By Emily Lowe
A two-year plus stint at the psychiatry department of a public hospital in Ipoh provides medical officer Nirmala Kasinathan the opportunity to get up close and personal with patients struggling with mental health issues. This was the inspiration behind her literary debut, ‘Woven in Deception’.
She was touched by the problems faced by these patients of psychiatry, a specialised field of study where science meets the mind, body and soul. It was a combination of two different fields. These people, who were presented with many different challenges in life, were the basis for the characters Dr Nirmala built out of her own imagination.
Dating back to the early 1900s in India, the storyline gradually moved to Ipoh, where the thirty-something writer grew up. The fiction, about a wealthy, high-caste Indian family, and the curse that had befallen upon the family, spanning three generations, makes for an engaging read.
An avid reader since young, Nirmala, who has always been interested in the medical field, history and Indian culture, spending two and a half years studying in India, had used her own knowledge, background and research to develop her characters.
Despite having no formal training in creative writing, although she used to contribute short stories and articles to school and college publications during her schooling days, Nirmala had carefully crafted her words, taking only eight months to finish writing Woven in Deception.
In an exclusive interview with Ipoh Echo, Nirmala said, “With this book, I was able to portray the Indian culture in an international language, for a global audience.” She considers English her first language, and is also fluent in the Malay language and Tamil.
Nirmala hopes that through her book, which teaches one to face life’s struggles, persevere in overcoming them, and to get on with life positively, will help readers triumph over their own challenges.
The author, who is considering a second novel when time permits, added, “Writing is a form of expression that adds to our collection of literature; a written record of our culture, knowledge, or advancement. It is something that young people can aspire to do. I would like to encourage more local authors to continue writing and get their work published.”
Woven in Deception is available at major online book stores such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. It can also be purchased directly from Nirmala via her email firstname.lastname@example.org at RM40 per copy, inclusive of handling charges and postage within Malaysia. The book is also available in e-book format.
Look out for the book review in the next issue.