An interview with Anurag Minus Verma

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.

I am a writer and a filmmaker based in India. I have made several short films and documentaries in the past. This is the first time I am publishing a book which contains poems which I am writing since last 6 years.

Tell us about the title of this book. Why have you chosen this title?

A few years ago I have started writing a short story called Love in the time of Pokemon which was about two lovers meeting randomly on the street of a new city. However, I couldn’t complete the story as I felt that this was not fit for short story medium so I converted into a poem. The title Love in the time of Pokemon also symbolizes love in the contemporary time. I am interested in a contemporary urban world which comes with its own shades of loneliness, love, humor and confusion.

Why do you write?

To make sense of random events which have happened or to make sense of events which never happened. In a nutshell, writing gives meaning to my existence. It’s important for me to write.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I am obsessed with a good smell which is an important part of getting inspirations from.

Sometimes I burn incense stick in my dingy room to get a certain kind of kick to start writing. My mother became very happy by believing that I have finally become a religious person. Often, I listen to one song in the loop entire day so that I don’t  get out of a specific mood. I end up listening to the same song for more than 50 times a day sometimes.

Which authors, or books have influenced you?

If I name one author then that would be Charles Bukowski. I love the way he incorporates sadness and humor in a detached form. There isn’t any hint of sentimentality crying for your sympathy but yet they move you in a certain raw way.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Fante, Alberto Moravia, Rajkamal Choudhary are also among my other favorite authors.

During my young angst ridden days I was fond of Albert Camus, Sartre, Hermann Hesse.Not anymore though.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

I am a new author too so not sure if I have any valuable advice with me. But I can only say that finish the book which you have always dreamt of writing. A book which is somewhere within you and you don’t know how to articulate or tell someone about it. Start by typing some random words on your laptop but write it. Slowly let the whole process overwhelm you until words just come out and all that nostalgia which has so far been piling up in your head is finally out there shining on paper. You’ll be surprised at how much healing process writing can be.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?

1. White nights – Dostoevsky

2. Pleasure of damned – Charles Bukowski

3. Ask the dust -John Fante

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

By my mentor Amit Dutta: “Please do not ignore the fact that even in a dismal situation, human beings tend to find beauty and happiness; this is a very important point and you may consider it for your work”