Welcome to an insightful and heartwarming author interview with Prachi Sharma, the creative mind behind the enchanting collection of short stories, “Manju.” Prachi, currently residing in the USA, has a deep-seated affection for her homeland, India, and its vibrant and harmonious culture. An ardent reader and a writer of both children’s stories and non-fiction pieces, Prachi’s debut work, “Manju,” unveils a tapestry of twenty beautifully illustrated short stories inspired by the life of her remarkable mother, Manju Sharma.
1. Can you share what inspired you to write “Manju”? Was there a particular event or realization that sparked the idea for this collection of stories?
Answer: I always wanted a book about the life my mom led, she is and was a truly inspiring person. But I did not want to write the book. I wanted her to do that. But a cruel blow from fate, I ended up writing it. The main reason was to create something that my sons could read and relate to their grandmother. And secondly, I wanted her life to inspire others as well.
2. The book is based on your mother’s life. Could you tell us more about how her experiences shaped the stories and characters in “Manju”?
Answer: Every incident in the book is based on real-life incidents. Such was my mother, ever giving, always present for her family and friends. A lady who dealt with all hardships of life small and huge (like Kidney failure, and dialysis ) with grace and dignity and an ever-smiling face.
3. The inclusion of traditional Indian poetry couplets adds a unique dimension to the book. How did you select these couplets to align with the themes of each story?
Answer: My mother is/was a fan of Kabir Das and Rahim. She was a walking talking encyclopedia when it came to Indian poetry. So it was natural for me to add lessons based on poetry in a book dedicated to her.
4. As an author, what challenges did you face when translating your mother’s life and experiences into fictional stories? How did you overcome these challenges?
Answer: My biggest challenge was to accept the fact that I was writing a book that she would never read. My biggest regret was that my tribute came a bit too late. I am still working on overcoming that. I do not think we can ever overcome that, we just learn to live with it.
5. What message or takeaway would you like readers, especially children, to gain from reading “Manju”?
Answer: Two things:
- I hope that they get interested in Indian Poetry and get insights into the rich world of Kabir and Rahim.
2. I do hope that they take away one lesson from the book, be it about the zeal to face any adversity with grace and compassion.
6. “Manju” is a book that can appeal to readers of all ages. How do you hope your book bridges the generation gap and resonates with both children and adults?
Answer: We are losing touch with reading in this modern era. Gone are the days when Story time with grandparents/parents was a ritual. I am hoping that with this book which has something for every age, that changes. I also hope to bring awareness to the enriched world of Indian poetry and the gems we have in Rahim and Kabir.
7. Looking back on your writing journey with “Manju,” what is one moment or aspect of the book’s creation that you hold particularly close to your heart?
Answer: Every aspect of the book is dear to me, as this is not just a book, it is a tribute, a tribute to my lifeline, a tribute to my mother, a tribute to my idol and my god.
As we conclude this engaging conversation with Prachi Sharma, it’s evident that “Manju” is not just a collection of stories but a heartfelt tribute to a woman of unparalleled strength and grace. Each tale captures the essence of her mother’s life journey, offering readers a glimpse of various Indian states and even foreign lands, while the timeless wisdom of Indian saints’ poetry guides young minds through the narratives.
“Manju” is a bridge that spans generations, connecting the young and the old through the magic of storytelling. Prachi Sharma’s hope is to rekindle the tradition of story time, bringing families closer together, and fostering a love for Indian poetry and its rich heritage.
Prachi’s dedication to her mother shines brightly throughout the interview, reminding us that the power of love, compassion, and resilience can inspire us all. We encourage you to delve into the pages of “Manju” and embark on a journey that celebrates life, culture, and the enduring bonds that shape our existence.