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Spotlight On Writers
- Where, do you hail from?
I am from Palakkad, a district in Kerala which shares its border with another state - Tamil Nadu. During the formation of states, it is said that Palakkad was got in exchange for Kanya Kumari. This land is already known for great poets and fabulous writers in vernacular literature. Also, quite a few gifted artists in the cinematography and film industry hail from this area. It is a beautiful place situated between the Western Ghats.
- What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
When I travel by train, the moment I reach Palakkad’s border I can feel it inside me. My association with flora and fauna started here. Paddy fields, mountain ranges bordering them, the river 'Bharathapuzha' which I used to see flowing with such passionate vigour during the monsoons, but which is now sadly perishing due to sand mining. The Silent Valley, one of the hotspots of biodiversity is situated close by; it is my ambition to go there and see the magnificence of the hidden treasures in this valley.
- What turns you on creatively?
Pain, confusion and a good image to sum it all up. I started writing when I faced the biggest dilemma in my life - to leave the regular course of doing something because it has to be done or to find the alternative which meant leaving a secure, lucrative job for something I believed that I can make a difference with. Photography opened the door for opportunities for me. So did the idea of learning, assimilating and introducing the hard work of a few people and institutions — ones that are doing whatever they possibly can to stop this planet from burning out to others along with the beauty of nature that we miss in this rush to survive and forget to live in that moment. I strongly feel that human beings are born with the basic desire to ‘live and let live’, and generally love nature and the bounties it offers, but the greed to have the most and the best derails them from the right track. And finally, when the time arrives for human beings to leave this beautiful place, they repent for having lost out on enjoying the 'touch' of nature somewhere in the rush to succeed. But by then it is too late to repair or recover what is long-lost. The irony of destroying what is free and pure like, air, water, oceans, mountains for our convenience and later pay a hefty sum to get them clean is the economics of pollution, it definitely needs to be understood by the Millennials and the generations below them. Being a Xennial is my strength; it is understanding the ever-growing digital interface and still having profound memories of pristine nature and what it offered me during my childhood, something which unfortunately my child is not able to enjoy, thanks to the mistakes that we have made. My poems and articles are meant to bring those ‘golden days’ back. Nothing will work out without conscious, small changes that we make as city dwellers.
- What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
As I have mentioned in my poem We want to breathe
Men build structures to secure their stature,
But are we doing justice to our own future?
Comforts we long for won’t help us to live,
It’s the clean food, water, and air that Nature provides,
The tech will fail and the sick will thrive,
If we won’t come out from where we hide.
It is time to act,
And shed the pride that anything can be controlled by a click,
Respect Nature’s pact,
‘Live and let live’ to ignite the flame of life in the extinguished wick...
It's time to give space and attention to building Nature as it is like having a healthy mind and body for a living being. Money can't buy everything, especially health. Healthy people mean a healthy nation and the country will progress automatically.
- What is your pet peeve?
I am a foodie, and I hate seeing people wasting a lot of food. And this is not only because it adds to the garbage problem but also because I feel they disrespect the privilege of having a meal while millions around the world are suffering due from malnutrition because of poverty and hunger.
- What defines Nishand Venugopal?
I was a confused soul, who always tried to help others, trying to understand what will help myself to move on from this race to survive. Luckily, it is from the viewpoint of my camera’s lens that I figured out how much nature meant to me and to others. This is what led to the creation of my website Nishand's Photo Ark. I consciously added the word ‘Ark’ as I feel every small effort by people who work for the conservation of our dear Mother Earth is actually building a ‘Noah's Ark’ – an attempt to save entire species from the verge of extinction, and that includes us. We are nothing without birds and animals. We have the power to reduce the speed of extinctions, and as is the case with power, there is a responsibility that we must take care of. I feel that I am a small pawn who has realised this and I will try to do my bit for Nature through the medium of visual media, writing, art, and the strength of social media. To sum it up, I feel I am sorted right now.
Amateur Nature Photographer...Happy to click moments that matter and loves to share and educate about it. Trying to do some bit in conserving nature. Volunteering for WWF and an occasional traveller...