Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I come from a family of nature lovers. My grandfather T. H. Tehsin was one of the first big game hunters turned conservationists of India. He was a contemporary of Jim Corbett. I spent my childhood treading the Aravali jungles with my naturalist father Dr. Raza H. Tehsin who is fondly known as the Vasco de Gama of Mewar forests. As a child, I was often found trying to catch a snake or spin a yarn. I grew up to be a storyteller and was appointed the Hon. Wildlife Warden of Udaipur for a term. I write fiction and non-fiction books for children and young adults (mainly on wildlife) and columns, articles and travelogues for various national dailies and magazines. A dreamer and rationalist, I am a serial traveller who wants to go on an endless journey starting with planet earth. Yes, yes, I know, it is a bit irrational for a rationalist.
Tell us about your current projects
My book Iora and the Quest of Five is a fantasy novel based in a rainforest. I am writing sequels to the book and am done writing four novels. Currently working on this series, which will be a total of 6-7 books.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Aditya, my partner, is the one who pushed and convinced me to take my writing more seriously. My biggest challenge was overcoming my inertia. But once I began writing, there was no looking back.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
Following what I love to do.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I am doing all that I ever wanted to do – working in wildlife conservation with my father, writing stories and poems and books, travelling to new places, watching movies and having a good time. I don’t know what I’d do if I were not doing what I do now!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My father. His selfless, single-handed and single-minded determination and efforts to conserve and protect the wildlife and forests, even if it was from the state machinery, made me believe anything was possible.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope it holds a lot of travels to lands I haven’t been before.
And living many lives – those of Iora – the resident of Twitterland, the limping Munia, Beetle Agogwe who wraps his beard around him in a cloth like fashion, the orphaned Ayan, the lost hyena Bon-Bon and myriad of other characters who are yet to be born.
About Arefa Tehsin –
Arefa Tehsin is an author of fiction and non-fiction books, traveller, columnist and the ex-honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur. She contributes columns, features and travelogues to national dailies and magazines like The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Outlook Money and TerraGreen. She has written several fiction and non-fiction books like Iora & the Quest of Five, Do Tigers Drink Blood and 13 Other Mysteries of Nature, The Land of the Setting Sun and Other Nature Tales, The Elephant Bird (a picture book in 6 languages) and Tales from the Wild. Wild in the Backyard is her latest book published by Penguin India. Her book The Land of the Setting Sun & Other Nature Tales has recently been taken up as a textbook for grade 6 by the acclaimed Ecole Mondiale World School, Mumbai.