Contemporary Literary Review India | eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 3, No 2: CLRI May 2016

An Interview with Captain Kunal Narayan Uniyal


Q1. Tell us something about yourself… What does it take to be a poet.?

First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to interact with all, through this interview. Well, all I can say about me is that I was always a poet, since I started writing from my childhood days. Be it nature, river, clouds, humans and beauty, all used to inspire me to write something about them, some beautiful words, which can define their presence to all. My very first poems being love, relations and death. I did my schooling from St Thomas College, Dehradun one of the most prestigious institutions in India. After that, I got selected for a marine academy in Chennai where I received my initial training and then joined sea as deck cadet, immediately after passing out of the academy. I was 18 then and with that my journey with sea, life and nature began. 12 years down the line I am a ship captain, commanding huge ships over vast oceans traversing through pirates, cyclones. But that poet was always alive in me, wherever, whenever I used to go which ultimately led to composition of poems which formed part of my book.

Poet, I believe is in all of us, the only difference is some are able to revive it from its shell. I always tell people I am a captain by profession and a poet by passion and nothing gives more satisfaction in penning down your thoughts about beauty and disgrace of things, which actually needs attention but we avoid it just because of the lack of approach.

Q2. “Kuch Khwab Sagar Se” is the name of your book. Why did you choose this title”?

Since most of the poems were written at sea and I always believe that we are in a dreamland called earth, so these dreams which have taken form of poems by the grace of almighty were named “Kuch Khwab Sagar Se”. Serene, calm, composed oceans are most inspiring, as its just you and your pure thoughts. Thus, slowly and steadily these dreams were plucked out of gardens of life and presented to the world, deriving its name. In fact, if you see the cover page of my book, it’s a real photograph taken while the vessel was crossing South China Sea. The ship is shown emerging out of a rainbow, that is what is “Kuch Khwab Sagar Se”.

Q3. Tell us something about your book.

The book is published by Immortal Doon Publications which has a good number of beautiful collections of books under its credit. Preface of the book has been written by a famous novelist Mr Gurudeep Khurana while the poems have been edited by a famous film critic Mr Manmohan Chaddha. There are total 27 poems which deal with different aspects and emotions in human life and in the after-life. While poems like “Mere Humdum”, Ëk Prem Tumse Kiya”, “Meri Ek Kahani Thi”are romantic in their true sense, poems like “Ma”, “Janani” and “Himani” are about a bond between mother and child. “Samay Ka Pahiya”, “Brahmaprakash” and “Kya Hai Sach Jeevan Ka” will force you to find true meaning of your presence while the most appreciated poem “Yudh Kar”inspired from Bhagwad Gita will revive that hidden warrior in you.

Grab a copy, sit in a shack on a sea shore and you will surely enjoy all the poems.

Q4. A merchant Navy Officer turned into a poet. Tell us your journey so far and how does it feel to be a poet?

You can take a man out of poems but never a poet out of a man. This is what I truly believe. I would like to share an incidence with you while I was sailing. Our ship got trapped between two passing cyclones and it was rolling and pitching heavily. All ship crew were running here and there, scared for their lives but I stood there on top very relaxed and composed, enjoying the battering of weather. My captain came to me and asked me why I was smiling, I said, “Sir, mother nature is trying to embrace us by waves and winds, and we stupid humans are trying to save ourselves from such beauty of love”.

“You can take a man out of poems but never a poet out of a man. This is what I truly believe.”

This whole incidence describes, a difference between a Captain and a poet. Journey to this level from captain to poet, has definitely been filled with doldrums but each person, place, wrath of nature I met were all experiences which have taken form of poems and have found place in my books. Each poem is inspired from real event or people, which you can easily find out after reading the book.

Q5. How does it feel when you called by French people in France and you were awarded with prizes?

O wow, the feeling was amazing. Actually, one of my friend is in France. After I got my book published, I sent few poems to her. She translated them to French and the poems were circulated among the literary circles. All the authors were quite impressed by the spirituality and they wanted me to come to France for a literary meet. I was sponsored by this organization “House of life” for various events. I was felicitated by the organization and the rotary club for my contribution to the world peace, through my spiritual work. They decided to get my poems translated to French and get them published. So right now, the translation is in progress and soon we will have a French translation of my book.

On coming back to India, I was felicitated by Nautical institute, London on 11th march 2014. My book is placed in Sahitya Academy, New Delhi and Rastrapati Bhawan, Library.

Q6. What type of poems you love to write? Do you have a recurring type?

Well, if you ask me what kind of poetry I write, I cover all subjects be it romance, affection, war, politics but I mostly like writing spiritual poems, poems to discover your true self, poems about return to consciousness, poems about death and after. My upcoming English poems book Sparrow In The Mirror contains mostly spiritual poems dealing with our conscious discovery, what is journey after death, who we really are and finding that supreme being residing deep within us.

Q7. Do you read books and poems. Which is your favorite Author?

I love reading books and poems and I always believe that everything will leave you one day but never your books since you might not have them physically but they will always be in your heart and mind, once you have read them. I wouldn’t really like to point out towards particular authors, since I love reading all but Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri has truly inspired me spiritually. I enjoy William Wordsworth’s poems on nature while Keats symphony with sadness. But nothing can surpass Boris Polevoy’s novel The Real Man and Maxim Gorki’s The Mother.

Q8. What has been your inspiration?

My true inspiration has been my father who has truly inculcated that spiritual sense in me since I was very young. I always believe that it was my father who has always inspired me to write poems since he himself write poems. And of course life and sea has inspired me to be one with all and ultimately be one with myself.

Q9. What style of poetry do you prefer (Sonnet, Ryming, Freestyle)

Initially I started with ryming but slowly and gradually I realized that by trying to rhyme, I am shackling myself and preventing those beautiful thoughts from coming out. These days I am doing free stlye along with prose poetry.

Q10. What has been the response of your book?

Response to my book has been remarkable not only in India but abroad also, that too when it is in Hindi. My book was released by honourable speaker of Vidhan Sabha Mr Govind Singh Kunjwal and Spritual guru Swami Ashutosh Anand. Forty-two newspapers and eight news channels covered my book launch. I was interviewed by four newspapers including likes of Hindustan Times and Amar Ujala. An excellent review for the book was carried out by Danik Jagran. My book is available in all major websites Flipcart, Infibeam, Bookadda and many other book stores. I even got a call from Rastrapati Bhawan asking a copy for my book to be placed in their library. So much of love and appreciation for my first book, was truly amazing for me

Q11. How do you feel when your book was published? How was your experience with your publisher?

Getting my first book published was equivalent to getting my first job at sea. I was completely new to the field and knew nothing about book publishing. All I knew was how to express my thoughts in the form of words. Luckily, Immortal Doon Publication liked my poems and decided to get them published hardbound. And so was born “Kuch Khwab Sagar Se”. I am really thankful to my publisher for all the help and time they spared in crafting an idol out of a rock.

Q12. How are you promoting your book? What are your marketing strategy?

I often get interview request from newspapers. I have approached my local radio station and channels for an interview and is hopeful that soon it will be done. I have even applied for a dialogue at a literary event in Gurgaon to be held next month. There a Facebook page dedicated only for my book, where keen readers can get insight into what is latest in my book and what is an upcoming event. I often request people who read my book to spare some time to review it on Flipcart and Infibeam. Rest, all I can say if you write good, it will speak volumes in itself and will reach wider audience.

Q13. Tell us something about your next book?

My next book Sparrow In The Mirror is an English poetry book, which deals mostly in spirituality. You will find answers to all your questions be it maya, death, immortality, approach towards yourself all bringing us closer to us. This book will give deeper insight about Indian spirituality and its practices to people everywhere. To summarize the book one of the poem says

“Wings need to be chipped, feathers need to be clipped, this pain need be taken, to steal this body from the mortal reigns

Let the body float in this thin, mystified air of lord, who picks us from this bond of death no rain will wet you, no pain will shiver you, this worldly life will be finally lost

o lord just hold me tight, let me be pulled to your land, where no wing is known, no rain to drench me, just you cuddle this bird, with so sweet your touch”

Q14. What message you would like to share with the aspiring authors?

Keep writing, no matter what people say or feel about you. Just write because you have been blessed with the gift of writing and it need to be gifted to the world in the form of your writing. Write to make this world a better place to live, to bring peace, love, serenity and blessings to the world.

Himani Gupta is an avid reader. She has reviewed numerous books and helped authors in marketing of their books. She conducts interviews with authors.

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