Team Kitaab is in conversation with author, storyteller, creative writing coach and a life coach, Namrata whose story is soon going to be published in TBASS 2021.
Namrata is an award-winning Blogger, an Author, a Storyteller, a Creative Writing Coach, and a Life Coach. She is a contributing author to some of India’s leading online platforms ——–Women’s Web, Readomania, Momspresso, ArtoonsInn, Women’s Era, Blogchatter, and more. Many of her stories have been award-winning stories with a wide readership. She is a contributing author of the book- No Apologies (Women’s Web Collection 2019), International Symposium On Women And Literature 2021 by Literoma Publishing, and The Best Asian Short Stories 2021 by Kitaab International. She has co-authored two books(part of the Mananam Series) – Am I that I am -Exploring Identity Crisis and The Sages Speak about Immortality by Chinmaya Publications.
Namrata did her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Psychology specializing in Organizational Behavior from Lady Shri Ram, New Delhi, followed by Post Graduate in Human Resource Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. She did her Coach Intensive Training from the CaPP Institute, Atlanta, the United States. She comes with rich, successful, and decorated corporate experience in India, spanning a decade with giant corporates and a diversified HR role. Later, she plunged into her life calling – writing and teaching. She is the founder and chief mentor at Four Clover Life- her brand depicting faith, hope, love, and luck- the cornerstones of most of the stories she has penned.
On a personal front, Namrata has an insanely bad habit of binge reading and collecting books. Kindle is non-existent for her unless her need to read overpowers her need to hold pages in hand. An ardent lover of bike rides and sunsets, Namrata believes in the transformational and healing power of storytelling.
Her story ‘Hiraeth’ is going to be a part of TBASS 2021 (Kitaab, 2021)
Team Kitaab: Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?
Namrata: To heal and help others heal. As a Life Coach who uses the philosophy of Positive Psychology and Vedanta, I think my stories are a great way to look within and create more acceptance for the wounds that life afflicts. With acceptance starts the process of healing.
Team Kitaab: Share a bit about your writing journey so far. How did you start? Any roadblocks? Who were your strongest supporters? Any tips to share with aspiring writers who are just beginning their journey or are about to begin it?
Namrata: I was born to write- cliché, but that’s the unvarnished truth of my life. Then, I took a detour. It just so happened that my father raised me mathematically, and my soul belonged to the world of abstract and unknown, to philosophy and impressionism, to words and stories that make life. He considered it a sign of failure and often questioned the black sheep I had become. I was raised believing I belonged to the Indian Administrative Services or the Tata’s. Nothing more, nothing less.
I let ‘ME’ bury myself to achieve the scores my father expected from me.
However, I never stopped writing. Hidden from the prying eyes of the world, I continued to write. RR, I call him my foster father, is the only one who truly believed in my words. I met him on the detour( in a corporate office), and he dug the grave and got the ghost out. He helped me dream again and steered me back to myself. RR believed in me and my words. Isn’t it something we all want- to be seen by people around us? A few months after our meeting, he passed away. The willow branch I was holding onto sunk, and I started gasping for breath again only to realize that I now knew how to swim. A few months later, I resigned and started walking on the path he had chosen for me (or he believed I wanted to choose for myself).
Team Kitaab: Tell us about your most recent book or writing/editing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
Namrata: ‘The Deathbed’ is my recent writing project where I talk about a Hindu chaplain and her encounter with people on the deathbed and what kind of thoughts cross their minds. I wanted to understand what happens at the last moment- what do you remember, who do you remember when you are hanging by a thread.
Team Kitaab: Describe your writing aesthetic.
Namrata: Raw truth, the kind you evade, suppress, or do not want to accept.
Team Kitaab: What/ Who is your writing inspiration?
Namrata: No one n particular. Life and my own heart inspire me to continue.
Team Kitaab: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Namrata: I go for a solitary walk. I read. I live. I pray. Most importantly, I don’t chastise myself for not-able-to. I accept my condition. This ain’t a race that I must win. Writer’s block is a comma, a semicolon, a dash… it’s not forever. I always get back and continue from where I left. Also, because I teach, my writing time is limited.
Team Kitaab: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Namrata: A plotter. I first write the story in my head, then on paper.
Team Kitaab: Who are your favorite authors/screenwriters?
Namrata: Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, Sudha Murthy, Gulzaar Sahab, Mitch Albom, Paulo Coehlo, Ruskin Bond, and many unknown authors whom the world doesn’t recognize but have so much talent and merit. So, platforms like The Sun, The Newyorker, Kitaab, Momspresso become my go-to places to read some beautiful work.
Team Kitaab: What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.
Namrata: Writing about death is difficult for me. I run the risk of slipping into melancholy and gloom. I process death in an intense way, hence the challenge. However, I just completed a novelette and submitted it for publication. It’s titled The Fish Head and talks about loss, grief, and bereavement during Covid times. How many of us never got a closure?
Team Kitaab: What’s your idea of bliss?
Namrata: Ginger tea, a book, plenty of sunshine, and a tree full of sparrows and blue finches flitting in and out. All this with my son on a lounge chair on a Saturday afternoon. He is a voracious reader, and we love bragging about new words learned. 🙂
Team Kitaab: What makes you angry, and I mean all-out–smash-the-china raving mad?
Namrata: Lack of sensitivity -it could be towards oneself, other, people, or this planet.
Team Kitaab: What books would you take with you on a three-month retreat in the boondocks?
Namrata: Bhagavad Gita, The Stoics, Mananam, Editorials by David Brooks, Michelle Goldberg, Charles M.Blow.
Team Kitaab: Your house is burning down. What’s the most important thing you’d want to take with you?
Namrata: Apart from my red suitcase that has my worldly documents, I will try my best to save handwritten letters written to my son.
Team Kitaab: Describe your life philosophy in a sentence.
Namrata: It’s a song- Vaisnava Janato-Gandhiji’s favorite bhajan.