Meet Meera Raghavendra Rao whose books abound in stories that readers can put themselves in
At her study, sitting behind a rosewood desk, Meera Raghavendra Rao discusses at length her foray into writing. She has not dwelled on just one genre but has dabbled in travel, humour and more, bringing out four books. Nearly 40 years ago, Meera began by writing letters to the editor and then, when her letters garnered attention, took a plunge into features writing. “After a diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, I began writing children’s stories and travel features,” she says. When she realised her flair for humour writing, it prompted her to come up with Madras Mosaic, a social commentary about people in Madras, in 2005. “I met my publisher when she came here for a book launch and sent her samples of my writing. She immediately replied they’d like to bring it out as a book and that is how it happened,” says Meera.
She began to teach journalism at her alma mater and MCC and was later asked to formulate the syllabus for feature writing. “When the syllabus was done, I took samples from my own writing, and a few from newspapers and sent them to a text book publisher who got back to me saying they’d like to publish them as a book on feature writing.” So, in 2009, the first edition of Feature Writing came about.
Last year, the second edition of this book was printed. . “Students who’ve used my book have told me that they find it very useful.” Meera also compiled her travel writings into a book that she self-published. 3 E’s of Travel, a coffee table book with travel stories and 120 pictures (all taken by Meera) with an SLR camera in Europe, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Australia and parts of America, among other places is not just a collection of her travel articles but a tribute to her father G.L. Narsinga Rao. “The three E’s are experience, enjoyment and exposure,” she smiles.
Her blog, www.justlies.wordpress.com, led her to publish her latest book, Slice of Life, a compilation of 92 blog posts, sprinkled with subtle humour and anecdotes. Launched this February, the book describes various humourous, eventful and nostalgic incidents from her life in her signature breezy style of writing. “Humour writing comes naturally to me. And these books are enjoyable because they have the kind of stories people can put themselves in. And I try to write them in one go, because the more you work on humour, the more it tends to lose its charm.”