My Bookish Date With Aziz

Author: Aditi Syal

My Bookish Date With Aziz

Just after Aziz finished handing me over a signed copy of Broken Verses, I jumped from my couch with excitement and ended up bombarding him with these....

Aziz, tell us a little about yourself. Who is Aziz?

AZIZ: I am a wanderer. I love exploring, but not only in a physical sense but also in my thoughts. As you have probably gathered from my writing, I enjoy exploring feelings derived from various emotions, and I try to reason with them, sometimes it’s hard to get an answer for a WHY? Or a WHAT IF? and put them in words, feelings that can’t be easily expressed.

How long have you been writing poetry? When did you write your first poem? How old were you?

AZIZ: I started writing when I was 12 or 13. I was a total daydreamer. I remember in my school days I could easily get lost in imagination and be in an entirely different world. I remember composing poems in my mind without writing them. Sometimes I used to scribble couplets and quartets at the back of a textbook or a notebook - it used to be funny stuff that would rhyme. The girls used to love it, and I would cherish their attention. I Unfortunately couldn't save them.

Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

AZIZ: Around 4 or 5, I became aware of creativity and art. I fell for fine arts and most of all, writing. But, I also belonged from a family of storytellers, and the way they spoke and told stories rubbed off on me. I perceived the “art” of what they did when they told stories, recounted gossips, or reminisced. And, I loved these stories, loved listening to them.
Also, singing and music had a dominant place in our household. So, early on, I came to understand intuitively that art was not simply a static thing on a page or canvas, but something dynamic, something spoken and sung, something enacted.

I belonged from a family of storytellers, and the way they spoke and told stories rubbed off on me.

What does 'being creative' mean to you?

AZIZ: For me, creativity is quite simply the inherent impulse and desire which resides within all of us to form something new from the bits of scratch — experiences, memories, observations — that we encounter in mundane chores.
Being creative isn’t something that only happens when I assemble my thoughts to write. It’s a way of being and perceiving that’s infused throughout my life. How I look upwards towards the white sky of a winter day, how I savor the food that I eat, or how my body is moved by the improvisational riffs of a jazz song—these are all creative experiences. In that sense, for me, creativity is an activity, a way of being, and a way of looking at or perceiving the world and my own place within it.

Which poets have inspired you? Do you feel yourself ever influenced by the writing style of a poet?

AZIZ: I have an extensive list of favorite poets. Some of them are Kabir, Tulsidas, Ghalib, Rumi, Rabindranath Tagore, Iqbal, Faiz, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Khalil Gibran, Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, C.P. Cavafy, Joseph Brodsky, among others.
I particularly like the writing style of Kabir who says so much in few words. I ardently love Robert Frost’s work and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is closest to my heart and its recital till date fills me up with a whirlwind of emotions. I love the easy flow of Walt Whitman’s prose-verse. I like Yeats. I love his love of language, his flow. I am influenced, consciously or unconsciously by all of them.

Tell us more about Broken Verses, what made you chose that title?

AZIZ: ‘Broken Verses’ are a compilation of emotions taking the form of poems. They all revolve around love. Many poets are blamed for portraying a rosy side of love in their poems. With ‘Broken Verses’ I have tried to explore the world of a man who falls in love and numerous emotions and situations he crosses by. I have tried to give shape to those feelings which many of us go through but can't express. The feelings that have never been expressed before. Every poem in this book is an exploration of the love that left us but did not quite leave us. 

I have tried to give shape to those feelings which many of us go through but can't express.

I chose ‘Broken Verses’ as the title because I am used to writing thoughts and feeling as and when it happens to me and I leave them in bits and pieces and I later revisit them and stitch them together into a poem. So, you see all my poems were just broken verses until they got formed into a poem.

We've read the book and loved all the poems in it. Also amongst our teammates, the poems ‘Terrorist’ and ’The Cage’ were the ones we loved the most. Which one’s your personal favorite?

AZIZ: They all are my favorite, but if I have to pick one out, it would be ‘The Date’.  

What goes on in Aziz's mind when he's writing?

AZIZ: When I start writing poetry, I feel as if I'm using a completely different part of my mind - a part with little predictability and a lot of feeling and emotion. A lot of my writing is the result of things that have transpired in my life - both good and bad. I revisit every memory and incident and focus on how I felt and I try to write it simply on the paper. My poems are not exactly my own story but it’s a shared experience I feel.

It sounds like through penning down these poems you managed to achieve some sort of closure with your harsh experiences. Is that true? 

AZIZ: Writing poems has helped me turn around my perspective about life. It made me realize that holding emotions inside is a plague. Writing has helped me vomit out cancer elements and it's a trick other should adopt, it really works.

How often do you write? People say poetry writing needs time; best words come out in leisure. How do you manage your time to write and work?

AZIZ: I remember writing poems while travelling in the train on my excursion to Ahmadabad or visiting a monument in Delhi. Poetry can hit you anytime. You have to be ready to receive them. I cut down on watching TV or other mumbo jumbos to focus on my reading and writing whenever I get an opportunity. I have cultivated the art of writing poetry in the middle of a meeting, intervals, in the crowded Mumbai locals and in vain.

What is your message to the young poets who are willing to explore the new dimensions of creative writing?

AZIZ: I would like to urge younger poets to publish their works in reputed poetry magazines first and then only publish a collection of poems. Please do not rush to publish a book. There is not much scope of making money out of poetry writing, most of the time poets have to struggle to get a book published. Therefore, I would urge young poets to find a daily job to meet their mundane needs and write poetry to meet their spiritual needs.
I would like to advise them to keep a notebook, record your observations, learn poetic devices such as the use of metaphors, rhymes, poetic forms, etc. There is no perfect poem. Every poem is an attempt towards perfection. 

Every poem can be improved. Try writing a poem but never stop making an attempt to improvise on it, revise it, before you send it for publication.

So, what are you planning next, tell us what’s in store for us?

AZIZ: I am working on a book but it’s too early to discuss it. I want to take some time with this one and let’s see how it turns out to be. Meanwhile, I'd urge you to grab a copy of my precious compilation that's available on,, Flipkart and Snapdeal. I can also be reached out at in case of questions and suggestions you may have. Further, I'd love to know your thoughts for what you would want me to capture next. 

Thanks Aziz for sparing time and showing me around the coolest beaches in Bombay. I had a lovely stay and flew back to Delhi capturing moments and wisdom. On behalf of Vocabberry, I, Aditi Syal, wish you luck and success in every stage of life. Hope 'Broken Verses' Sails, Sells and Swears.

Signing off!!

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