Parveen Sethi is a bilingual poet and translator who writes in Hindi and English with equal ease. Her poems have appeared in several international anthologies and magazines
including Resonating Strings, 52: Loves, Resonance, Color of Refuge and Learning and Creativity. She lives in Ludhiana with her husband and two college going children. When she is not reading or writing poetry she likes to listen to music and try new recipes.
This interview was conducted via email.
Andrea Ashima: Thank you so much, Mrs. Sethi, for agreeing to answer some questions that I always wanted to ask since I first got a chance to read some of your poems.Please tell us something about your early years. How did you develop an interest in poetry?
Parveen Sethi: I am from Patiala, now married and living in Ludhiana for the past 23 years and a mother of two college going children. I was lucky to be born into a very loving family where my mother wrote poetry and so did my grandfather. Ghazals and songs were an inherent part of our household . So I developed an interest in poetry quite early, wrote briefly during my college days. There was a long gap after which, I started writing again around 4 years back.
Andrea Ashima: How does a poem start for you, as an image, word or phrase?
Parveen Sethi: An image can trigger a poem in my mind,so can an word or a particular emotion. It depends on the mood and mode I am in. I am a very spontaneous writer and sometimes even am left wondering why I wrote a particular piece.
Andrea Ashima: You write poems in both English and Hindi. How do you decide which poem to write in which language?
Parveen Sethi: I write in the language the poem comes to me 🙂
Andrea Ashima: In which language do you find it easier to write?
Parveen Sethi: This again depends upon my mood and mode. Sometimes I find expression of a particular thought easier in Hindi while on other occasions English seems better vehicle to express myself.
वक़्त के साथ देख तो कैसे
हमारी मोहब्बत के रंग बदल गए
तूने पहन लिए लापरवाही के मटमैले परहन
मैंने ओढ़ लिए ख़ामोशी के सफेद सिलसिले
Andrea Ashima: Who are your favourite writers and poets and how have they influenced your poems, if they have?
Parveen Sethi: I have been an avid lover of Mirza Ghalib, Faz Ahmed Faiz , Ahmed Faraz , Harivansh Rai Bachan , Parveen Shakir ,Maya Angleou ,William Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling ,Yeats and so the list goes on and on . In short am a lover of good poetry in any language I can understand.
Andrea Ashima: What is your advice to budding poets?
Parveen Sethi: Listen to your heart and keep writing !!
Her storms raged out of
the mist in his eyes
For her universe moved at his pace
The stars twinkled the way he talked
The moon was her ally to keep
his guard everynight
Known to no other way to love
She loved with all her might
She winced in his pain
She soared in his elation
His moods dark and light
formed her days and night
She basked in the rays he showered
All his blames she took in stride
Her love was her folly
She loved to the fault
It stifled him she didn’t realise
She had no clue
Love can be suffocating too
He gasped for breath
He sought space
She looked on helplessly
The ground she stood on shook with pain
She clamoured to release him of the agony
The only way to free him
was to cut herself to pieces
She readily obliged