When age is just a number: Taking to fiction writing after 60!
Shubira Prasad has authored the mythological novel "Demons of Jaitraya" while Richa Gupta has penned "Slices of Life", a collection of short stories on women in current times. "I have not retired, it is just a change of occupation," says Prasad.
For these two academicians-turned authors, age is just a number as they have carved an alternative career in fiction writing after entering their 60s. Shubira Prasad has authored the mythological novel "Demons of Jaitraya" while Richa Gupta has penned "Slices of Life", a collection of short stories on women in current times.
"I have not retired, it is just a change of occupation," says Prasad. She was a principal and taught in several schools across India given her husband, who was an Air Force officer, had a transferable job. She took to writing mythological thrillers, attributing it to her growing interest in ancient Hindu culture and epics and their interpretations. Gupta taught English and creative writing in some institutions in Delhi before she retired and moved to writing books. She always found the lives of women from all walks as the centre of her stories. "I am still working except that now I am setting my own goals and working for myself instead of working for others in an organised setup," she says.
To both Prasad and Gupta it is all about adapting to a different style of working. "I did not take up writing; I have always been writing. I took up writing fiction. I have the skills, energy, imagination, experience and leisure to write fiction. Why should I not utilise these assets to engage in a creative activity instead of wasting time doing nothing," Gupta says.
Prasad too had been writing on and off for the last 30 years. Her book "Demons of Jaitraya" begins from where the war in Ramayana ended and Lord Ram entrusted Hanuman with the responsibility to find all the demons that went into hiding and kill them. Gupta's "Slices of Life" is based on various themes and in different genres ranging from sci-fi to grim realism to bathos to social satire and a whodunit. These stories deal with topical themes such as the lockdown in India due to the pandemic, a future based on eugenics, woman empowerment and the unravelling of a mysterious death.
So what does aging mean to both these very progressive, young-at-heart women? Age is all in the mind, they say. "While it is true that one has to take a bit extra care of the physical body, diet, keeping away from stress, the mind works more if you keep on working with it. There is more experience and maturity, awareness, and tolerance," Prasad says.
Gupta agrees, and adds, "Our mind and spirit do not age but mature: as the years go by, we experience life with fresh insight and an enriched perception based on our experience." PTI ZMN RDS RDS.
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