Shashi Deshpande, the Bangalore-based short story writer and novelist, on how journalism shaped her writing, in the Indian Express magazine on Sundays, Eye:
Do you remember how your writing career began? And how you became a journalist?
I was working as a trainee with the Onlooker when a colleague asked me, ‘Why don’t you write a story for our annual?’ I must have said, ‘What! Me?’
But strangely, I did write a story (The Legacy) over the weekend. It was published and so it began — more stories, then novels and more novels …
I joined a journalism course [at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bombay] because, after my children were born, I was desperate at losing out on an intellectual life, which had always mattered to me. My family life was wonderful, but it was not enough for me.
Once I got into the part-time journalism class, I found I enjoyed the writing — it felt like something I had always been doing. And when I had to do a three months’ apprenticeship, my writing was much appreciated and I was asked to join the staff. Unfortunately, my children were too little to be left on their own, so I didn’t. I stayed home and wrote.
For the record, the now-defunct Onlooker magazine was published by the Free Press Journal group, competing among others with the fortnightly India Today and weekly Sunday.
India TV founder and Aap ki Adalat host Rajat Sharma was among its editors.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Read the full interview: Shashi Deshpande
Also read: How journalism helped cartoonist Manjula Padmanabhan
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