K. K. GOPALAKRISHNAN
A short story by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan has been selected for an annual anthology of new literature in English from the U.K. and the Commonwealth.
I have my fiction days, my poetry days. I write depending on the mood, poetry is more calming though.
Poet and writer Anuradha Vijayakrishnan is jubilant. A new honour came in search of this Chennai-based Malayali, whose voice in Indian English literature was already well known in literary circles. Her short story `Narayani's Journey' has been selected for inclusion in the `New Writing 14,' which is due to be released in London in June 2006. `New Writing' is an annual anthology of new literature in English from the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Commonwealth, subsidised and administered by the British Council and published by Picador in association with Arts Council England, since 1992. It provides one of the few opportunities in the U.K. for new writers without an agent to get published by a leading publisher.
Launch in June
"It is a great encouragement for me. I am looking forward to attending the launch in London in June," says a beaming Anuradha. "Writing is a passion; it helps me put the voices in my head together. On one hand there is my fairly demanding professional life, on the other, writing keeps me in touch with myself, I guess. Writing now is also my perfect unwind mechanism. It keeps me lucid and sane. As a child I used to read a lot and at some point, I guess I needed to write and not just read," adds Anuradha. An engineer with an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, she is now working with Citibank. Her initiation into serious writing was through English poetry during her days as a student of engineering. "I was also lucky to interact with a group of literary people led by Kamala Das in Kochi at that time. That phase helped me believe that there was something in my writing. I first published my poems when I was about 21. It was an exclusive two-page feature in the poetry page in the Femina. Initially I wrote a lot of poetry. The thrill of writing what was not prose was heady. It is in the last few years that I started writing fiction. "My first short story was typed out in two days and was awkward and childish. The first time I published a story was in an online publication about three years back." As a Malayali born and brought up in Kerala why does she write in English? "I grew up in a family that spoke as much English at home as Malayalam, without in any way being `anglicised.' So writing in English comes naturally to me. I mostly think in English and have never worried about the `why English' question. To me, the English I write is an Indian language, a language I speak and think in, without compromising on my cultural and linguistic roots or identity in any way. "Each person has an inner life. Some people paint it, some write. For me my writing expresses my earth-view, my perspective on people, relationships, nature... For me there is drama in everything. Every line we speak is dialogue, in a sense and every life is a story. For what it is worth, I believe that nothing is more poignant than this earth that sustains us despite everything. What I write comes from all of this," explains Anuradha.
And is it reaching her readers? "Frankly I don't know. I am a rank amateur with a very long way to go before establishing myself as a voice worth listening to. Those who have read my work do tell me that a lot of what I put in does come through. But I am hoping that I have at least begun the journey," says the writer who believes that her training in music and dance has "probably given me a certain sensitivity to the presence or absence of grace and harmony." So far, Anuradha has written over 50 poems and 12 stories. Poetry or fiction, which is her favourite medium? "Can't say. I have my fiction days, my poetry days. I write depending on the mood, poetry is more calming though," replies Anuradha.