Monday, November 18, 2013

Pravin Shastri – Meet This Well Known Gujarati Story Writer

Dear Paavan Jethava,

First of all my congratulations to you. You have a unique vision to serve the Gujarati Language, its literature and the writers. I do not consider myself a person of literature, and am just a story writer.

This is how it started…

When I was in my SSC year (1957) I wrote one Gujarati Story “Paagalni PreyasIo,” (પાગલની પ્રેયસીઅો) which I sent to “Nav Vidhan”(નવવિધાન) weekly magazine. The editor of the magazine liked that story, and this became my first published story. 'વીલ' 'રાહતને રાહે' 'સાભાર પરત' 'સ્ટ્રૉબેરીનો પ્રસાદ' 'દહીંવડાના શુકન' 'ભુરુ કવર' received a very encouraging review. 

Within two years I wrote about fifteen stories. I paid a heavy penalty for my overboard interest in writing. I lost my inter-science year. Being the son of a retired primary school teacher, my goal should be to finish my education and start to earn money to support my family. I used to teach students to earn my college expense. I gave up participating in drama, classical music, Kavi Samelans, and story writing. I did not read any literature and I did not write any stories. It was 1959.

After completing my collage I Received a B.Sc. degree in chemistry, the subject which I did not like and hated. Surprisingly I have worked in a laboratory my whole life.
After graduation I worked for about six months in a school as a teacher. I then worked for BRC Corp. until 1968. I went to London and worked in a British railway research laboratory for two and a half years. In 1968 in response to a friend’s request I wrote a drama called “Juli Na Chakkarama” “.જૂલીના ચક્કરમાં”

I migrated to the USA in 1970 and worked in a different laboratory. In addition, I was busy in establishing myself and my family, and sometimes I had worked two jobs. From 1976 to 2008 I worked in R&D of Engelhard Corporation which was taken over by BASF Corporation.

I was away from Gujarati reading and writing for all those years. I did not know the names of well-known Gujarati writers and their books.  I then retired. I was busy working all my life. Retirement created a very uncomfortable vacuum in my daily life. What should I do? What can I do?

My wife suggested getting some Gujarati novels from the library and to start reading. We went to the GUJARAT DARPAN library in Iselin, New Jersey and talked to the owner and editor of the monthly magazine. He encouraged me to start writing. I wrote first story  'સ્પેસ' after almost half a century, without knowing the current trend in Gujarati literature and the big names of its creators.  Yes, this is the turning point in my life in retirement life. Most of my stories are based on the American life of the Indian community.

My Novel SWETA - "શ્વેતા" – was published in 2011.

It is said that before you start writing you must read, read and read. Unfortunately I cannot read as much as I want to. But I do read my friends’ posts on their Gujarati blogs. However, now I am reading and learning more than ever.  

I write to keep my mind busy. I only write for two monthly magazines “Gujarat Darpan” and “Tiranga in New Jersey” both of which are in New Jersey. Some of my stories have been published in “MAMATA” magazine. I write for my blog. At the time of this writing I have posted 67 stories. I am new in the blog world.  There are so many things about blog and computer-related technology which I don’t know or understand. I have to learn many things. My friends that blog and my grand children are helping me.

As for my personal life, I was born in 1939 and grew up in Surat. Now I am retired, as previously stated, and have been married to my wife Yogini for 50 years. I have 2 children, a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren who keep me young.

Pravinkant M. Shastri

6 Saveria Court. Howell, NJ 07731

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Cell Phone:    01-732-804-8045

I am really thankful to +Pravinkant Shastri to give us his time to all us - Paavan Jethava