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A travel entrepreneur who loves to write as well, Malini Gowrishankar finds inspiration everywhere for her writing.
With over 1600 women (and men) sharing candid stories, views and experiences here, our editors are picking some of the best contributors each month, as Featured Author of the month. Here we talk to Malini Gowrishankar, one of our 3 featured authors for May 2017.
Malini Gowrishankar’s writing has a directness and simplicity that most readers can easily relate to. As she tells us in the interview, it is her approach to writing – one of brutal candour – that resonates with others. You can read Malini’s writing on Women’s Web here.
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
I mainly write for two reasons:
The irresistible urge to share stories. I enjoy conversations and perspectives, especially when they challenge mine. Sometimes, I like recording those perspectives in some form of writing and sometimes, I just treasure them in my heart.
When and how did you first begin writing?
I wrote my first poem at the age of 14, when Indian girls were winning international beauty pageants. I could not relate to their definition of beauty. Sadly, it also made me look down upon myself and consider myself not beautiful by those ‘standards’. Moreover, I could not relate to the fact that despite all the stark poverty in the country, people were spending so much time and money on superficial beauty. At that point, it angered me. So I wrote. It was a poem in Tamil.
My mother noticed this and she thought I should be given more opportunity to write based on my observations of the society. Hence she made me apply to participate in ‘Youth Programme’ in All India Radio. During the audition, the programme producer explained how rural India still huddled around radio transistors back then and listened to all that was being broadcast.
She told me how it was a plum chance for me to influence those minds with my writing. She gave me topics such as blood/eye donation, female infanticide etc. to write about. It was my first professional writing assignment – I wrote poetry, got the privilege of presenting them on air and got paid for it too! It is still one of my most cherished writing experiences.
Do you have a muse?
I have two of them.
JK Rowling has been the greatest source of inspiration for me. It’s not just Harry Potter, but her life journey that inspires me to be the best version of myself, always.
I love her simple yet potent style of writing. Sample this!
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
Where do you get your ideas from?
Mostly from my over-analysis of everyday life! That said, the 2012 Delhi rape has completely changed the course of my life. What I think, I do, I write today has got a lot to do with that incident that shook the core of me.
I derive inspiration from my travels. Whenever I travel, I come up with a plethora of writing ideas.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
The fact that many smart women are helplessly silenced by patriarchy is something that drives me. I wish to be their voice. I wish to be the change I want to see.
Acceptance/Tolerance of women who are different from us is something that I would like to write about. Stories of grit, courage, curiosity also intrigue and inspire me to write.
Anything you’d like to tell others who would want to write?
Be brutally honest. ALWAYS.
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