Podcast: Travelling and Writing with Kiran Bhat

Today, I’m talking with Kiran Bhat, the author of We of the Forsaken World, an avid traveller who’s visited more than 130 countries, and a polyglot who speaks 12 languages. Let’s find out about his thoughts and insights on writing and travelling.

Ronatal: Hi, Kiran, thank you so much for being here.

Kiran: Thank you for inviting me.

Ronatal: All right, I’m gonna talk a little bit first about, you know, the places you’ve visited. I know that you’ve travelled to more than 130 countries, which is amazing. What made you decide to become an avid traveller?

Kiran: I think for me, my interest in travel has always been linked to my interest as a writer. I think we’re living in a more interconnected digitalised era, in which people from all kinds of … spaces of … the planet, able to ally culturally, locally, socially. So for me, I wanted to create a space in … for more this globalised … a space in which we can kind of imagine a literature from this kind of more non-topography aligned context. So for me, I wanted to travel so that I could get a better sense of understanding the world. And to be able to also create honest … depiction of the space that I happened to be living in or visiting, or just happening to be observing. So for me travel—it’s also been a little bit of an escapism. I guess I like being in a space where I don’t have to—I mean….you know, trying to avoid a little bit of the things that made me who I am. But these days, it’s more linked to kind of wanting to be in different spaces, wanting to kind of observe different kinds of communities—create spaces for people from other communities, to drag the communities, to kind of connect the world.  

Ronatal: I see, OK, I’d like to ask you about your experience as an author. I know that you’ve published a few books. What sort of writing are you mainly focused on? And why?

Kiran: I guess we could say literary experimental. I think I like to use fiction of … as a means to kind of explore, you know, this kind of more connected side key. Or the spaces from which people from different cultural spaces, connected to this kind of digital interface that we live now, as well as this kind of more unifying globe and this understanding. So for me, ….it’s attempts to kind of create this vision in different forms. Usually, my fiction is more direct with that. With poetry, I like to experiment, because I speak 12 languages, and I like to kind of experiment with different versions of—like, say, Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese. So I like to use them—languages as a space to experiment.

Ronatal: All right, interesting, I know that you’ve been to so many places around the world, this means that you’ve been exposed immensely to diversity. How significant is your exposure to diverse cultures for your writing and creative process?

Kiran: I think it depends—it’s hard to say. It’ll always be superficial compared to someone born and brought up in that area of the world. Conversely, I also assume that it’s not going to be as easy as someone like from my position…everything about every place. But, I’m happy with what I’ve learned. I’m happy with what I’m learning. I see it more as a process in my fiction—attempts to learn languages, as that an attempt not necessarily that I have…down. Rather than just my attempt to connect—to push myself beyond the limits of my nationality to connect with people from other contexts, races, cultures, communities.

Ronatal: Let’s talk a little bit about, you know, the pandemic and lockdown. So last year, when the pandemic hit, I believe you mustn’t have travelled a lot overseas. How did lockdown impact you as a writer and a traveller?

Kiran: I was alright, because last year I was in Australia as you know doing a course. I didn’t have much to do in the first place, to get my study done….and it was great because it was something digital event as well, so I just did so many digital stuff. So for me, I’m happy without a lockdown—when I think this year a little bit different.  ….So the world of COVID…is so different. But for me, it’s okay—I mean I guess being in Mexico, being in Australia, ….it’s still travelling, right? It’s just a long …

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