'SUNDAY EXCLUSIVE' - Buddhi Sagar: "I don’t just write about the characters but I actually ‘feel’ them"
A conversation with Buddhi Sagar
Buddhi Sagar and his book 'Phirphire' have secured their place in the hearts of many. From social media to conversations over coffee, he is everywhere. His books have made people cry and some have even thought of becoming writers, moved by the beauty of his words.
Buddhi Sagar opens up with Prajwalla Dahal of Anna Note about his majestic writing.
How did Buddhi Sagar evolve into a full-time writer from a journalist?
Though I majored in journalism and worked as a journalist for five years, I wasn’t quite into staying in the office and writing news.
It was a good platform for me to get my poetry published and I liked that. I could reach the mass easily by working in a newspaper since I was in charge of what to publish. I used to spend most of my time in the literary section instead of political news. Journalism was just not for me, I had a different call.
It was a risk quitting my job and becoming a full-time writer. It was a hard decision to take but after the success of my novel 'Karnali Blues', it got easier. The sales hiked and I was earning more from the royalty than what I was earning from my job. That acted as a support in my decision of becoming a full-time writer.
Choosing to become a full-time writer is a challenging decision for any writer in the world.
Tell us about your journey in the completion of Phirphire.
I’ve always wanted to write about two childhood friends because of the selfless loyalty children share in their friendship. Most of the emotions in the story are very close to me, whereas some are totally fictional. I mostly write about things that I have a lot of familiarity with; I don’t believe it is fair to write about things that need a lot of research; that is no justice.
It took me almost 5 years to come up with Phirphire after the release of Karnali Blues. The book is long and there are a lot of characters; each of them has a story linked to them. The book not only took me a long time to write, but I had to rewrite it several times. I’d say it took me double the drafts of Karnali Blues to come up with the final copy of Phirphire.
Before Phirphire, I had completed the first draft of a completely different book but I chose not to publish it. Also, I have no plans to publish it anytime soon.
What is the response from the readers about Phirphire?
I’ve been getting lots of messages and feedbacks about the book. The responses have been growing with time. In the beginning, I’d get fewer messages but I guess the readers have grown in number, some of them have just completed reading the book and recommendations for the book have also grown. Hence, I’ve been receiving lots of messages lately.
(Phirphire in Australian library, Twitter)
What do the readers like about your books?
Readers often compliment about the details I provide in the books. They admire the emotional aspects of my story and connect with the characters.
When I started writing, I realized there aren’t many stories written about Western Nepal. Both of the books are the tales of the west (Paschim), I believe I got to bond with the readers there.
You’ve written both poetry and fiction, which one is your beat?
I had published a poetry collection and also included a write-up, something like an essay. People admired my essay more than my poetry. I was forever encouraged to write fiction/ essays.
To this date, even I can say that I’m better with prose (गद्ध्य) than I am with poetry (पद्ध्य).
Can writers making a living from poetry like they do from fiction?
For me, poetry is the most powerful genre in literature.
Though it is beautiful to write and most writers start with poetry in their writing career, it has a small circle. People admire fiction more than they admire poetry.
I don’t think earning money from poetry is trouble-free.
Will you be writing for movies soon?
Well, I’ve been offered to write for movies several times but I am not quite interested.
I could be writing a book that could be made into a movie but writing scripts are not on my bucket list.
(Buddhi Sagar with his readers, Twitter)
When can we read your next book?
I have already planned a plot for my next book. I am alone in my home right now and I am giving my hundred percent to my new book.
I get a hard time shifting from one book to another. When I complete one book and start writing another book, it hurts me like a breakup. It feels like changing lovers and takes me a lot of time because when I write, I don’t just write about the characters but I actually ‘feel’ them. It is a lot of pain getting myself detached from my last book.
My next book will be published within the next three years.
In the intervening time, I read a lot of books to learn and become a better writer. I had plans of reading 100 books from around the world but could only read 50. Also, finding books was a difficult task but Amazon Kindle made it easier for me.
(Actor Rajesh Hamal lost in Phirphire, Twitter)