Spotlight On Writers - Dr. Elizabeth V. Koshy, interview at Spillwords.com

Spotlight On Writers – Elizabeth V. Koshy

Spotlight On Writers

Elizabeth V. Koshy

 

  1. Where, do you hail from?
I am from a Syrian Christian family from Punnackadu, Kerala, settled in Chinchwad, Pune, since the last five decades and more. Pune is situated on the leeward side of the Sahayadri mountain ranges at the Western margin of the Deccan Plateau. It is a hilly city known as a Pensioners’ Paradise. The old city of Pune is situated at the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers. The Pawana and the Indrayani rivers water the North West regions of Pune, where I live.
Pune was the seat of the Peshwas. It is a historically and culturally important place that has witnessed the work of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Saints like Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Tukaram, social reformers like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, educationists like Agarkar and Atre, feminists like Tarabai Shinde and freedom fighters like Gokhale, Tilak and Savarkar. Since the 1960s Pune has transformed into an automotive hub and post 1990s into an IT Smart City.
  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

Punawale, the village where I now live, is only 45 minutes walking distance away from my place of work. The greatest thing about it is that it is situated on the banks of the Pawana river. The village has sugarcane fields fed by water from a small dam across the river at Ravet, thanks to which there is a marked temperature difference as soon as one enters Punawale crossing the red Basket Bridge, a twin of the Seokang Bridge at Seoul.

I love walking to the river front to watch village life: people washing and drying their multi-coloured patchwork quilts on the rocks, fishing, swimming, bathing and praying at the Shiva temple on the river bank. Morning bhajans and keertans begin at 5am at the local temple which adds to the feel of living in a village. Fish caught at the river is sold right outside the housing society where we stay. Vegetables produced at nearby farms can also be purchased, plucked fresh every morning. At Punawale, one gets to see the classic scene of the sun disappearing behind the mountains.
The housing society where I stay has a lot of young couples very interested in sports and cultural activities. Right below my bedroom window is a swimming pool, party lawn and children’s play area full of joie de vivre, the exuberant joy of life.
Sadly, there is a lot of construction activity happening all around the village. Very soon, the sugarcane fields and the farms will disappear and we will have high rises all around. The river will still remain, as will the mountains.

  1. What turns you on creatively?

Witnessing the golden hour at sunset, the starry sky, the play of the Moon and Venus, the monsoon, lightning flashes, driving past green mountains of the Sahayadri or rocky cliffs, a trip to a beach or a waterfall or even sitting in my balcony surrounded by my plants, makes me feel blessed, I feel at peace with the world and my mind is at rest. I feel inspired to write then. I write on ideas I’ve been thinking about or sometimes, while I’m reading or listening to music, an idea sparks my creativity.
At other times it is the ironies and the paradoxes of life, the unfairness and the injustice all around, the exploitation of the weak and gender inequalities, my angst and my frustrations that get my writing going.

Many a times, a memory of a feeling or an emotion or even a visual image that can serve as a symbol works as a starting point.
I love prompts and themed calls for submissions too, as I love a challenge.
Generally, when I write, I almost always have an idea of what I’m going to write. I write from start to finish in one go. I almost always find that I’ve written something that I can use, if not then, then some time later.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?

I do not have a favourite word. I’ve used the word/ image embers in a couple of poems:
“Hearts glowing like embers, ignited with glances/that spoke volumes though the tongue refused to confess/what the heart felt.”
From my poem ‘The mystical conjunction ‘ which was selected in the 24K Gold Category by Sweety Cat Press for the Jewels in the Queen’s Crown Anthology in 2022.
Here’s one more usage:
It’s been ages since, yet the warmth of the sun on the rock/and the warmth of the love still remain like embers within my soul!’
From ‘Embers Within My Soul’ published by Muse India, ISSN: 0975-1815.
(I do like the sound of the word ’embers’. I also like words like evanescence, luminescence, cascade, crescendo and ethereal among many others for their musical quality.)

  1. What is your pet peeve?

I find it very annoying when people do not put back the things they’ve taken from their respective places, whether it is at home or at the workplace. I hate searching for things.
I get annoyed when I’m taken for granted.
I get annoyed when I feel exploited.
I get upset when plans made beforehand are cancelled at the last minute without discussion.

  1. What defines Elizabeth V. Koshy?

I love:
I love listening to music. I listen to all kinds including pop, kpop, hip-hop, rock, reggae, Western Classical, Christian Hymns and Lyrics, instrumental music, gazals, Rabindra Sangeet, Hindustani Music, Karnatak Sangeet, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam film music and songs. I am happiest when I’m enjoying a drive listening to songs from my playlist on Spotify.
I love dancing with my children.
I love my potted plants. I love watering them and the better part of my Sundays or holidays are spent plucking off yellow and dried up leaves, pruning, weeding, re-potting and watering plants.
I love travelling and I have never lost a chance to visit a new place if I could help it.
I love experimenting with food and trying out new recipes.
I love reading and writing and teaching English Literature, especially poetry.
I condemn /hate:
I condemn physical or emotional abuse.
I hate people who butter up others for personal gain.
I hate pretence, artificiality, infidelity, fraudsters and people who cheat the institution they belong to.
I hate people who are insincere.
I hate people who change colours like chameleons.
I believe that:
There is only one God, that all are equal before God and that there is only one chance at life.
I advocate:
Treating each other equally with respect and love.
Women’s rights and equality.
Shouldering equal responsibilities at home.
Starting with a clean slate every day and trying to forget and forgive.
Being happy in whatever situation one finds oneself in.
Being a perfectionist in whatever one does.
Sticking to the truth.
Putting in one’s best effort at all times, in whatever one does. One then has the confidence that nothing better could have been done in that particular situation, at that particular time; consequently, one can live and die without regrets. Also, then others’ appreciation or criticism of one’s effort becomes irrelevant.

Series Navigation<< Spotlight On Writers – N.T. McQueenSpotlight On Writers – Zach Zajac >>
Latest posts by Elizabeth Vincent Koshy (see all)
This publication is part 382 of 401 in the series Spotlight On Writers