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 I am returning to my blog site after a long time. My last post was seven months earlier when it was early days of lockdown in the US and other countries. It has been a status quo; the situation continued at pretty much the same pace except that now we see hope of welcoming the new year with a smile and a sense of victory over corona with the discovery of vaccines. This being the last day of the year 2020, it is only fitting that I write a closing post of this year.
This year is marked as a Covid 19 year. There is perhaps none in the world who would call it anything other than that. In the fight against corona the world was united like no other time. Covid 19 touched and impacted almost everyone’s life in every different way. We all will have our own stories to tell in the coming years as to how and in what all ways this year changed our lives.
This year forced us to look at life with a fresh perspective. It allowed us to self-reflect, rediscover, and reinvent ourselves, to appreciate small pleasures of life, cherish the time spent with friends and kin. There was a silver lining to many as they learnt new ways of living and working. Working from home people learnt to accommodate their time and space with their family members. Many even recorded how their habits of shopping changed for the better or worse or how they learnt to cut down their festival expenses.
For many people around the world, it was a year of loss, loss of jobs and earning, loss of lives of near and dear ones. As much the way simple pleasures of life became precious, meaning of death too changed. In the pandemic deaths being recorded every day, their loss for near and dear ones was just another number added to the overall count. There were also cases of unclaimed bodies lying in the hospitals’ corners. Those dying dignified non-corona deaths could also not get a proper send off with rituals and ceremonies owing to social distancing and other restrictions.
Covid 19 changed things for me too in some very unexpected ways. I can mark 2020 as the year I discovered my talent in new genres of writing. Most importantly I finished the fiction novel, a medical thriller that I had been writing since many years. But what made it more special was I finished writing on the same desk I had begun it years ago in my home in Singapore. This is how Covid 19 change the course of our journey back home to India.
Three years after relocating to India from Singapore we found ourselves back in the city and our residence which was our home for twenty long years. The year demonstrated to us what it means to be citizens or permanent residents of a country, especially so when the world is hit by a pandemic. It showed what it is like to have a choice of having a home, with all the features of safety and security, in a country which is not necessarily of your birth. It made us rediscover and reinforce the fact that a passport or a PR stamp mean much more than just papers in situations like this. Well, the whole matter deserves a separate post.
For now, Bye 2020 and Welcome the New Year 2021

My experiences of being an author

Republished from authorlata@instagram published on 6th June 19.

The journey to becoming an author starts with becoming first a reader, then a writer and finally an author. When I decided to take up writing as a second career, becoming an author appeared a distant dream. I had always been an avid reader but honing the craft of creative writing entailed skills such as good grasp over English language through vocabulary, expression, voice, writing process, writers’ block and other related terms that I was totally unfamiliar with. Coming from science and engineering research background I would often be plagued with self-doubts about my competence level in the new career that I was stepping into. My research attribute held me in good stead and the writers’ school I enrolled into introduced me to the world of writing and trained me slowly and steadily in improving my craft.

My first success came when my travel article was published in a Singapore magazine for Indians. I couldn’t believe my eyes when next I saw my readers’ letter published in a Newsweek magazine. My discipline and perseverance were paying off and my articles were being accepted and published by the Singapore magazine. I had become a published writer and my confidence level was soaring; however, having set my goal to achieve something bigger and having already started work on a non-fiction book and another on fictional stories, I wanted to focus on completing them and getting them published. 
Writing books was altogether a different ballgame. The journey was indeed trodden with few highs and many lows with their respective pleasures and pains. Writing a book itself was a big challenge and finding a publisher a much bigger one. The yearly Singapore’s writers’ festivals and frequent meet the author sessions gave the opportunity to listen to some of the world’s best including celebrated Indian authors, and their writing journeys. It was though an assurance that I wasn’t alone in the treacherous path, “I am not there yet” was a mantra that seemed I had to adapt for life.

There is no gain without pain. Going on the rough road, nevertheless, today I feel happy to see my books on online bookstores like Amazon, Goodreads, and read some excellent reviews by readers. Writing is a profession that is not limited by time, space or geographical location but only by our mind’s imagination and of course will power. While in my home or on a move, in a hotel room, or an airport, anywhere in the world, on an urge I have felt free to open my PC and write even if a few sentences. It was a surreal moment when an excerpt from my book ‘Autumn Showers”, a story revolving around my ancestral village in South India I read was heard in rapt attention by writers gathered in northern tip of Iceland for a writers’ retreat. That my ideas and message could resonate with people across the world could only be the magic of writing.

I know I am not there yet, still awaiting the day of being widely recognized as an author. At the same time, we writers and authors would agree that there is never an end to our journey. There is no day when I wouldn’t be thinking of a new idea or a writing process or on something that I am stuck in what I am currently writing. In this crazy human world, a writer’s mind is sure to buzz with ideas and build a world of her own. The ability to put in perspective of the things I see and understand with a heart and mind to empathize with those around me, is for me my precious gift from becoming a writer. In other words, continuous learning and rediscovering myself, a work that I could be doing till my last breath.