A young engineer was not interested in the text but found solace in writing poetry in a new style, reports Umar Mukhtar
Sadaf Wani, 23, a resident of a non-descript village Nagam of Banihal, is a civil engineer but finds solace and peace in writing. She is the proud author of her ‘poetic prose’ An Anxious Mind themed ‘it is ok to be imperfect.’
Soon after finishing her higher secondary exams from the Banihal girls’ higher secondary school in 2012, Sadaf got admission in the civil engineering in a Kurukshetra University. But her heart was not there. “I was feeling as if there is no one with me,” she said.
The homesickness added more to her anxiety. “I used to cry in isolation.” Crying was a timely relief to her isolation. This isolation and anxiety resulted in depression. It had costs on her education too. In the seventh semester of her engineering, Sadaf had to take a break for some time.
It was as if Sadaf was in search of something metaphysical- existential crises. “The state of depression isolated me socially; I had very few friends there.”
A lot of consultations and medications were of no help to her. She herself and her family tried every possible way to get her out of this state. Sadaf’s brother Muttahir, a medical doctor, stopped prescribing medicines to her. He advised her to write. “Jot down your emotions and feelings,” Muttahir told Sadaf.
But Sadaf had never written anything. Her brother told her not to worry about grammar and just write. She started writing the first time on her phone. What she wrote was a response to the advice of her brother. “I think the writing could no way be a panacea for depression.” She later deleted what she wrote.
But the intent with which she wrote was to tell her brother that his advice will be of no use. But to her surprise, she found it a medium to express herself. “It was as if the heaviness of my heart got disappeared,” she said. With this, she started her antidote to her anxiety and depression – writing. Sadaf started writing an unconventional genre- the prose poetry.
Her interest in writing got Sadaf into reading. The first book she read was Kite Runner, by Khalid Husseini, an Afghan writer. “When I read Khalil Gibran’s Wanderer and The Prophet, I fell in love with the way of writing and eloquence his writing has,” she said.
In 2015, she wrote the first prose poetry and never stopped afterwards. “There was no idea as such to write a book. I used to write for my own peace to get rid of the worldly sufferings,” she admitted. But as she kept on writing more and more, there was a compilation of many beautiful pieces.
Sadaf was in touch with another writer friend Asif Khan. He advised her to give her writings the shape of a book. Later in the month of August 2018, Sadaf compiled all her works together. She approached a Delhi-based publishing house Broken Tusk Publishers. There, her work was appreciated and edited by Aporva Tidke, an editor at the publishing house.
By January 2019, her An Anxious Mind was released. It is now available on the online platforms too. The cover page of the book is incoherence of the content. It displays ‘two hands trying to push away some obstacles.’
Apart from writing the ‘prose poetry’, Sadaf is interested in art too. She draws sketches. “By drawing people on the paper gives me happiness,” she said. Art and literature is all time medicine to Sadaf’s inner discomfort.
In Srinagar, the book was released at a function, organised by Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art culture and languages at their hall.