What began as a way to express feelings soon became a hobby and by the time Shanthakumari Sivakadaksham realised it was not just a pastime, she had started writing with a purpose. One of her books also got her recognition from the State government. She recalls her journey as a writer to R. Sujatha.
After decades of caring for family, Shanthakumari Sivakadakshamnow focusses on writing, a hobby that she has pursued from childhood. From writing poetry she graduated to travelogues and novels. After a master's degree in education, she worked as school teacher but resigned after marriage. “Women should have independence but even freedom has boundaries,” she says, quoting from the preface of her latest novel ‘Karuppu Silanthi.' “When my husband, a cardiologist, began travelling abroad extensively, I accompanied him,” she says. She jotted down her experiences in diaries which helped her write travelogues.
It was an achievement when her first article on her visit to a foreign country was published. Encouraged, she began sending articles to Tamil magazines. Often, she is compelled to compare the state of monuments and historical places in India with those in other countries, she says. “In Hiroshima, I saw children painting the building devastated by atom bomb . Their teacher told me that such an exercise would imprint in children's mind the destructive powers of war. It is a good way to teach history,” she says.
Her first novel was based on her meeting with a widow, whose daughter rejected her after the woman was diagnosed with AIDS. “All that the woman wanted was to see her daughter once before she died. When the daughter came to collect the body, she wanted the hospital staff to tell her in-laws that her mother had died of heart attack.” The novel Ms. Sivakadaksham is currently working on is about a young man who committed suicide as the girl he loved rejected him. “If I can change at least four or five people, I would feel gratified,” says the writer, who proposes to spend earnings from her works on orphaned/abandoned children with HIV.