Twenty-four-year-old Shristi Banka started writing poems five years ago but never intended to commercialise it. However, over the years, she did write a lot and got appreciation from peers, friends, and other writers as well. Last year, she decided to come up with her first book a book Summer Solstice and other poems, which was released on February 14, 2020.
“I realised that this is something I really get excited about. So, I prefer writing only poems,” says the youngster. It took her almost three to four years to write and make a collection of her poems, and almost seven months to publish the book including editing, placement of the poems, coming up with the title and looking for the best illustrations.
The book is a collection of 51 English poems, which give us a peep into the author’s evolved mind. “Keeping the number 51 was intentional. Since it is my first book, I asked my father about it. My family believes in luck, so he suggested to keep 51 poems as it is considered a lucky number,” she says and smiles.
Giving us an insight into the book, Banka says, “The book covers various topics including love, drama, family, and inspiration. They are either based on my personal experiences or experiences of people who are very close to me. There are so many wonderful writings that inspire me to write. If I would be at some point where I’m not feeling inspired enough to write, I would read the poems of a few great writers,” she says.
To set the mood, Banka divided the book into four seasons — Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Giving us a brief of every season, she says that Spring conveys the feeling of happiness, joy and new beginnings. It is a season with magical essence. Summer has a lot of poems about potential, romance, and love. Banka writes, ‘In order to shine bright, I needed to shine alone’. She concentrates on the burning desire within oneself, and to be independent. One should be like the sun — a star, which shines on its own, and not the moon, she elucidates.
The poems in Autumn focuses on the transition from summer to winter. The poem ‘Truth about Lies’, under this section, tells you how you need to move away from a person who breaks your trust. Autumn is something people can easily relate to, she claims.
‘Winter’ is considered a sad season. She has penned the poem ‘Goodbye’ capturing the emotion of losing a loved one.
“The emotions in the book are not something that only I’ve felt but everyone else too. Many a time, I’ve put myself in others’ shoes and tried to experience how that other person may have felt while facing a certain situation. People from different age categories, be it a teenager, youngster, or someone older, can relate to the emotions in the book,” she says.
Along with the poems, the book also has a few interesting illustrations. However, the faces don’t have nose and lips, only eyes. Banka says that it was a conscious decision. She didn’t want to create an image of a woman who is associated with one feeling. “When you draw every part of the face, you create an image of a person. Those who read the book will then start to compare themselves with the figure,” she says. Banka wanted women from different age categories to see themselves in the illustration, hence she selected images which didn’t have all the facial features.
This budding writer has some interesting tips for other budding writers. Banka says, “If you have a thought, do not waste time. Write it at that very moment. Thoughts are like the wind, they come and go. Don’t let that thought go away. What you are feeling is in that particular moment, you won’t feel the same thing tomorrow or day after. So even if it is a raw version, pen it down right there and later on, you can work on it.”
Banka launched her book on Valentine’s Day. “I thought of Valentine’s Day because romance is a major theme of my book. Therefore February 14 was a perfect day to launch the book,” she says.