Author Rashmi Nambiar takes us through the journey of her life, her passion for writing and her latest book, Jugunuye
Sometimes, your mind is occupied with something, but your heart lies somewhere else.
Rashmi Nambiar had a flourishing career as an HR consultant when her heart wanted her to pursue her long lost passion for writing. She has written extensively for radio and print. Her stories are down to earth and come with a touch of Indian rural life. She beautifully narrates human emotions with simplicity and charisma. She is an author who loves to paint a picture through her narrations.
Her first audio novel, Jugnuye will be releasing on May 5th on Storytel. Rashmi has also worked on the screenplay of a Hindi feature film She loves spending time with her family, friends and her pet, Fenny, when not scribbling with her pen.
BananiVista is overwhelmed to talk to Rashmi about her book, Jugnuye and her thoughts on Hindi literature and other contemporary Indian authors.
A quote that inspires you:
Rashmi Nambiar: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou
BananiVista: What inspired you to start writing or was this a childhood passion?
Rashmi Nambiar: Writing just happened to me. I would not call it a childhood passion, but yes when my Father got a transfer to a picturesque town called Noamundi, I started writing poems in English in my single rule copy with a red cover. I called it my diary.
Once I got into plus two, the diary was forgotten. However a few years back my daughter retrieved it from some pile of books at my parent’s place. Both of us sat down and went through it, we read, we brooded, we laughed till the tears of delight went rolling down my cheeks.
Prose writing happened 6 years back. I was taking some time off my career in HR and started scribbling one paragraph love stories on Facebook. And this time it was surprisingly in Hindi. I give credit to people around me who wanted me to write more. A friend Anu Singh Choudhary introduced me to a show on Big FM called “Yaadon ka Idiot Box with Neelesh Misra”. Soon, I was writing short stories for the show.
BananiVista: What books inspired you to write?
Rashmi Nambiar: Bibhutibhusan’s “Aprajito “ which is the 2nd part of the Apu trilogy. I finished the book and the visuals that the book had created, stayed with me forever. It made me understand how important is visual writing. By then, I was already idolizing “My Story” by Kamala Das and to me, she was a woman writer with a grit, the metaphors that she used in her book were simple yet impactful.
Apart from the paperbacks, translated and adapted (English and Hindi) stories of Rabindranath Tagore and Sharat Chand Chattopadhyay had left a huge emotional impact on my mind. The stories were of people around us, I often used to try and fit people whom I knew the characters in the books.
I started writing about these people. Rural India fascinated me to no end and I was writing fictions set in these backdrops.
BananiVista: How and when did you take up Hindi writing? What do you feel about its readership?
Rashmi Nambiar: I had read a lot of Hindi classics while in school but never tried my hand at writing in Hindi as being from the Bihar and Bengal border, I had a little-crooked grammar.
It was years later when I started writing I felt more comfortable in Hindi than in English. Strangely, I thought in English and wrote in Hindi. The grammar started to straighten up, though I still feel it is not at absolute 180degree even now.
Hindi has a huge readership. Most of the north, east and west India has grown up reading the Hindi classics and the Hindi magazines. It is sad but true that we do not have too many contemporary Hindi writers who can generate interest in contemporary literature.
BananiVista: Tell us something about your upcoming title, Jugnuye.
Rashmi Nambiar: This is the story of three women from the lower middle-class segment of our society who decide to make their own life rather than languishing in the mediocrity they were born into. In this journey, they fight not only against the social and financial odds but also with their own emotions, inner demons, their past and their sexuality.
Jugnuye is about creating awareness about the light within us, which often helps us in the dark times. To me, success is not about becoming a celebrity, or driving a business empire to the crore or even clearing the most prestigious exam of the country. I feel that it is about achieving even a small dream, however irrelevant it might be to the people around us. So, would also call it a success story of these three women.
BananiVista: What is your take on contemporary authors in India? Who inspires you among them?
Rashmi Nambiar: The literary scene in India is very exciting. Never explored avenues like audiobooks, digital publishing, etc. have not only expanded the “reader” base, but also have created a new genre of writers. Writers have always been the mirror and shaper of society. While nostalgia plays a vital role in gaining readership, utopia and dystopia have drawn out different segments and layers of Readership.
There are writers like Vikram Seth, Kiran Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri amongst many, who gave us the courage to follow writing as a profession. Personally, classics of Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Renu, Amrita Pritam are still my go to books.
As far as the question of inspiration, Mr. Neelesh Misra, who is an ace storyteller, a brilliant writer and a Visionary and under whose tutelage I learned the nitty-gritty of the craft has been instrumental in mentoring me in my journey as an author.
BananiVista: How do you feel that women authors have evolved in India?
Rashmi Nambiar: Contemporary women authors are the successors of the illustrious line which had Kamla Das, Amrita Preetam, Toru Dutt, Mahadevi Verma, Mahasweta Devi, Ismat Chughtai amongst many others and I think they are doing a very good job. New horizons are being explored, they are vocal about society, brutally honest about emotions and unapologetically direct about issues pegging us.
BananiVista: Are you planning for similar titles in Hindi in the future?
Rashmi Nambiar: I am currently working on 2 more Audio novels with Storytel. I am involved in Screenplay writing for a feature film and also drawing concepts and script for some projects. And all these are in Hindi.
BananiVista: A piece of advice for our budding authors in the country, especially who want to write in Hindi.
Rashmi Nambiar: It is very easy to be a writer, but it is extremely difficult to write. Be prepared to toil for hours and have nothing to show for your efforts. Be ready to write-erase-write-give up-write cycle. There will be heartbreaks and disappointments, there shall be failures and if you can live with this, then only put your pen to paper.
I firmly believe in the philosophy of Benjamin Franklin, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
BananiVista wishes her more success and milestones in her journey as an author.
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