My love for words started from a very young age. Thanks to my parents for inculcating the reading habit in me very early. Books were the one indulgence that my parents would never refuse me. Every year me and my dad would never miss the book fair. Most of my summer vacations would start with a trip to the local library on my cycle, and I would keep going back often to gorge on my favorite story books. Thanks to the advent of technology, the frequency and the number of books that I read has reduced over the years, but I still try not to give up on the habit till date.
Though I have read various authors in several genres (predominantly fiction), unknowingly I have always found myself drawn towards the words of some of the greatest women authors of our age. I would like to share my favorite five of them.
JK Rowling – magic in words
One of the most widely read fiction of recent generation – Harry Potter, is the creation of this literary queen. Her story of rise to fame is one that is quite popular and is truly inspiring. When the first book of the series was published, I was about the same age as the character Harry Potter, and I have quite literally grown up with him. This is one of the first books from where my love for fantasy started.
She is truly one of the best examples of what your imagination can achieve, if only you can believe in it.
Arundhati Roy – revolutionary
Widely acclaimed for her first novel – ‘The God of Small things’, she is quite the revolutionary in supporting the cause of the downtrodden. Even though this is the only work of hers that I have ever read, it left quite a lasting impact in my teenage years. The visuals of her words are still reminiscent in my memories. She has recently published her second work of fiction after almost 20 years, which I am yet to lay my hands on (reminder to self).
Jhumpa Lahiri – touching souls
Another of India’s finest women writers, the first (and sadly the only one) book that I read of hers was Interpreter of Maladies. It is a collection of short stories of immigrant Indians that etch your heart. It was one of the first collection of short stories that I had ever read. Writing fiction is different from writing short stories as one tends to have the time and space for the characters to develop through the story. However, to create the same impact in much fewer words really impressed me.
Sudha Murthy – simplicity personified
Not just being the wife of the IT industrialist and co-founder of Infosys – Narayana Murthy, made her famous but, she is also a well-known author of several books in English and Kannada. Recommended by my husband, I picked up the first book ‘Dollar Bahu’ and was truly impressed with her simple language and the connect she makes with the reader. She often writes of common people we meet in our everyday lives and illustrates how each of us may have a story to tell.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – emotions bared
Last on the list but my most favorite one, Chitra Banerjee creates different worlds with unique perspectives through her stories. In most of her books, the portrayal of strong women characters is very inspiring, and leaves you with the same courage and strength to face the world. The best thing that I have always loved in her writing is the way she brings out the emotions in the characters alive. One of her books was made as a movie, ‘The Mistress of Spices’ with Aishwarya Rai as the lead.
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