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Hyma Goparaju Interview – The Withering Banyan Book

We got an opportunity to interview a woman entrepreneur and an author of her latest book. She is Managing Director of Indigen Technologies Private Limited, Hyderabad. She runs her own company and has a very strong academic background. She has done MBA, CFA (ICFAI) and is pursuing a part-time PhD from IBS Hyderabad. She has won prizes at a state and national level in debating during her college days.

Hyma Goparaju Interview - The Withering Banyan Book

What inspired you to start writing?

I have been interested in writing right from my childhood. I have always felt that writing is one of the best mediums to express one’s thoughts. When I was young, I used to write poems. Now I am more interested in writing fiction.

What did you like to read when you were a girl?

I was always very fond of comic books. As a kid, I used to regularly follow series of Pinky, Chacha Chaudhary and other comic strips. Later on I used to be glued to Amar Chitra Kathas, of which I used to have a big collection. Then I took to Enid Blyton and had thoroughly enjoyed most of her books. There was a magazine by name ‘Wisdom’ that I used to read often. By the age of twelve, I had read abridged versions of works of famous authors like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, William Shakeaspeare.

What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?

Once an idea is formed, usually a book flows, but when stuck somewhere, it can make a writer’s life difficult. Also, some subjects require good amount of research and getting material for them can be challenging at times.

How much research do you do before writing the book?

Since this is my first book, a lot of it is from what I have noticed first-hand and I have transformed all of it into a fictional story, though wherever required I did the necessary validations.

What motivated you to write the book “The Withering Banyan”?

I wanted to tell the story of people affected by mental illnesses as I have seen from close quarters a few succumb to them. This story is less from a medical point of view and more from the dimensions of the environment, society, family and the individual.

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Can you tell us more about your latest book “The Withering Banyan”?

The story of my book is themed around schizophrenia and the fact that a mental illness can affect anybody. One of the main characters in the book gets affected by it. However, because of an absolute lack of awareness about mental illnesses, the family and the society labels him mad and thus begins his downfall which also results in the gradual downfall of his family and business.

The illness is not limited to him but passes on to the following generations as most mental illnesses are abetted by both environmental and genetic factors, and in the story a hostile environment pushes the disorder further down the family line. The novel progresses from the pre-independence times to the present during which many people in the family – spanning five generations – succumb to mental illnesses.

The book highlights the prevalence of a callous attitude and lack of awareness, both on the part of the society and the government, towards people with any sort of a disability – be it mental or physical – in India.

How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?

I think fiction genre is one of the very effective ways of presenting an issue in the form of a story. Stories have a profound impact and are an integral part of our lives. When issues are brought forth in the form of stories, they create greater awareness. Fiction has the potential to entertain and inform at the same time and hence I chose this genre.

Who are your favourite authors?

Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Khaled Hosseini and Ayn Rand to name a few. Many new authors are coming up with interesting stories and I like to catch up with them too.

How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?

I do not follow any daily regime as such and sit on my writing as and when I get ideas. I am more comfortable writing when the flow of a story is uninterrupted rather than following a regime.

What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Have faith in your stories and in yourself.

Thank you for your time, you can buy her book:

About Nikhil Narkhede

He likes to read inspirational books. He is a Professional Blogger, Entrepreneur and a power networker. By education he is a Computer Engineer and by profession he is an Online Marketer.

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