Kohima: Living in a technology-driven world, e-books and audible books have become a convenient, cheaper and easily accessible mode of storytelling. However, in Nagaland, which has only a handful of writers, Vishü Rita Krocha is keeping the book-reading culture alive.
Krocha, a prominent author herself, is fulfilling the dreams of many Naga writers, besides bringing several untold stories from this part of the world to life, through her home-based PenThrill Publication House.
An author, entrepreneur, publisher and journalist, Krocha followed her storytelling dreams ever since she realised her passion in writing at the age of 21 years. She published her first book, Echoes of Spring, which she co-authored with her sister, Agnes, in 2008. The book carried a foreword by one of India’s most prolific writers — Ruskin Bond.
Speaking with EastMojo, Krocha spoke about how it all began. “When I first started writing, I had no idea that I could turn it into a career because when I was growing up nobody talked about writing as a profession. It was when I self-published a few books of mine that I started to realise the need to further help writers like myself to find a platform for their work,” recalled the 36-year-old author.
Hailing from Zhavame village under Phek district, Krocha established PenThrill, a home-based publication house in Kohima, which was named by her sister. She quit full-time journalism in 2013 and dived solo into the publishing business with zero knowledge in marketing.
“And so, with no savings, I ventured into publishing for the sole love of books and writing. There were many things that I had learned from scratch and whole lot of experience. But overall, it has been a really fulfilling journey. Just to be able to make a writer’s dream come true is absolutely rewarding,” Krocha said.
Being a one-woman army, Krocha has published 21 books by 25 authors under her publication house. Knowing the right direction she’s headed to, she said: “One of the greatest challenges is doing everything myself. Although I outsource a lot of major works like editing and designing, there are still a lot of minor details that go into the process of making a book. Sometimes you don’t always enjoy those but at the end of the day, being able to fulfill a writer’s dream and also being able to bring forward stories which are untold keep me going.”
Proficient in balancing her profession, she revealed her secret, “I think storytelling is at the core of journalism, writing and publishing. Also, feeling the need to tell and preserve stories has enabled me to pursue all of that with vigour.”
When asked about her opinion on the status of Naga literature, she said: “Coming from a tradition of oral literature, I think it has taken us a while to actually start documenting our stories and putting them together in a written form. I think we are not quite there yet, but I would like to believe that we have come a long way, especially in the last couple of years we have seen a lot of writers coming up with books. At the pace that we are going it gives me a lot of hope for the future of literature in Nagaland.”
A conventional reader, Krocha enjoys the feel of books and sets target of the number of books she reads in a year. With a target of 50 books for this year, Krocha is currently reading the 16th book, excluding the books which she publishes. Emphasising on the importance of reading books, she said: “The only way to write is to read books and write.”
Krocha’s message to aspiring writers is to keep writing, write from the heart and “everything else will follow”.
Reading ‘Booker Prize’ authors for the past two years has made her realise that “good books are those which, even after reading, positively teach you and leave an impact on you”, she added.
In 2018, Krocha authored Yearnings, which was the last book published by her publication house for the year.
Besides reading and writing, Krocha said that, besides photography, her newfound interest is in growing ornamental trees. She recalled a book-shopping spree in 2017 at a Delhi bazaar where she brought 80 books after spending a whole day of picking and selecting. And while JM Coetzee is her all-time favourite author, Haruki Murakami, Rohington Mistry, Ian McEwan, Harper Lee, Markus Zusak, Arundhati Roy and James Fray are some other authors she looks up to.