A dozen or so chairs await guests, a stylish stack of books waits for ‘release', as the young author waits, all geared up for the event at Reliance Timeout in Oberon Mall. The author in question is Shweta Ganesh Kumar and the book, ‘Between The Headlines: The Travails of a TV Reporter.'
The characters in the book are fictional but the ‘travails' are true, says Shweta. She would know, because she used to be a television journalist with CNN IBN. Writing about a reporter's life came easy because she lived that life, she says.
She understood the life of a reporter with a television channel because she “had the same dreams and expectations.” Rather than attempting something unfamiliar she chose to describe life as she professionally knew and thus was born Satybhama Menon, the Bangalore correspondent of the fictional channel N.E.W.S. India. The agony and angst of being a bureau reporter, how news reports are slotted depending sometimes on what would interest the advertiser.
In May 2011 her maiden literary venture, ‘Coming Up on the Show…The Travails of a News Trainee' was published and it was well received. Dressed in a canary yellow kurta and chudidaar, she looked anything but a journalist. She corrects you: “Former journalist.”
Hailing from a family of journalists, among her earliest memories are of accompanying her grandfather T.K.G. Nair, founder of the Kerala Press Academy to the printing press, the feel of the newspaper and freshly printed newspaper. “There was no doubt in my mind when it came to choosing a career. It had to be journalism,” she says. She did her masters in journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune.
Jokes apart, she has tried to include all this background information into her books. After quitting CNN IBN, she worked briefly for Greenpeace India as its communications officer. She then quit, finally, settling down to writing. She moved to the Philippines to join her husband. Somewhere in between she got into travel writing. The prolific writer that she is, she has dabbled in short story writing too. She also contributes to ‘Kiski Kahani – The Ramayana Project' for Open Space.
The latest book done, her hands are full. A four-month-old baby and a move to El Salvador, where her husband works…she is looking forward to newer experiences which might translate into another book, perhaps.