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Books and Beyond: Meet Anchale, the author of Extra Decaf, a microbiologist and an art lover

Sheryl Thomas Happy Stories

Think about poetry and try to remember when was the last time you read a poem? We’ve all spent endless days discussing about Shakespeare and his sonnets in our school days. But as we grew older, Poetry became a thing of the past and we lost the connection with words. On my time of Earth, I was looking through books to read and stumbled on this beautifully illustrated book with a coffee cover. This book was nothing like what we used to get in Boomerang and it was filled with all the earthiness. “Words can heal a soul”, says Anchale A, the author of Extra Decaf, a conceptual poetry book. Find out more about her and the book as we walk through with a few questions.

Could you tell us something more about you?

I am a 25-year-old, going through the obvious mid-life crisis. Currently working in a Bio-Pharma in Sydney as a Microbiologist. Almost 2 years since working full-time, but finding it hard to believe that I am a working 'woman'.

I was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Translocated to Chennai, when I was 3 years old due to the civil war and now I claim Chennai as 'home'.

How did you first discover about your passion in life?

I'm passionate about almost everything that can make you smile. I always knew that making at least one person smile in a day gave me so much energy. 

I'm passionate about cookies though. Hahaha!

What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your life?

My fur balls. LEO in 2012 and then RAY in 2016.

Do you remember when you first started penning?

Grade 6. I wrote poems about a bumble bee and sloth bear, and made cartoons next to it and coloured them. Mum still has them!

What inspired you to write your first book "Extra Decaf"?

I was depressed. I wanted to divert myself. That's when I started writing. But the book, as such, was solely my sister's idea and encouragement, and also my amazing friends, who I proudly call my family.

How did you deal with writer's block when you wrote your first book?

When I was writing the book, I never really went through a writers block. Although, I am currently going through it in exponential levels.

During my book, it was very natural. The best of my poems were written during travelling or while walking home from the train station.

Can you share with us about your favourite moments when you penned your book?

Shooting for the book! 'Extra Decaf' is a conceptual poetry book and my friends (who became my models), and I had so much fun shooting for it. Also, the one where mom went to collect the books from the publisher when the book was due for release. 

Apart from writing, what other activities are you involved in?

I paint a bit, I dance randomly in random places, I travel and love working. The best thing that I love doing is volunteering with Down’s Syndrome Australia. I have some amazing friends there.

Do you plan on becoming a full time writer anytime?

After I turn 70. Hahahahahah. Right now, I want to try my hand at so many things.

What is your ultimate goal in life? What do you want to be?

I want to have a house full of dogs or start up a home for dogs. This has been my long time dream. I am not fixated on where I want to be. I love going with the flow!

What are your favourite hobbies?

Learning new things! I paint and write to detox myself though. I also love to travel. 

You should have definitely heard reviews about your book. Can you share your most favourite one?

Only the most recent review is on top of my head but this could easily be my favourite too. This was from my childhood friend, who I grew up with for most of my life. He lives in India now. He messaged 'Some of the best lines I have heard in a long time. I read it out loud several times'. This was for my Whatsapp DP, where I had kept a short snippet of my piece. Made me so happy to hear from him after ages.

What is poetry according to you?

What is poetry to you?

Is it you

Getting lost for words

Between lines of my stretch marks?

And folds of my love handles, a big fat clause.

Or

It is my

Half cooked, Fully charred smell

During my period,

When i binge eat chocolate truffle

And you look at me 

Like im the best damn thing in the world.

What is poetry to you?

Is it you watering the 

Tresses of my roots

And holding all my nerves

In a bundle, 

Just to paralyse me with love?

Or

Is it me bleeding periodically to 

Watch the sky conceive the lightening

That strikes

When the corner of your lips

Curve into a smile?

What is poetry to you?

Is it you last night

Drunk in whiskey

Or drunk in love,

I don't know;

Looking like Michael Faudet's poetry?

Or

Is it the sexiness oozing out my eyes 

At every meeting of my thighs

When I dance

Like I've conquered the world

But, failing to notice that you're slowly conquering my world?

What is poetry to you?

Is it me

Watching you

Fold your love in a gum wrapper

And tuck it under your chair to give

It life balance

Or 

Is it you

Watching me

Performing today on this stage,

Obviously oblivious of lovers we could be.

 

I don't have a definite definition for that. I don't think poetry has rules (except for some grammar and punctuation).

Are you working on your second book? If yes, can you give us a heads up about it?

Yes. That would be about Sri Lanka

Who has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to writing?

My Appa. Forever. Appa was a journalist before and I grew up watching him write. Although, I have never read his books and I doubt he has read mine, I love how he could glue people to his words.

I have another inspiration too! Shyam Selvadurai- Canadian SriLankan novelist, homosexual, award winner. I by chance read his book called 'Funny Boy'. This book takes as its theme the coming of age of a young homosexual man amidst communal conflict in 1970s and 1980s Sri Lanka.

Any advice for all the budding writers out there?

Write with all the confidence that you can conquer. Your words will never ever go wrong. 

For more updates on her next book, impromptu poetry and crazy inspiration, check out her Instagram handle: extra_decaf.

To get yourself a copy of Extra Decaf, shop from Amazon

 



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