Rajesh Hendre on his latest book ‘Shakespeare chya Deshatil Kavi’

Rajesh Hendre, a writer by choice and an engineer by profession leads us on a journey of the forgotten era when English playwrights and their work were looked at as a celebrated form of art and entertainment.

Born into an academically inclined family, he spent his early life in Junnar, a small town in the north of Pune. Even after working as an engineer, he continued his pursuit of learning and loving English literature. After 15 years of corporate service, he left his job to follow his passion for writing.

Presently, he is working in editing department at Lokmat. In this new book ‘Shakespeare chya Deshatil Kavi’  he introduces us to a few English poets and their lives. He has written many feature articles and was an active playwright during his college days. He has written poems on Kusumagraj, a well known poet in Marathi, and was appreciated by the poet for his sensual style of writing and his creative bent of mind. Here Rajesh shares with us some insights about his new book.

The concept is quite unusual and different. How did the idea of writing the book come about?

Well, it came about as a random thought when I was talking to my friend, Pradip Niphadkar,

Just like old times, we were having chai and chatting about random stuff, when he spoke about poets and their works of art. He said, “There is no perceived significance as to how a poet’s life influences his art form. If there was a way we would have known, we could appreciate their poems in completely different manner.” As a rejoinder I shared some unknown incidents from the lives of Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Walter Releigh, Byron and, Hardy. I didn’t think about it after our meeting, but, Pradip did not forget. Months later, Pradip left his job and went on to publish his own magazine ‘KavyaDeep.’ He asked me to write a feature article, for his magazine, on one of the poets and his lifestyle. The article had a good response, and he asked me to contribute regularly to his magazine. I went on to further develop this collection into a book.

Can you tell us a little more about the reason for choosing this subject?

One thing that the world deserves to know is how similar we are to them. Yet, what impact these people have made to the lives of people centuries later is unknown. Today, we  learn their works and research them. But, when these poets & writers lived, they were not valued much. People deserve to know their story, and simply glorifying them for their work is not enough. We need to understand the real depths of their work and that can happen only when people understand the personality completely.

How did you go about writing this book?

As much as a cliche it may sound now, only when I wrote my own book did I understand why writers call their books, their babies. Well, similarly, this one is close to my heart. Whilst, researching, I have put all my effort into being authentic and I have detailed each and every fact I could find about them. This was hard-work. It is not easy to just find the facts and write about them. The tediousness was in checking the authenticity of those facts. For example, there will be many who will claim that after Geoffrey Chaucer, the world did not find a good poet for over a century. However, when it came to finding out if this was a fact, it was difficult to validate this point. Through this book, I have experienced much. As I was unfolding their stories and hardships, I was reliving the Elizabethan age in my own way.

What can we learn from these poets?

Oh there is much that I have written in the book. And as you get to know them, you are bound to get involved with them as you read. These poets were just like us, but still very different. These poets have enjoyed life, have faced failures, risen from ashes and then gone back to being anonymous. Likewise, we have heard many stories of famous personalities losing fame and prosperity. Yet it did not deter their spirit of writing. Their poems acquaint us with the beauty of the world, the tragedy of  society, and in some cases, the monologues they had with nature. Whilst they wrote their masterpieces, they also enjoyed the pleasures of life. There was Byron who was a known Casanova. Women threw themselves at him. His charisma and his way with words made many fall in love with him. There were no flings or tragic denials but they loved him with pure love and from their heart. Then there was Sir Milton whom very few know has written most of his work after he became blind. Or the fact that Shakespeare was a revered playwright, and was also well known for his sonnets in his times. 

Is there more to Rajesh other than books and writing?

I am a very simple person as such. And if you ask me what more? Well, this is all that is to me. I am passionate about writing. Its the reason I left my well paying  job that afforded me a good lifestyle and became a dedicated full-time writer.