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For My Readers For My Readers For My Readers Sand Storms, Summer Rains Sand Storms, Summer Rains Sand Storms, Summer Rains Sand Storms, Summer Rains Sand Storms, Summer Rains
Asha Vimal Asha Vimal
How long did I take to decide that I take to decide

that I was going to write this novel?

Precisely a day.

No months of hard deliberation or pondering, no toying with an idea until it emerged full blown in the mind, no fear nor an iota of doubt if I was really up to it. All it took for me to get started with it was an impulsive decision spurred by an irresistible urge to pen the story of migrant workers in the Middle East, where I presently live. Even I am amazed at my temerity to venture into something as big as writing a book. At that point, I had neither clue about the plot or the characters that would make the story, no immediate reference material nor any biographical data to base the book that I had already decided to write at all events. All I had was a feature that I had written for a local magazine about away-from-home migrant workers and a deep sense of regret and sadness that I felt as I saw them all around me.  Soon I realized that what I wanted to write wasn’t a documentary based on hard facts, but a work of fiction that would straddle the realm of the heart than the head.

With only a hazy idea of the plot, an impatience to tell a tale about human conditions and a love of the written word for devices, I had the huge challenge of weaving a story which is realistic and close to life, yet not make it a corny treatise on expatriate life or a done-to-death melodrama. I had to sketch characters that readers could easily identify with and relate to (but not reduce them to mediocrity), drawing from facts that I have known and seen of the immigrants here, add to it nuances and other aspects of life and present it as tapestry of a novel.

The details that make the story are very evocative and reflective. Filled with instances that readers can connect to at once and fleshed with characters who are essentially victims of circumstances, I had to be creative in expressing reality and yet be subtle in describing the pathos.

The plot unfurled itself in front of me slowly as I went on spinning events and instances that did not stray from the main premise of the story. The way the plot developed - with characters falling into their places perfectly, then came together as a single unit of a novel with two protagonists, bringing it all to a natural dénouement - made me ecstatic, because it was like exploring a jungle, picking my way slowly, warily. Those were the most enjoyable moments during the process of writing. It is easy to stray and be stranded in a novel of many characters with different experiences, all of which had to lead to the basic argument on the futility of their lives.  I was constantly conscious of the danger and took enormous care to stay on course.
The two protagonists and the people in their lives have their individual spaces and distinct identities, yet they come under the common umbrella of deprivations and disappointments and respond to love and life in their own distinct ways, none of which are unjustified entirely. 

To write this poignant story in a vivid, descriptive manner, giving reality a surrealistic quality with the use of language was a pleasurable experience in itself. Imagery is a constant in my writing, to the extent of sometimes getting poetic, which, to many, may seem contrived. But it gives me a high when I succeed in portraying the mundane in a lush, lyrical manner. It makes me alive to the beauty of the universe in all its forms and recognize its importance in our own lives. It gives wings to one’s imagination, makes the inanimate spring to life and lets a story become a fairy tale.
Together, I have strived to give you readers a feeling akin to the one you would get when you see a rainbow, a water fall or a snow capped peak – not trying to understand or make any deep sense of it, but to be there, soak in the experience and take back lingering memories to last a long time. It is my attempt to hold up a mirror to my readers to find reflections of their own lives in the pages of my book and make them say, “Yes, I have been there and I know how it feels.”

Writing this novel has been a hugely edifying experience to me. It has been a great revelation on two levels. One, it convinced me of my ability to observe, assimilate, interpret and convey the many wayward aspects of life that we otherwise over look. I discovered that wherever I looked, there was a human story waiting be told. This recognition enhanced my interest in writing and goaded me to involve more seriously in it than merely dabble, as I was previously doing.  

Two, the experience of writing this book deeply sensitized me to many things that I saw about me. It made me more alive to and aware of the binary nature of life and underscored the ‘something for something’ theory that resonates though out the novel. Seen in that light, writing Sand Storms, Summer Rains has been a heady concoction of experiences – creative and other. 

Author Profile
Asha Iyer Kumar

Asha Iyer Kumar was born in Madras in 1969 and raised in Kerala. She took her Masters in Journalism from the University of Kerala. After being in Corporate Communications and Public Relations for some years she took up freelance writing. She now lives with her family in the United Arab Emirates. Sand Storms, Summer Rains is her first book.

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