Recently, I was introduced to Punam Chadha-Joseph, whose poetry collection The Soulful Seeker was published some time back. Punam has completed her Bachelors in Economics (Honours) from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and her post-graduation from the prestigious Oberoi School of Hotel Management in Delhi. This was followed by a 5-year stint in Food and Beverage and Sales and Marketing at the Hotel Oberoi Towers in Mumbai. Post that, she took up an Account Management position with top advertising agencies like Lintas and Mudra, spearheading campaigns for many prestigious brands. She met her husband Sabbas Joseph, the Founder-Director of Wizcraft, India’s pioneer event management agency, during her work. They have a 21-year-old son Rohan and a 17-year-old daughter Rhea, both of whom are studying.
How was your childhood?
Simple, fun, exciting and care-free. I read a lot, participated in sports, debating, elocution and dramatics and held Sports and House Captain Positions in school. My parents were strict about discipline, but also gave me the freedom to explore, experiment and be independent.
Did you ever think as a child that you would publish a book of your own poems?
Never! In fact even now, it was the encouragement of my family and friends that almost pushed me into it.
What inspired you to write The Soulful Seeker?
Honestly, I’d never thought of penning a book or a book of poems. Chronologically, it all started with a flurry of emails exchanged between school friends from across the world, as we re-connected with one another and the goings-on in each of our lives. Every morning was a delight to wake-up to many, many interesting mails and replies flying across with equal speed and enthusiasm. And somehow even before I knew it, I was writing and replying in rhyme and getting applauded for the same. Poetic replies from a few friends made it even more fun and as they encouraged me, I was inspired to start writing poetry beyond just the emails. These poems I would share with near and dear ones and occasionally on Facebook, eliciting totally unexpected praise. And finally since I had a fairly large collection, I was encouraged to approach a publisher. Ajay Mago of Om Books International said an almost immediate “yes” after hearing me read out just a couple of poems and so The Soulful Seeker was born.
What else is in the offing?
A book of poems for children based on loving and protecting the environment, is ready for publication. I’m hopeful that poems which are a little more relevant and meaningful can add to, if not replace the done-to-death poems and sometimes fairly meaningless ones that many of us grew up with. And since I continue to write regularly as and when inspiration strikes, there’s already a second collection coming together.
Do you plan to write prose or a novel?
Yes, hopefully some day. My editor is extremely keen that I experiment with writing stories too as soon as possible.
What do you do in your free time?
I read a lot, sketch, sew, make hand-made jewelry, watch television and whenever the opportunity presents itself, I travel. I dabbled in a business of artifacts too in my company called Artifactors.
Where do you see yourself 10 years hence?
That’s a tough one… Life is so unpredictable and ever-changing and when you’re a creative person, it could take you anywhere. Of course, I do hope to publish many more books in that time period, both for adults and children and also develop as an artist as I’m very keen to take up water colour painting.