Everyone follows a path to explore their purpose, to find meaning in their existence. Mine is to write, and to write creatively, to bring clarity to the many ideas that swarm my mind. How did this start? I have always been fond of reading. As an only child and an introvert, books were my best friends. I was fascinated by the stories and would often concoct some of my own. I would read voraciously, and at times reread the same book to understand the mind of the author, the style and method used to create such a beautiful timeless work of art that touched my soul. For days, I would be in awe of this author who could take me into this make believe realm. That desire to be an accomplished writer started young, and continued to burn within.
I would be stirring a pot of daal, or cleaning out some cabinets, or driving my kids to school, and a plot would form; complete with erratic characters and a fast-paced storyline. I would be so excited that I would rush to jot them down.
Even after marriage and having babies, I explored writing as a serious endeavour. My husband was supportive, so I went ahead and pursued some freelance writing jobs, which enabled me to juggle the role of homemaker, and be a good mother and wife. While I carried on my housewifely duties, ideas would pop into my head. I would be stirring a pot of daal, or cleaning out some cabinets, or driving my kids to school, and a plot would form; complete with erratic characters and a fast-paced storyline. I would be so excited that I would rush to jot them down.
I have an innate sense of curiosity of people and places, particularly historical figures, old monuments, and kings and queens. I believe that Indian history reveals a rich heritage of powerful characters that transformed the destiny of mankind. I have particularly been fascinated by the strength of the human spirit, mostly the women
described in many myths and legends. Reading about them inspired me to start writing novels. In my first book, I weaved a tale of conspiracy with a female protagonist. From then on, there was no holding back. My novels are thrillers centering on female characters with weaknesses, but find the ability to overcome them with sheer willpower.
I write to understand the dark side of human nature. In my books, some characters are flawed and conflicted. Some of them rebel against the norm, they defy stereotypes. I believe that lines of good and bad are blurred, and often we look at the world through the coloured lens of our personal experiences.
I write to understand life intuitively, to explore the trail of thought that slips out as words onto a blank page.
Someone rightly said that when you create, you take what’s inside you and give it shape and substance in the world. Whether fiction or non-fiction, blog posts, or just simply notes on paper, I enjoy the process of articulating how I perceive the world (should be).
For me writing has been a journey of self-discovery. I let myself be guided by that inner voice that works beyond language: that comes up as gut feelings and instinct. I write to understand life intuitively, to explore the trail of thought that slips out as words onto a blank page.
In her book ‘How to be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, or Your Creative Compass’ JoAnneh Nagler writes, “We must as artists, nourish the creative space around us. We are sensitive creatures and we feel everything on an intense wavelength. Suffering, it turns out, is not good for us. It’s like running too much electricity through already-delicate circuits. So we have to put the supports under our soul and body that allows us to move with some peace in the world. We must do it as an artistic strength and wisdom.”
Shobha Nihalani is the author of adventure and thriller novels: The Silent Monument, the NINE trilogy, Unresolved – A psychological thriller, Trikon – a medical sci-fi thriller, and The Blue Jade. Recently, she wrote two non-fiction books, Dada Vaswani – A Life in Spirituality and A Gift from Above. Her debut novel, Karmic Blues, was translated and published in Denmark. The views expressed are the author’s own.