Once in a while you come across a book that has the power to pierce through your heart. A Monster Calls is one such book. Written by Patrick Ness, it is a story about a young boy with an ailing mother at home. It covers a range of somewhat difficult topics ranging from death to guilt.
I Write to Deliver Some Smiles and Perspective - Varunika Rajput
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From blogging during the lockdown to winning writing contests, Varunika Rajput has sailed a long way to writing and publishing her first book ‘Women and Their World’ – a collection of seven short stories. Here’s chatting with the young author.
I think I am dating both motherhood and writing at the same time..
We had asked who Varunika is; and look, how beautifully she has summed up all her parts!
Mother to two gregarious girls and wife to a skillful sailor, you will find me chasing my kids like a phantom mother throughout the week. The weekends, however, are spent in the company of a good book, my camaraderie with a pen and the smell of freshly baked cakes in my oven.
I am my children’s laughter that echoes around the house, the taste of my food that lingers in their mouth and mind for days, and the mess that makes my house a home.
I am the companion I am to my loved ones, the shoulder, and the hope I lend to someone.
I am your friend and the foe to your foe.
I am the tears in my eyes, the pain in my heart and I am also the resurrection.
I am the coffee I brew and the wine that I offer.
I am the books that I read, the ones that I have written and the ones that I will be writing.
I am the summation of a bit of this and a bit of that.
I write because it brings joy to my soul
The fact that lockdowns during Covid-19 served as a boon to few is further conveyed through Varunika’s journey and evolution from a blogger to a published author.
I started writing in 2020, when the pandemic hit us badly. I began blogging on the brilliant platform of MOMSPRESSO, purely out of a desire to connect with the outside world. Slowly, my blogs started garnering a lot of praise, appreciation, and views. That gave me confidence and motivation to write more and to write better. One thing led to another. I started participating in contests and workshops. Lost some, won a few. And somewhere in 2021 the book called out to me. I couldn’t ignore the calling.
‘Women and their World’ – Let’s get to know more about the book
The idea to write a book was planted in my mind by my elder daughter when she saw that my blogs were doing well, and writing made me happy. I just nurtured it well, followed my heart and that’s how the book happened.
I think the stories chose me. I also believe the story always chooses the writer.
Varunika’s first book is a collection of seven short stories. It is a difficult choice, but we asked about her favourite story from the book.
Although people have chosen other stories as their favorite, the one that I love most is SOME OTHER TIME. Even though the main character is in doldrums and angst, the story ends with a smile on her face. As my own critique I think I have done well in that story.
The book highlights the good, bad, and ugly of being a middle class Indian woman
I think the relatability quotient is very high. And that should stand out in a reader’s mind. Also, the stories don’t necessarily end on a happy note. Because they just snippet a woman’s life which is not always pleasant.
On balancing writing and a large chunk of parenthood..
Varunika’s husband is a sailor and mostly away for work. She is raising two very young daughters and managing the household while writing.
I would love to hand out a schedule but honestly I can’t. Time is truly a luxury for me. Because my husband is a sailor, I have had to raise my two girls single handedly, and who still require a lot of handholding. They’re just 4 and 7! So, I do what I can do. On weekdays, I put them to bed early and squeeze in an hour or two. On weekends, I wake up early and write as much as I can. I write when they head for free play together. With schools opening, I am in a more comfortable space now. But the book happened while they were dancing around me! Both my love interests (writing and motherhood) seem to nag me occasionally, but I am learning to get better at both!
Writing ritual – I have a fetish for books and mugs!
When I sit down to write, the first thing I ensure is that a huge mug of tea/ Coffee is in front of me. And the kind of mug varies with the mood of the story I am about to work on. And I ensure I have a few books neatly stacked on my desk. I like to have a view! Without the two I find it difficult to proceed. That’s a ritual I follow religiously.
Varunika’s favourite writers
When I was a teenager books like ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘Great Expectations’ made a huge impact on me. Ruskin Bond was always a favourite courtesy our common love for hills. Then I got introduced to the works of Ayn Rand, Khaled Hosseini, Malcolm Gladwell, and I fell in love with their writing genius. In recent times I have developed a strong affinity for Anita Nair and Asha Iyer Kumar. I think they are both brilliant with the characters they create, especially women.
Write more, write better
Though not an expert, all I can advise is this:
Be in sync with your thoughts and yourself. It gets challenging on the way. Clarity is a must. Read as often as possible and write every day.
Research well before considering whether to self-publish or going the traditional way.
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They say that sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination. This couldn’t have been truer for Buddha. The world today knows him as