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Interview : Kartikeya Ladha

Writer of the book : “Dream Beyond Shadows”

kartikeya ladha

  • What inspired you to start writing?

Coming from a business background, doing my degree in Management in the U.S. and then working for a startup in New York, I never thought I’d end up doing creative writing and pursue a path in this field. I loved New York and my job there so I was planning to build my life in the U.S. until some unexpected life events changed my whole outlook. I decided to leave those dreams behind and pursue an unknown path.

On a whim, I took a flight to Peru in South America and embarked on a life altering journey, firstly traveling around as a back-packer doing odd jobs and eventually ending up with an indigenous community in the Amazon Jungle, where I was forced to face my fears and darkness.

I was so inspired by my experience in the jungle and travels around Peru that I had to share them with others and so I found myself writing my first book “Dream Beyond Shadows”.

  • Can you tell us more about your book Dream Beyond Shadows?

Dream Beyond Shadows is a book written in a narrative form using my personal life story as inspiration then further drawing on the elements of travel, literature and philosophy to create a tale that reflects on our world as it is today. The intention of the book is not only to speak directly to the readers hearts but also make them feel vulnerable and truly compelled by the vivid emotions that I draw on and depict in the story. It is a mystical story that is raw and based on real experiences and takes the reader on a journey through New York City, the Amazon Jungle, and the Andean mountains of Peru.

  • What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?

The greatest challenge as a young writer in India is the lack of support you receive pursuing your art, because unfortunately most people don’t appreciate the creative fields in our society.  Most people are only interested in making money and other short-term goals, therefore, there is no real platform for writers or artists who struggle to make a living pursuing their craft. It’s sad to see India, now one of the world’s largest economies with such a rich creative and cultural heritage, not appreciating the talents of its young people from the artistic fields.

I believe pursuing lavish economic riches is a pointless exercise if we still can’t support creative expression. I believe this because if humans aren’t aspiring to be free and liberated within themselves then we are missing the whole point of this lifetime. Without the expression of our gifts, without living a life that excites and inspires us, then we become little more than glorified robots just existing within someone else’s idea of what life should look and feel like. Even though I have had to fight every step of the way to further my growth as a person and an artist, I am compelled to try and share the benefits I’ve experienced becoming free from society’s conditions with other young people.

  • How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?

I have one of those personalities that when I put my mind to writing I isolate myself and dedicate my time and efforts to that one pursuit. I am not easily distracted and I follow the idea that consistency and a simple routine slowly builds a book one day at a time. I don’t count the hours but if I think about it I tend to write between 5 to 8 hours a day when I’m in the full writing mode.

  • What did you like to read when you were a boy?

I read anything I could get my hands on when I was younger. There wasn’t one particular genre that I stuck to but I always liked reading stories where I could imagine myself in the storyline and which inspired me to think in different ways and expanded my outlook on life and myself.

  • In the age of internet, e-publishing and 140-character stories, how do you manage to stay relevant? 

I think the key to staying relevant is to understand the real problems and struggles that people are facing today. So, I believe that for any artist or writer the most important thing is to express themselves in a simple way so that people can relate on a practical level. There are pros and cons to technology and as wise individuals it’s on us to use it in a positive and genuine way. When we use it consciously, and not as an instrument for propaganda and brain washing, technology is a great medium to connect with a wider audience and can be a tool to know ourselves better and become wiser.

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