We recently reviewed Hureen Saghar Gandhi’s book, Page 6 and Beyond, and today we will be asking her a few questions regarding her life, love and her book.
So without any further ado, here’s the interview with Hureen Saghar Gandhi.
BP: Professional photography is something that has amazed me for a long time, so I’ll be starting with that. When did you realize that photography was your calling? Were you always interested in photography, or was it a case of accidental love?
HSG: I guess I was always an artist at heart. Nature, colors, people and their stories fascinated me as a child growing up. It was just a matter of time that I got hold of the right tools to address my interests. I got my first DSLR camera when I had my children and I fell in love with capturing them, their stories and henceforth extended my love to do Lifestyle photography professionally. My travel adventures further enhanced my interest to capture nature as well as travel stories.
BP: Photographers always have to come up with new and innovative ways to shoot a picture, so, how do you manage? Do ideas come to you naturally or does it take a good number of thought sessions?
HSG: There are two ways I approach:
When I do photography to pursue my hobby, I let the inspiration to sink in as I capture nature and travel stories that pique my interest. When I shoot people, it’s spontaneous and I love to get them by surprise.
When I do professional photography, it’s the combination of what my clients need and what I do well to align with both of our visions. Innovation in photography is a constant need. There are incredible inspirations out there on the web. I love to experiment with various lens, props, and locations in different seasons to get my shots.
BP: We know about a writer’s block, when a writer can’t come up with things to write about, does a photography block exist?
HSG: Haha! Never thought to see it in terms of a photography block. Yes! It very much exists. Most of the time you overcome the hurdle by changing your perspective ( trying to look at things from a different angle) just as one would do in real life situations. I believe.
But most of the times it’s not you, it’s them! 😉
Sometimes the photography block could be the right amount of light and none of the living things in your picture.
I took the above picture in Reykjavik, Iceland. Sun Voyager aka dreamboat is artwork on public display on the city’s waterfront. It was quite a popular tourist place where children and adults both loved getting their pictures in front and climbing on to the top of the structure. It was a work of patience, few requests to strangers and fiddling with correct light settings as the sun played hide and seek, that I finally got this long exposure shot done.
And sometimes they are your client –
BP: Your book, Page 6 and beyond, revolves around a WhatsApp column that you write. How did the group come into being?
HSG: Thanks! I thought you would never ask ☺ !
The Page 6 column I write is for my school WhatsApp group. We are around 50 people in the group. However, the “007 For Your Eyes Only” WhatsApp group is where and how the story began…
I am going to quote from the prologue of my book mostly because that’s exactly how it all began!!!
BP: Was everyone supportive about revealing the details of their personal lives in front of their ex school mates, or is it more of a secret spy thing?
HSG: When I was writing this book none of my classmates were aware. After I finished my first draft, the first ones to know about it was my spy gang 007 the first initiators of the Page 6 column. They were surprised ( Is this for real?), thrilled, and very supportive. Irrespective of the way they felt being represented in the book they were all of the opinions that it’s my book and as an author, I should have the flexibility to represent them however I feel in the book without their tweaks. Their responses were further echoed by my other classmates whom I was able to connect later with the news that they are in my book. There were only two major complaints. One was about the name I had chosen for them. ( Many wanted to go by their original names). The second was their unhappiness with the spice level I had applied to their character’s role. ( Some provided further masala for their character)
BP: In Page 6 and beyond, we get to read all about those funny, and at times, embarrassing stories that happen in the group. How do you think the people on which those stories are based, will react when they read the book and realize that it’s them?
HSG: As I mentioned earlier, all of my classmates knew what stories I had used about them before I published it. It was quite an experience connecting with each of them in their different time zones of the world as well as different zones of their lives. Apart from the knowledge that they were in my book, they were all very surprised to learn my point of view of their stories and idiosyncrasies. They were intrigued and excited about my new venture involving them. It was a fascinating experience learning how each person views themselves quite different from others.
BP: I am halfway through your book, I know Mr. Gandhi, I know Ms. Elder Gandhi, I know Ms. Little Gandhi, and will it give away spoilers if I ask, who is Ms. Lady Half? The person who always has a “you can do it” response to you self-doubts.
HSG: No not at all! Ms. Lady Half is portrayed on my book cover page as a superwoman emoji. Pretty much explains her role! She is named Ms. Lady Half as we view life quite differently. My character derives a sense of balance from her. In later part of my book, her character appears as someone who wants to achieve everything and do everything in life and that she derives a great sense of satisfaction in making it happen on her own terms. She is admirable and at the same time drains all your energy level out. A constant inspiration that keeps my funnybones tickling.
BP: You have tried messing up with Siri, to keep the watch exactly 13 minutes ahead of time. Though you did not succeed, is there a special reason why you tried it in the first place?
HSG: I wish there was some fancy story to tell connecting unlucky number 13 to my 13 minutes story. On the contrary, the story behind it is actually quite practical. When my youngest daughter started school, I soon realized the time variation that resulted each day from the time she finally narrowed down on right outfit to wear to school and get in the car to leave was a delay of an average of 13 minutes. By keeping my watch ahead by 13 minutes, it gave me an edge and more control over things in my head to get her to school on time.
BP: A homemaker, a business owner and a column writer, so many roles, one single person. What do you do to unwind yourself from time to time?
HSG: Unwinding is easy. Nopes it’s not asking Siri to do my laundry! I love to browse or rather hunt for my next travel destination. Just thinking travel is therapeutic. And when travel is not on my mind I love to read a book or catch up on a conversation with family and friends.
BP: Tell us about the book that you hated/disliked the most. Did you finish the book or leave it in between? (Please include details like, name of the book, who suggested it, why you thought of reading it, why you disliked it)
HSG: Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. I came across this book recommendation on Facebook. One of my friends listed it as a life-changing book. It’s not my genre to read but I wanted to try something different. I got it to read on my flight to India. Never knew my trip will be so painful and emotionally heart wrenching. This book is based in Russia and has a WWII setting where cities were toppling and people were dying. I mostly enjoy books that have a happy ending or a hopeful message or things to get resolved at the end. This book had an agonizing love triangle under the most excruciating circumstances. If the love between the protagonists and the living conditions of the people were not distressing enough, the war resulted in starvation and death of the family members one after the another. The writer it seemed tried her best to squeeze together all the painful elements of nature in these 600 plus pages and she sure succeeded with her description. I wanted to stop in the middle especially when the war was at its peak and being in love unendurable. However, I was determined to find out how it all ends and I sure completed this book.
BP: If ever asked for a good piece of advice, something that you have learnt from life, what would your response be?
HSG: Live every moment! Life happens when you are busy making plans!!!
Love unconditionally! It’s the secret to happiness!!!
Work hard! Laugh harder!!!
And that’s a wrap!
We are thankful towards Hureen Saghar Gandhi for being patient with us and our questions. It’s usually a treat when the author we interview is interesting and Mrs Gandhi was definitely amazing.
Interviewed By- Banaja Prakashini
Find Hureen Saghar Gandhi’s books on Amazon
About Hureen Saghar Gandhi-
Hureen Saghar Gandhi lives with her husband and their two wonderful daughters in Northern Virginia. She savors her ever-growing collection of memories from her travel escapades and meeting people from all around the world.
Hureen Saghar Gandhi’s passion lies in capturing the moments(that may get lost in time) through her camera lens. And recently through her writing, she humorously brings to life her fond memories.