A couple days back, we let you all know about the hot new Shweta Subram track called “Mere Sajan Sun Sun.” The song has quickly gained popularity for it’s soulful sound and sensational lyrics. While Shweta may have brought to life the lyrics with her voice, the talented Neelam Saxena Chandra truly gave life to the song and created the magic by penning the wonderful lyrics.
Although Neelam Chandra is an engineer by profession, she is far from the stereotype. In fact, she is a talented writer who loves to write songs and poetry, as well as fictional works. Over two hundred of her stories and poems have been published in India and International publications and she has won several awards for her writing. I had a chance to interview Neelam for UrbanAsian. Read on below!
Well, I have been writing poetry in English as well as in Hindi (I must have written more than 400 poems by now) since school days and the rhyme, meter and rhythm used to fascinate me a lot. I would often write parodies and songs, and some of the parodies were also enacted successfully. This gave me the desire to experiment in writing lyrics. Frankly speaking, I was just writing because I was enjoying doing it. And then I came in contact with the musician of the era, Shankar Tucker, and rest is history.
UA: Most Indian authors who are well known in the states tend to focus on the Indian diaspora, or take a more serious take on life in India. What drew you to the world of children’s books? Do you still feel like a “kid at heart”? 😉 For those unfamiliar with your books, what genre are they (ie fantasy, fiction, humor, etc.) and where can they be purchased?
I tend to keep focusing on different topics at different points of time. Whatever fascinates my mind, comes down in my writings. I do write on Indian diaspora too, but writing for children surely fascinates me the most. You are so correct- I am still a ‘kid at heart’.
Basically my writing career started with stories for children. When my daughter was small, she would demand a new story every day. This went on for more than 10 years. One day, my husband said, “Why don’t you write and send these stories to some magazine?” After that, there was no looking back.
I mostly write fiction.
One of my e-books ‘THE MISSING PRINCESS’ can be purchased via AMAZON.COM
My book SUNDERVAN KI KAHANIYAN (in Hindi) and Tales from Sundervan (English) can be purchased via flipkart.com.
Sundervan Ki Kahaniyan (Hindi):
Sundervan Ki Kahaniyan (english):
- http://www.flipkart.com/tales-sundervan-817564530x/p/itmd4r9hmfy9jasg?pid=9788175645301&_l=CjBrRcwxOtEruK3Rz93zIA–&_r=kk0lbEbC0yQqQznRGcKepA–&ref=82872831-0e88-4fc8-801c-9679ceb21a26 .
UA: Often, while the lyricist for a song is the one who creates the magic, it is the singer who gets most of the praise. Do you see that trend changing in India, or do you feel lyricists were better appreciated in the golden age of Indian cinema? For example, almost everyone knew Naushad as a lyricist.
That trend is bound to continue and lyricists should not crib about it. After all it is gives real happiness in seeing your creation glimmer through the amazing voice of the singer. In ‘Mere Sajan sun sun’, Shweta Subram has done a marvelous job and I am too happy with the outcome. The music of Shankar Tucker weaves magic and the result is awesome! What more can a lyricist ask for!
UA: Recently, you wrote the lyrics for Shankar Tucker’s song “Mere Sajan Sun Sun”. What was the inspiration for this beautiful song?
Love is a miracle which continues to inspire me for my writings. The separation, the pain, the anticipation, the waiting, the joy, the happiness, the union, the bliss – all other feelings are associated with it. When I was writing lyrics for this song, I wanted rhythmic use of letters and words which by itself signify love in all these forms. The overwhelming response makes me feel that I have attained what I wished for.
UA: What do you enjoy best about having the power of the pen? Do you most enjoy writing lyrics/poetry or writing books? (and yes, you can say both!)
Without power of pen – well I am an engineer by profession and I thoroughly enjoy my job. Besides this, I also like compering/anchoring once in a while. But, spending time with my lovely daughter is the thing I enjoy the most is all I can say.
I am a moody person and I revel in writing lyrics/poetry as well as books depending upon my mood. Yeah, I write in English as well as Hindi.
I am working on two novellas (in English) at present. One is a romantic story and the other is a novella based on Indian diaspora. One of them is almost complete and the other remains to be edited.
Lyrics keep coming naturally to my mind and I keep typing and storing them on my laptop. It is almost like 3-4 per week.
UA: Any other message for our readers and your fans?
Have belief and confidence in yourself. Do not think too much about the results. Success will come one day. And meanwhile, keep learning and improving continually.
Neelam’s poetry has been published in both Indian and International publications including Enchanting Verses, Frog Croon, Saraba, and Ewoman. Moreover, her poems/stories have been published in various international anthologies such as ON THE BRINK (By Spectacle Publishing), HEALING WAVES (By Skywarrior Publications), PHO FOR LIFE etc. In addition to poetry, she has authored three children’s story books and has received accolades for her work: 2nd prize in a competition organized by Pratham Books (Chuskit competition); Children Book Trust, India in 2009; 2nd prize given by Gulzarji in a Poetry Contest organized by American Society on the topic ‘Poetry for Social Change’.