L ast month, Singaporebased author Sunita Lad Bhamray launched her third book Ganga Jamuna – a poignant story of conjoined Nepalese twins and the difficult journey that followed.
A simple newspaper report had such deep impact on the author, that she did not just ‘follow’ the case, but also helped garner support by raising funds for their medical needs. It is not often that one comes across a writer who writes with passion, but also feels so for a cause.
In an exclusive interview with India Se, Bhamray shares her journey as a writer.
India Se: Tell us a little about your background, childhood and education? How was your growing up years?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: I grew up in the leafy environs of Poona, in an Edwardian-style colonial bungalow surrounded by acres of lawns and stables. My childhood was all about horse riding after school and weekends at the Turf Club cheering our horses at the races. My family’s professional interests were in horse racing and this is why my childhood was rather off-the-beaten track.
I graduated in Psychology and then completed a Master’s in Human Resource Management. I initially pursued a career in the corporate world followed by a stint as an HR consultant. After my family’s move to Singapore, I veered towards education instead. I secured a Masters in Education and teaching in international schools became my primary career focus.
India Se: Were you always interested in books? What prompted you to start writing?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: Books have always been special through my early childhood. Enid Blyton was my lifeline and even as early as the age of probably seven or eight I knew I wanted to write books like her.
During my long teaching career, stories and tales became a crucial aspect of my work profile. I realised that I enjoyed spinning on-thespot yarns for my students and I started writing these stories down. Soon my passion for writing became my full time profession
India Se: You have written three books so far. Could you briefly talk about them?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: My first book, Triumphs on the Turf is about the glamorous world of horse racing in India. It delves into a world of royalty, palaces and everything majestic and is available at Books Actually in Singapore. My second book is an illustrated storybook for children titled Grandma Lim’s Persimmons. A distinct feature of this book is that it is about a Chinese grandmother, written by an Indian author while the illustrations are by a South African lady. Ganga Jamuna is my third book.
India Se: Your third book was inspired by the true-life story of a set of conjoined Nepalese twins Ganga Jamuna. As a writer, what draws you to a subject?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: One the most mystifying aspects of writing is that an author never goes seeking a story. It is the story that finds you. In the case of Ganga Jamuna too it was a newspaper article that drew me. I proceeded to use fiction to represent parts of the life of this unfortunate family from Nepal and the story of Abani (my protagonist) came to be and Ganga Jamuna was born.
India Se: Tell us a little about your family and your life here in Singapore. How supportive are they of your writing endeavors?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: I have an extremely wonderful and truly supportive family comprising my husband and two children.
My daughter is studying to be a doctor and currently interns in a hospital in New York. My son is headed for university in the USA post summer this year. I have made the vibrant city of Singapore my home for the past 14 years. My family is always there whenever I brain storm ideas with them. My husband goes into finer detailsl ike deadlines and is a good proof-reader.
India Se: Apart from writing, what are your other interests?
Sunita Lad Bhamray: I love travelling and meeting people that give me unique ideas for my writing. I am also now involved in taking up worthy causes. For Ganga Jamuna, I started a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for the family from Nepal.