Author interview: Zarin Ali talks about her book 'The Story of Dots'
Thoughts that she cannot keep to herself yet cannot share with others inspire her to write, says the author.
Congratulations on the release of 'The Story of Dots ...'. Tell us something about this book. How is it different or unique from other, earlier books of this type?
Thank you. It is one of the best things that ever happened to me. It made me what I am today, yes, I connected the dots to make myself a better person than I was.
The journey of the book is set against the backdrop of my life and takes account of the experiences that I had in coping with different kinds of people from friends, family, and strangers to stranglers. It takes a rollercoaster ride through the impact of social media. It talks about the voids in a person’s life and the need to grout it as and when required.
It talks about the richness of the punctuations in English language, especially the mere ‘dot’ with a focus on the power of words to make you feel low and high at different times. It takes you through the different time zones of the author’s life, all coinciding towards the fierce well, the dot. It encourages you to fight the mental health issues created under the influence of the mingled yarns.
What kind of books inspire you as a writer? Who are your favourite authors? What type of shows do you usually watch?
Twenty five per cent consists of books of geology, another twenty five per cent is stories of experiences of normal and paranormal activities, twenty five per cent on psychology, and the rest depends on the captions which people write while they post their photos.
Of the many authors, I admire my sister Sharmin Ali who inspired me to write and get rid of the castles of miseries that I supposedly built on my own as I was too active and sensitive as a receiver of sounds and signals. I like Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, and Eliot to name a few. They have contributed a lot in the shaping up of the dramatics.
I follow the Science of Nature being the KimK of Science as they said somewhere in ‘Friends’. So, on the whole, I love to watch science fiction, fantasy and love stories.
What inspires you to write? Who inspired you to become a writer? Your sister is a speaker and author herself; how did she inspire you to become an author?
Any feelings or thoughts that I cannot hold within or share with others inspire me to write so that it is aired out and I feel better.
Honestly, I never knew that I would write. I take the credit. I inspire myself to be a writer!
Hahaha…my sister is also an actor and so am I but not a celebrated one like that in the movies. It was 12.30am and the whole town was in bed. It is then when I told her about what was going on in my mind, she literally shouted and cried. I was still calm while I listened to her scoldings. It is then when she made me feel that it is high time to write. I laughed and told her later that I would write about the dots, the voids that bothered me and that I will submit one copy to any patient psychiatrist later. I used to read a lot of psychology based articles too.
Tell us something about yourself and your background.
I am a fun-loving girl when I am surrounded by type casted people like me. I love to eat, laugh and travel. I am a different person in my workplace. So I behave according to the type of the place and the kind of people I am with at any point of time. I write more when I am alone in the middle of the crowd.
My roots are those from a typical Indian-Bengali-Muslim-family. Being born and brought up in a mixed culture, I have been exposed to different people and their thoughts which is why liberalism came as a gift to me. I don’t know how far I will go with the liberal mentality in the world full of chaos.
My father is a superannuated geophysicist from ONGC and my mother is a homemaker. She loves to sing and was a good lawyer once upon a time. The mix of art and science runs in my blood. My sister chose entrepreneurship, and I chose earning for a good living without having to quit my dreams. So, I am a geologist by day and I invest in my dreams as a night owl.
This book looks like your memoir. Why did you decide to write your memoir at a young age? How do you think this book will help or inspire others who read it? What is your message to the readers through this book?
I have categorised my memories. This book is based on one of those categories. It is not a general one that we make daily. It has got a lot to do with the love for the language and the language in love. I decided to write about my memoir at a young age because I wanted to tell people that even the silliest of the words, punctuations like a comma, a full stop or a dot that we unknowingly use in our writing styles can have a lot to do with someone else’s life of dots.
This book will surely help others as they will get to feel the rollercoaster ride of the different time zones of my categorised memories from past to present and how it can possibly shape a person in future, the result of which is this book. If I could manage my absolute madness and put a comma and a full stop to it, you surely can.
My message to my readers is that you can be angry, you can hold a grudge but you should be positive by taking the good lessons because people come in your life for a reason; either a blessing or a lesson.
Later, all you need to do is to dump your grudge because there are many other dreams that require our attention and we should invest our time in living those dreams. True, actions speak louder than words but the right words drive the first set of actions.
Please share an interesting personal experience you have mentioned in this book.
Years back, being active on a few social media handles made me come across the AI of the technology and I started finding people like me, even those with the blue ticks. I was shocked to find we have similar interests but to my dismay, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. The algorithms of the English language took a toll on me for quite some time, even when I was writing this book. I am much better now. History repeats itself. The same kind of slap that I got in a mall from a school crush had hit me again in social media while I was playing with the algorithms of the dots with the difference being in the kinds of places and the types of people involved.
How do you manage to find time from your main profession? At what time do you write?
I wake up early in the morning when I am in the mood to air out my feelings. I stand in front of the trees. Then I face the mirror. I don’t have to manage to find time. I just force myself to come out of my comfort zone and focus on my dreams. I prefer writing either early morning or late at night.