This week at Daastan, we are interviewing another emerging and promising poetess, Ozma Mushtaque. Stay with us and get to know about Ozma and her book in her own words.
Meet Ozma Mushtaque
Ozma Mushtaque is a teacher by profession but an artist at heart. She loves to read, write, do poetry recitals. Moreover, she is a huge fan of theatre. Ozma dreams of performing in the theatre one day. As an individual she is someone who loves to explore life with all its complications, and tries to make the best out of it.
“I love to inspire and be a positive influence for the people around me.”
“The realm of darkness” is Ozma’s debut poetry collection. Currently, she is working on a screenplay and a short stories collection.
The Realm of Darkness
The book, “The Realm of Darkness”, is a collection of poems that carry diversity in it, it covers almost every human emotion. The poems are full of life, vigor, energy and spirit. The poetess seems to be doing all the efforts to infuse a positive energy into the readers. You go through various colors and moods reading this collection. In addition, each time you find yourself relating to the situation in numerous ways. The poems have a breath of freshness for a mind that long has been gloomy.
This book will be a driving force for people who have lost motivation in life owing to some bad life experiences. It has got the power to lift up the souls, that have long lost interest in life. More precisely, the book bears a healing power. For the words seen coming from a broken heart instead of getting shattered decided to collect all the broken pieces and started a new journey of helping others heal.
What has inspired you to write?
‘First of all, life itself. Secondly, Urdu literature too has had a deep influence on my life. I was drawn to the world of books from an early age. Moreover, having literature majors helped me explore work around the world era wise. It has helped me to understand humans. The major inspirations so far have been Manto, Mazhar ul Islam, Sylvia Plath and Emily Brontë. You might find some references or similarities in my works. Another inspiration for my poetry is death. Death has always inspired me since my teens. For me, it is the beginning of a new life rather than an end. This has kept me upright in my life despite the struggles that life continues to throw.’
What made you think of taking up such a dark theme? Is it personal at any level?
‘Very personal I would say, as it carves out all the struggles that I have been through in different phases. Furthermore, I believe most of us experience a dark phase in life, no matter how brief it may be. My work is an ode and a catharsis of those dark times. However, it also tries to send a message that “after every night, there is dawn”. Therefore, do not lose hope and just keep on going.’
Is there any hope in your work?
Yes, not very much evident, but it is there. You just need to see through it. I am an optimistic person, so I have high hopes. I never wanted my work to be a dead end rather I want it to tell you how you need to draw strength from within yourself. You need to trust yourself to fight the world and make your mark. Don’t let people tell you that you are non-existent or your presence doesn’t matter. It is you who is going to make sure that you exist with everything. Accept your low times and then move forward with more strength.
How do you see life through your work?
‘Shattered, falling down and getting up on my feet without compromising myself. Life through my work seems dark, which might put some people off or discourage them, but then “how would you know the importance of light without darkness?” Darkness helps in self realisation. It makes you aware of your purpose in life. It helps you to contemplate on your part. No one can come and tell you who you are. It’s your journey to explore yourself.’
“Darkness is not a dead end, it prepares you for the worst and makes you stronger and brave to face the cruel world.”
Ozma Mushtaque talks about Daastan
‘Pakistani authors face a lot of publishing problems due to various reasons. They do not have enough support or platform to launch themselves. Since Daastan has been a pioneer in taking this matter in their hands, they make sure that our young writers do not suffer. The best thing about Dastaan is that it lets you be who you are. There are no restrictions for the writers or the content. That is why recently there has been a surge in the publishing industry and the themes have been quite different.’
Ozma Mushtaque shares her reading preferences
‘I have deep interest in philosophical work, historical fiction and sufism. Other than horror, I can read anything for pleasure. The authors whose works that I absolutely love are Ibn e Khildun, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrision, Khushwant Singh, Bapsi Sidhwa, Arundhati Roy, Fehmida Riaz, and Kishwar Naheed.’
Message for audience
‘Try to find what your soul wants. A peaceful soul can make you happy with the minimum. Do not underestimate your abilities no matter whatever happens. Be like a plant which is equally useful when it’s not alive. Stay positive and always trust yourself. You will get through the hard times.’
We hope you enjoyed this candid conversation with Ozma Mushtaque. For more literary goodness, stay tuned!