Sherry: We are so pleased to be visiting with you, Namratha. We are looking forward to hearing about your life! What a beautiful family you have!
Namratha: I live in the city of Bangalore, India, with my two sons, husband and my mother-in-law. My elder son is 4 years, and the younger one is just 5 months old. I am lucky that a lot of my family (my parents, brother, granddad, uncles, aunts ….) live in the close vicinity and have been there to colour my days and lend a helping hand when needed.
View from my apartment -
the Temple and the children's play area
Sherry: How lovely to have a young family, with all of life ahead. I remember older women telling me, when my kids were young, that one day I would look back and know they were the best years of my life. And it is true. You are fortunate to have family close at hand, as well.
Namratha: I used to be an electronic engineer and worked on multimedia software, (stuff that goes into smartphones to make music or video play, record, etc), until I decided to be a full-time mom. Over the last year or so, I have taken up blogging and writing which I am very passionate about.
Sherry: Blogging is a wonderful outlet for a busy mom. Did you grow up in Bangalore?
Namratha: I have been in Bangalore most of my life, except for a brief stint in the US and another in Chennai, India. I have watched Bangalore grow, develop and change a lot over the years. The greenery and the lakes have given way to IT firms, apartment complexes and traffic, all in the name of development.
Setting sun - framed by
silhouettes of trees
Sherry: This is the story everywhere, it seems. When you look back at your childhood, do you see any indication that you would grow up to be a writer?
Namratha: This is the part where I am tempted to lie. But no, I did not ever imagine that I would grow up to be a writer. I always read a fair amount of books (fiction) since I was a child, but at school I was more inclined towards math and physics than into English literature. The only writing I had ever done was technical, related to my work. Until, I more or less stumbled into writing and then poetry.
My blog started off as a platform for an experiment in digital marketing. I then got an opportunity to write for a woman’s online magazine which discussed issues facing women at the workplace, ideas to get women on a break back to work, feminism and so on. But over the course of the year, it dawned on me that I love to write.
Sherry: Smiles. I love that moment of realization. Is there someone you feel has been or still is a significant influence on you as a writer? Someone who encourages your gifts?
Namratha: Firstly, my husband, Varadharajan Ramesh (or Varad), who started his blog initially just to like and comment on my articles (imagine that!) He is a wonderful storyteller and focuses on flash fiction and short stories (Here is his blog: LERT).
Secondly, my best friend, Dhatri, who lives all the way across the world in California. She has read every post of mine and encourages me with her kind words.
Thirdly, my mother. She has constantly helped me with the kids, due to which I found the time to write, even when I was pregnant and with a newborn in tow.
Yoga during pregnancy
Sherry: It is wonderful to have such support. It makes all the difference. When did you begin writing poetry? What do you love about it?
Namratha: I started writing poetry sometime over the course of the last year. I just found it easier, more like myself, when I wrote in verse and at times it became an addiction.
I love creating visions with my poetry. I feel poetry helps me get more grounded with reality, enables me to connect with the world in a more holistic way and has got me to observe nature more closely. To summarize, it has given me a new pair of lens to view the world.
Sherry: You write very well. I thought you likely had been writing for years. What other types of writing do you enjoy?
Namratha: I think, posts about my personal essays that include perspectives about women at work as well as about motherhood have connected the most with my readers.
During the AtoZ Challenge last year, I wrote about women in different walks of life and immensely enjoyed it.
I also write flash fiction and have a prompt running called #MicroMondays. Please do feel free to join in any week.
If you check out my About Me page, it will dawn on you that I dabble in any type of writing that catches my fancy. Maybe that is because I am still experimenting. I haven’t yet singled in on focusing on only one type of writing. Perhaps, I never will. But, all said and done, poetry makes my heart sing like none other.
Tree which loses all its leaves in winter
but in full bloom at Cubbon Park
Sherry: I love that poetry makes your heart sing. Mine, too. Do you have a favourite well-known poet?
Namratha: I truly admire Maya Angelou. I wish I had written or will write a poem in the likeness of Phenomenal Woman. Don’t we all?
Sherry: Indeed we do! Would you like to choose three of your poems to include here, and tell us a bit about each one?
Namratha: The first poem I want to share is one I wrote when I was expecting my second one, and was hoping (trying, working hard) for a vaginal delivery. However, in retrospect I believe it is applicable to many other situations when we desire something, but the result is not in our hands.
What happens, happens
Do you continue to do your best,
though you know for sure
nothing is in your hand?
Do you keep a smile on your face,
not knowing whether success or failure
is coming your way?
Do you prepare to lose
or focus steadfastly on hope;
eliminating all else?
Do you surrender to a higher power?
Ponder if you will have the strength
to accept your fate?
You know for certain
the coin has been tossed,
It can fall either way.
Why not smile?
Why not hope?
Why not do?
Why not believe?
Doesn’t matter anyway.
Sherry: Yes, we must hang on to hope, even when nothing is in our hands. You have expressed that so well.
Spiderlilies from my garden
Namratha: The second one is part of a series of short poems, which I have been penning down from my observances of the world around me. The series focuses on how us humans are affecting the world around us: How we are all consuming without pausing to reflect that we are meant to share this world with a lot of other species as well. Here is a short one of something I witnessed recently and which made my heart lurch.
Not a drop to drink
grey kitten with a white tail
purring softly makes its way
to have a drink from the puddle
down in the basement
the sewage line leaks!
Sherry: Oh, poor little creature! I share your concern that so much of humankind has not awakened to our interdependence. Sigh. It weighs on me heavily.
Namratha: The third is my attempt at a Cascade poem. I wrote this as a reminder to myself: to disinfect myself from my gadgets for focused periods though the day and give my undivided attention to those around me.
It is written in the voice of a kid looking at his mother. In today’s world, we are bombarded with so many electronic devices, social media, reality shows, tv series, movies, gaming, addictive apps, whatsapp groups, forwards, music, blogging, writing, reading, in between making money, following passions, fulfilling responsibilities and duties. Where is the time for looking into another's eyes and nurturing relationships?
Nest of weaver ants in my neighbourhood
I am here
Pry away your eyes from that screen for just a moment
look into my eyes, I am here, looking at you,
waiting for the moment you will look at me too.
Pry away your eyes from that screen for just a moment
look at me well, enjoy my smile reserved for you
feel that touch, hold me tight, tell me I love you
Look into my eyes, I am here, looking at you
show me I am more important than that all the screens
our days here are few, I will grow up real soon
Waiting for the moment you look at me too
I wonder if I need to turn into a gadget with flashy images
Will you then find me interesting? Will you then notice me too?
Sherry: Those precious years do go by so fast. We have no idea, when we are young moms, just how fast! I love this poem!
When you aren’t writing, what other activities do you enjoy?
Namratha: Yoga and long walks are high on my list of favourite things to do. Yoga helped me in harmonising my hormones, and also kept me healthy during my pregnancy. I enjoy long walks, both alone or with my sons. Fresh air, looking at nature, and the chitter-chatter of my little one who sees the world differently from me: what’s not to like?
Gardening is another activity I enjoy, though lately it is a bit neglected. I have a small balcony garden with an assortment of plants: roses, hibiscus, cherry tomatoes (in the past), aloe vera and some succulents. Being in contact with soil and dirt and roots brings about contentment in me.
Green cherry tomatoes
I believe most writers are readers, so yeah, I do enjoy reading a lot. In fact, on the first date with my husband we happened to visit a bookstore!
Sherry: An auspicious beginning! Smiles. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and your life?
Namratha: Just a sentence about my current outlook in life.
I believe I am a dreamy optimist, tending to always look at the good in people and now to transition from being just a leaf in a stream of life to becoming a go-getter.
Sherry: Wonderful dreams! Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?
Namratha: Poets United has been one of the forums which has introduced me and taken me a little further in the world of poetry. Writing for the prompts and reading the poetry of others has helped me shape my poems. Thank you so much for featuring me here, though I am just starting out as a poet. I look forward to continued association with this group.
Sherry: It is our privilege to support and encourage poets. It is why we do what we do, for the love of poetry. Thank you, Namratha, for allowing us to get to know you better. We look forward to enjoying your work in the months ahead.
Wasn't this a lovely visit, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!