coveted anthologies. She is the co-author of ‘Limca Book Of World Records’ holder anthology of poems ‘Amaravati Poetic Prism, 2018’, edited by Padmaja Iyengar Paddy from India. In the other two editions of ‘Amaravati Poetic Prism’ 2017 and 2019 respectively, Malakshmi had contributed her multilingual poems. She is also the co-author of Amazon Bestsellers ‘A Spark of Hope volume. II', and 'Break the SILENCE' - anthologies of global poems released by the online forum of repute ‘How To Write for Success’, an affiliate of ‘Motivational Strips’, the world’s most active writers’ forum.
The other international anthologies of repute, in which her works reflect are ‘Symphony of Peace', ‘Tranquil Muse' and 'The Vase' of 10th, 11th and 12th 'Guntur International Poetry Fest' organized in Guntur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India in 3 consecutive years (2017, 2018 and 2019) respectively.
Recently, on 3rd of March, 2020 Malakshmi has been featured in ‘Vocea Literara’, a popular Romanian literary magazine published by the Romanian Association of Writers. The chief editor for this magazine is a popular author from Romania, Ms. Corina Junghiatu.
Malakshmi's Hindi and English poems also reflect through August’ 2017 issue of Setu Hindi Patrika, a bilingual monthly journal published from Pittsburgh, USA; August 2017 issue of LangLit; September’ 2017 issue of Our Poetry Archive, India; April- May' 2017 and September-October' 2018 issues of 'Dimorian Review', India; International anthology, ‘Fragrance of Asia’ Vol. I edited by Dr. Muhammad Shanazar; International anthology, ‘Whispering Poiesis’ by poiesisonline.com of India (May 2018); March 2019 issue of ‘Setu-English’, special edition, 'Women, Power & Creativity', edited by Padmaja Iyengar Paddy; International anthology 'Fancy Fragrances' published by Global Fraternity Of Poets, India, published in May' 2019. Malakshmi is one of the top 50 contributors to the first issue of the magazine 'The Genius', soon to be published by the House of Motivational Strips. This is a few of her prominent publication and apart from this, she has contributed to varied journals and online portals.
Many of Malakshmi’s poems in Hindi have been translated into English, Urdu and Gujarati language by eminent scholars like Dr. Muhammad Shanazar of Pakistan and Padmashri Dr. Vishnu Pandya, the Chairman of Sahitya Academy, Gujarat, India.
As a translator, Malakshmi had undertaken the most prestigious international project of poems called 'A Gift' in 5 sequels by Luzviminda Gabato Rivera from Philippines. Malakshmi has translated the poem sequels into Hindi and her native language, the Assamese.
International Honours & Awards:
• ‘World Award Of Excellence 2019- 2020’ from Government of Peru, South America.
• Diploma Level II- 'Temirqazyq The Best Post/Writer Of The World' 2019' organized by ‘World Nations Writers' Union’ (WNWU) Kazakhstan (2020)
• ‘Global Literature Guardian’ from Motivational Strips, World’s most active writers’ forum (2020)
• ‘Order Of Shakespeare Medal’ from Motivational Strips, World’s most active writers’ forum (2020)
• ‘Silver Category’ and 'Gold Category' Membership from Motivational Strips (2019 & 2020)
• ‘World Laureate In Literature’ from ‘World Nations Writers Union’ (WNWU) Kazakhstan (2018)
• ‘World Poetic Star’ from ‘World Nations Writers Union’ (WNWU) Kazakhstan (2019)
• ‘Pentasi B World Featured Poet’ from Pentasi B World Friendship Poetry, Philippines (2018)
Regional & National Awards:
• ‘Hindi Sevi’ by Viswa Hindi Rachnakar Manch, New Delhi, India, (2017)
• 'Nari Sagaar Samman’ by JMD Publications, New Delhi, India (2018)
• Best Poet Award’ from Global Fraternity of Poets, Gurugram, Haryana, India (2019)
• ‘Sahitya Shree’ by Ru-Ba-Ru Foundation, Lucknow, India (This National award was conferred on her for short stories in Hindi) (2020)
Additionally to the above, Malakshmi is also one of the winners of India's prestigious '7th Rabindranath Tagore Award - International English Poetry Contest 2018' organized by poiesisonline.com.
Malakshmi Borthakur keeps inspiring her country and the world with her literary passion. Her social activeness to fellow writers has earned her an Administrator Status in ‘How To For Success’, an online literary portal of international repute affiliated to Motivational Strips, the world’s most active writers forum.