Wed. Oct 16th, 2019

An interview with JK’s youngest publishing house owner

Sobia Khatoon

Triggered sorrows is a book by an author Saraf Ali about a typical student from a small town Pampore , Kashmir leaving home for studies with all the elements that remind us of other students out of home. With conditions growing worse, most of the parents from the valley prefer to have their children out of state so they could study uninterruptedly. We see same happening with Saraf, who in his book highlights many of the problems students face when they are out of home, by his own real life experience. The sharpness of the characters of the book remind us of someone similar we all have seen in our lives. It’s a nostalgic ride into his journey full of sorrows. Saraf Ali is a publisher turned author cum computer science student who runs a publishing house which goes by the name Helping Hands Publishing House which publishes and ships book globally. As a student who left home he believes that books written for a cause prove to be productive and create a great impact. In his first book, The Smile Worth A Billion Poems, the synopsis of the book are revealed from his real life experiences. Archives from in an interview in his book release at Café X Baghat, Srinagar , when he was asked what inspired him to write a book full of poems and some short themes dedicated to a girl he supposed not to name, he replied, “I wrote for her most of my time. So it seemed natural that my first book should be for her.” Despite his simple manner of answering he took a long breath and shock everyone saying “ When I approached her , she was quite simple to not have me more than a friend so to save myself from heartbreaking I decided to use fiction based poetry to create an ending that would preserve my hopes.”
Here we go.
Q.What literary pilgrimages have you gone for? And what inspired you to get trapped in this field?
A. Luck didn’t favour me going to the place where a Muslim wants to die, where Moses and as great Prophets desired to be born. Still but I’ve been to places of values and norms.. I’ve visited almost all the Sufi shrines who there and then kept spreading love by their religious approach. I’ve been always inspired by what they did and what they wrote.
Q. How did you get the idea of opening a publishing house and what did you do with your first advance?
A. In my writing journey I faced a lot of rejections about the particular genre I wrote about. Not letting other beings to go through the same I thereby decided to publish the works of those unheard voices that were truely worthwhile. I came up all alone with no one as a part of it but lately had a good helping team among whom Cealice, an Alaskan book reviewer is a part.
Q . How did your family react when they came to know about the writer in you?
A .My family had no idea about all my publishing venture but they came to know me through print and electronic media. My father had an extra supportive arm and helped me over, my mother proved to be a good part adding much of support to all of this going on. Moreover both of my maternal uncles supported me morally which proved a great change in my writing journey.
Q. How did you balance making demands on the reader while taking care of the reader?
A. Being unaware of what a published author stands for I first wrote as I wanted to but then came to know that writing is not only about what we want to write it’s also about what readers want to read.
Q. Now that you are running a free publishing house as well what is the most unethical practice in publishing industry?
A. Speaking on my behalf as a writer I just am not satisfied with the costly packages most of the publishing houses come up with.
Q. Do you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
~Writing under a pseudonym was what great writers of their ages did. I’ll love to switch to a pseudonym when I fell I’m worth of consideration.
Q. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
A. Tragedy in my writing journey never befell me but ya it was a good tragidic time for me to get published.
Q. Do you try to be more original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. I always like to be a truthful as I can but most of the readers hinder in believing that because we live an era where fiction is mostly liked of all geners.
Q. As one of the youngest writers of valley, what do you suggest the other ones who want to follow the same passion?
A. I don’t know of others but yes publishing journey starts with receiving, reviewing and refining the manuscripts one is likely to get so their house publishes at its best.
Q. living in a war torn place, do you believe in pen being mightier than sword?
A. Kashmir is not in that era where writing is a full time profession so taking it as an advice I need their artistic sense to take it as a passion not profession.
Q. Where do you see yourself in next years? Say ten.
~In next 10 years, I see myself enjoying on a beach of Miami with my wife having two of three of my kids in my lap who do like to hear tales from their father’s written books, which is a sign of a very good successful life.

( The interviewer is a Student of SRM Welkin School Sopore)


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