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Revisiting Roots – a session with Mr. Amandeep Sandhu

In our school’s first ever literature festival, I got the wonderful opportunity to interview Mr. Amandeep Sandhu, an author, who has written books like the Sepia Leaves and Roll of Honor, who joined us in a discussion about his life and his experiences in the writing industry.

He began by talking about the importance of writing, how it has been our mode of conversation for millennials and has now been taken over by OTT platforms and cinema. He also said that “one needs to be madly driven to be a writer.”

Over an in-depth discussion on Sepia Leaves, his first book, he talked about how his father played an important role in his 20-year long career (he has even given acknowledgements to his father in his latest book). Like a true author, he painted a vivid image of his early life, his dysfunctional family and how he found home in books like Cha-cha Chaudhary and Tintin, all of which contributed to him writing the book.

Mr. Sandhu also emphasized on the importance of doing what you are truly passionate about, and how luckily for him, his father had never told him to become a certain thing in an era when every other parent did.

Through his wise words, he talked about how in order to write, one must have financial security and at the same time, never depend on someone for money, for that teaches you discipline.

At the beginning of each book, he would face issues like writer’s block and would be disheartened quite often, as “he lost his words, his vocabulary” but through the book, he “tried to build it up again”.

His latest book, Punjab: Journey Through Fault Lines, was an attempt to find his true roots, and how living outside his home state had left him curious to know more about his people, and his culture. He traveled from 2015 to 2017 across Punjab to know, learn and see more. He believes that “language gives you dignity” and that “we all live in stories”. For him, writing is documenting the truth and leaving it as evidence for those who wish to learn more.

He adds that he never ran after fame, and in fact he finds pleasure when he has impacted more people. His book was in fact picked up by many journalists during the beginning to the Farmer’s Protest to actually understand what’s happening in the state. When asked by one of our students on how he deals with dejection of his books, Mr. Sandhu simply said – patience.

He also spoke about his articles for the Caravan and the Hindu, some of which he is really proud of. He shared tips, saying that we must know what type of articles such magazines want, understand who works how, and we most definitely should have a pitch.

It was a one hour that left us with so much knowledge, wisdom, and advice, that we were truly overwhelmed by the end of it. Mr. Amandeep Sandhu gave us a beautiful, unfiltered insight to his life, and we are grateful for that!

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