Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?
I write to keep my sanity in a world that is so chaotic. I have always had this retreat from life. I remember, as a child I was a misfit in every sense of the word. I was that painfully shy, awkward, mousy girl with no friends. I tried to fight that by being aggressive and picking up fights but that resulted in even lesser acceptance. In the end I simply turned inwards, started writing on bits and scraps of paper and retreated from the world. I found great joy in the little world I had created for myself. I told no one about my writing. Not even my family because I did not want to be laughed at. I did not want to be judged anymore.
To this day I write to keep my sanity. I love the act of sitting down with a pen and paper or at my laptop and being by myself. The act of writing calms me, quietens me and takes away the stresses and strains of having to deal with the mundanities of everyday life. I write when I am angry, when I am sad, when I am restless…And when I am done writing, there is a feeling of lightness, a high that carries me for the rest of the day.
Sudha Menon is an Indian journalist with over two decades of experience ín news and feature writing. She has worked in some of India’s prominent newspapers, including The Independent (The Times Group), The Hindu Business Line (The Hindu Group), and Mint (HT Media in exclusive agreement with Wall Street Journal).
In this interview with Kitaab’s editor Zafar Anjum, Sudha Menon says being mother to a 21-year-old daughter was one of main reasons she was inspired to write Legacy. While she herself grew up in an age where parents raised children on their own and brought them up with a set of values, she worries that today’s generation does not have that privilege.
You have been a full-time journalist. How did you venture into writing?
I think becoming a writer was a natural progression of almost a quarter of a century of being a journalist. I grew up in a family where we treasured books more than any material thing. The four of us siblings waited to be able to collect enough money to be able to buy books rather than go and buy toys. Ours was a family of extremely modest means but my parents always made sure we had enough to read. Books surrounded us and so did newspapers. Everything else was not priority. I believe that if we read a lot, that in itself will propel us towards writing and expressing ourselves through words.
About the book
Journalist and author Sudha Menon says being mother to a 21-year-old daughter was one of main reasons she was inspired to write Legacy. While she herself grew up in an age where parents raised children on their own and brought them up with a set of values, she worries that today’s generation does not have that privilege.
Children learnt values and life lessons from watching their parents and other elders but nuclear families, working parents and a generation of people hooked to various gadgets and social networking devices has meant that there is no time for the gentle handle-holding that helped my generation to chart our own course in life, muses the author.
“My little girl has grown up into a lovely 21-year old whose world is thickly populated with friends on Facebook, Whatsapp and every other social networking avenue possible. She has no time to look up from the various screens on which her eyes are riveted and I ache to tell her to treasure the moments with me because we never know when life steps in to disrupt our well-laid plans.