Juggling a career and the home front may be a daunting proposition for many women, but not for a person like Geetha Deivasigamani. A well known Tamil writer, she pens poems and translates popular Sanskrit devotional songs into Tamil verses that are brought out in CDs, and also runs a successful marriage bureau. In between, she indulges in her passion for cookery by conducting shows on TV and sending recipes to Tamil magazines.
When one meets her at her office in Mandaveli, one expects to find a woman on the move. Instead, you find a cheerful and relaxed lady eager to share her success story. A native of Sivaganga, Geetha says she began writing articles and poems in Tamil at a very young age. With a senior lawyer and Tamil scholar as a grand father and a popular Tamil novelist as a mother, it should come as no real surprise. “I was definitely influenced by my mother, Leela Krishnan. Even while I was in college, I used to make fair copies for my mother’s novels. I used to think then that I should also try my hand at writing novels some day,” she laughs.
“While in school in Pudukottai, I took part in all writing competitions with great enthusiasm. Once, my impromptu short story was selected for the first prize. Writer/novelist Jayakanthan, while giving away the prize, enquired about my parents. When I disclosed my mother’s name, he said: ‘then writing must be in your blood’.”
True to his words, Geetha soon found herself contributing articles and stories under several pen names to Kadiravan magazine. “Around that time I also started writing for Mangayar Malar, Suba Mangala, Mangai and Pennmani magazines. I was one of the writers selected by Mangayar Malar for honouring in recognition of my contributions for a long period of time.”
A recipient of several awards and prizes, Geetha says most of her articles and novels are centred around women and family. “The focus of my writings is on self development and improvement of women.”
Almost all her books are published by Vanathi Publishers. Her book, “Manapenne Unakkaga” (A book with advice on a wide range of subjects for young brides) which is into its sixth edition, and “Silaiyum Neeye, Sirpiyum Neeye”, a series of motivational articles published as a book have received tremendous response from readers, Geetha says.
Bonding with youth
“My recent book, “Avvai Sol Virumbu,” based on Avvaiyar’s songs is an effort to make it easy for youngsters to read and understand Avvai’s words. All the advice given by her ages ago are very relevant to the present day life,” she adds.
Geetha’s foray into translation of Sanskrit verses began when singer M.R. Vijaya requested her to translate the Suprabatham into Tamil without changing the meaning. This was then sung in Tamil and brought out as CDs. She then translated the Kanakadhara Slokam, which became very popular. “Even now, there is great demand for the CD from other States.” Her other contributions included Jai Ganapathi, Ashtalakshmi Malai and songs on Sai Baba.
“One of my childhood dreams was to write songs to be sung by S.P. Balasubramaniam. My friends used to tease me and say it would remain only a dream. But my happiness knew no bounds when SPB sir sang one of the songs penned by me. This is also an example of what one can achieve with determination, and which I stress in all my writings.”
Another turning point in her life came in 1997, when she and her husband were looking for an alliance for her brother. “We found the marriage bureaus not obliging with photos or complete details about their clients. This was when we decided to start our own bureau. We bring parents, and prospective brides and grooms together, allow them to talk, gain confidence in each other before making a commitment. We even offer counselling before the wedding.”
She says that her centre has facilitated more than 300 marriages so far, including for businessmen, doctors and even a young actor. “We get a lot of requests from IT professionals, especially girls. A drawback for these girls is their lack of knowledge in cooking. To overcome this, I offer a short-term cookery course for these girls in groups of 10 with the help of cookery expert Geetha Balakrishnan.”
The writer says that cookery is one of her passions and she has done several cookery shows on television and written columns in magazines. “However, with the launch of the marriage bureau, this passion has taken a back seat now due to lack of time,” she says. A keen participant in Kolu competitions every year, Geetha discloses that she has won a prize in the contest held by The Hindu the year before last.
Stating that writing gives her great fulfilment and an opportunity to reach out to people, Geetha says her next project would be to start an academy to train writers. Acknowledging the support extended by her husband, N. Deivasigamani, an advocate in the Madras High Court, she says: “He has been a great source of strength right from the beginning, when he brought home a letter pad bearing my name and stating my profession as ‘writer’, even when I was a fledgling.”
Geetha Deivasigamani resides at No: 23, Abinav Palace, Jeth Nagar, First Main Road, Mandaveli. Ph: 98848 58014.