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Becoming a mother inspired Akshata Ram to start writing, and today, there is no stopping her. Meet this author who is blessed enough to have never faced Writer’s Block!
Akshata Ram is not just prolific but an instinctive judge of using the personal to write about experiences that matter deeply to a lot of women.
Here at Women’s Web, and on her own blog, you can find her writing on a range of issues, but especially on topics such as being a working mother, and women and the weight of judgements and expectations.
Akshata Ram is one of our 3 featured authors in June 2017. (Every month, we will be picking 3 exceptional authors to feature, who have inspired and delighted our readers).
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
Writing for me is a great source of inner peace and contentment. It is also a good stressbuster as it helps channelize my thoughts and energy towards something productive and the sheer bliss after I complete a post is what makes it so rewarding. I look around and there are so many things to tell- in form of fictional stories or a hard hitting post raising some valid questions.
I would never imagined that writing will one day become my passion. We are often asked this question in the corporate world- what will you do when you retire or if you were given a sabbatical, and I always wondered what is that one thing which will make every day worthwhile. I am elated to have found my answer finally.
When and how did you first begin writing?
Writing to me came when I least expected it. I have always been a voracious reader but had never imagined I could ever write.
When I became a mom and my little one was just about 2 months old, I had started reading a lot of parenting blogs. At the same time I was fighting some inner demons as a new mum who felt she is not capable of handling her child and the fact that I was bottle feeding my daughter had taken a severe toll on my confidence level and I kept questioning myself if I am a good Mom.
I looked for solace over the net but strangely I only found non-Indian moms share their stories on bottle feeding. Though I was scared of being ostracized and it took a lot of courage to put down my personal story as a bottle feeding mom, I wrote down my story, the guilt and finally fighting it and emerging victorious. I published it on Women’s web and the response quite took me by surprise. There were many moms who related to it and the breast feeding moms were empathetic as well. It was heartening to hear that a few of them who were reeling under the same guilt which I was facing a few months earlier, found solace and strength in my story.
That was the start and there has been no looking back after that.
Do you have a muse?
My muse is writing about women as I feel there are so many stories to tell. Every other day I wake up and read something good or horrific in newspapers, my chats with my mom who is a great source of inspiration reveals new facets about women, then I go to work and meet a lot of women in the workplace. There are so many stories, some hidden, some evident which need to be told. I interact with my blogger friends, read posts, participate in tweet chats and that gives me food for thought.
Women have come a long way from the olden times, they are educated, independent but are they truly liberated? Not all of them especially in our country, but I do hope to see that one day. Meanwhile I keep writing my stories hopeful that it inspires some and as they tell me in their comments or personal messages that they will bring a change in their personal situation, I earnestly hope they do. That will mean inching one step closer in our quest for true freedom
Where do you get your ideas from?
One thing that I consider myself lucky about is that I have never faced this state called Writer’s Block. There are at least 2-3 ideas floating in my mind at a given time. The only constraint for me is time as weekdays I am at work for 10 hours a day and with a toddler at home that leaves me with time only on weekends when my daughter is asleep to find time for writing.
My ideas come mostly from observing people around or something I read in the newspaper or a conversation with a friend. I revel in writing fiction and micro fiction is something I discovered recently and absolutely enjoy- having a good imagination and memory power help in writing. At times when talking with someone I recall an incident related to it which might have occurred 10 years ago and lo! There’s my new post.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
Most of my pieces are always women centric and talk quite openly about the biases women face, what stops them from truly achieving their dreams, why is or society so gender centric and how can we raise our boys and girls in a truly gender agnostic way. Being well qualified and aspiring to reach the top echelons in my career which sadly is dominated by men at present, I would like to see more women shatter the glass ceiling.
I see many women at lower levels in organisations but despite talent and capability, they do not grow and are stuck at the same position while their male counterparts move higher. I am also actively involved in Diversity and Inclusion stream in my organisation – this gives me an opportunity to meet many women at different positions in the organisation, understand their issues and also meet senior stakeholders and hear their point of view.
It helps me to have a more realistic view of what hinder women’s progress at the workplace, unconscious bias that exist and how organisations have realised the benefits of having a diverse workforce and are working to bridge this gap.
I also see many women who have the tools but don’t want to empower themselves, they believe their spouse is their benefactor and will take care of them. The true place of a woman is in the house, taking care of kids and cooking meals for the family. It really saddens me to see that such women refuse to believe that the world has changed, the huge mistake they are making by setting a wrong example before their kids and only taking us farther from the path of liberation.
Anything you’d like to tell others who would want to write?
It takes some courage, a lot of conviction, clarity of thought and discipline. It can be started at any stage of life, I did at 30, so age is surely not a barrier. You don’t need to be qualified in writing. I am a Chartered accountant and the only thing I have done that is remotely connected to writing in past is writing essays at school.
One thing that I have seen most writers lack is discipline and perseverance. They write one piece and disappear only to re appear after 6 months or a year. To be a good writer and do justice to the pen its important that you write regularly. While we all have responsibilities and jobs, if writing is something you want to engage in as a hobby or take up seriously as a profession, regularity is needed. So make that effort to write a few words at least once a week.