“Women understand each other. Most of our stories deal with the finer nuances of feeling — the hopes and disappointments, joy and love we all experience every day. It takes a woman to understand the inner world each one of us inhabits within the visible outer world,” asserts Malathi Ramachandran. This author, who has published two full-length novels, ‘The Wheel Turned’ and ‘Edge of all the Light’, is presently working on her third one. But it is not just this new book that is keeping her busy. Malathi is one of the members of the writer’s group, Inklinks, a Bangalore-based group of women from diverse professional backgrounds, but with a common interest in writing fiction. She says, “It is a support group that has been a source of encouragement and motivation for me and other women authors.”
Inklinks comprises of women who are doctors, psychologists, teachers, social workers in the age group from mid 30s to 70s. So how did they come together? Writer Khurshid responds, “We used to meet at various book readings and other literary events. Some were friends and some acquaintances, and gradually as we met at these events, we grew close to each other and decided to take our interest in the written word further.” They wrote stories, shared them with each other via email and met every month for discussions. They motivated each other to write and critiqued the work with an aim to publish their work — goals which they have achieved, having published two anthologies of short fiction, Bhelpuri and Door in the Wall.
Talking about the books, Malathi explains, “Bhelpuri (which is an eponymous title, as it describes the book as being like itself, a varied mix!) was published in 2009 by a Bangalore publisher Songbyrde and was sold through word-of-mouth publicity — creditable that the book is completely out of print now!” Unlike Bhelpuri which is a happy mix of all genres of short fiction — romance, suspense/mystery, seriousness and humour — Door in the Wall deals with barriers and how they can be overcome. Malathi agrees, “Door in the Wall has a definite theme of ‘Walls’ between people, between a person and the world, between cultures and so on.” Their books, written in a simple language, relates to everyday happenings and incidents.
Being an eclectic group, undoubtedly every single member of the group has her own individual style of dealing with a subject and of writing. But this has not deterred them from their common goal which is to pen a story. Adding to this, Malathi outlines the creative process of the group. “It goes something like this: First we decide on a common theme or sometimes that we will write on any topic we wish. Then we set a deadline for emailing the stories to each other. At our next meeting, each one of us critiques the stories. Sometimes stories are rewritten,” Malathi says.
So what’s in store for Inklinks in the days to come? “We have our next topic ready and we can’t wait to get back to the keyboard! We may also add a few writers to our group who have shown interest and potential,” Malathi states.
Published on July 17, 2014 in The New Indian Express.