2021 began, as every year should, and does-with hope. For the vaccine and for my manuscript, which I had completed the first draft in NaNoWriMo in November 2020
At that point, I had no way of knowing of the devastation, pain, and anguish that the pandemic would unleash. Surely, the worst was behind us, and 2021 would see me re-enter the pre pandemic way of life in a new avatar-one I had never imagined – as an author.
The year started on a great note. Covid vaccination started for the frontline workers, and we eagerly followed friends and colleagues and shared our own experiences. Meanwhile, two short stories of mine were selected for publishing in an anthology Women.mutiny. I won the Orange Flower Award for writing on LGBTQ+ issues, an achievement I will always cherish.
All the winning stories, including one of mine, from a short story contest held last year were published by Embassy Publications into an anthology “Everything Changed After That”. The book was released by Apurva Purohit in an online event in February 2021.
My first blog post of the year was for the Incredible women of India as a featured post for their March 2021 theme of diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality. The international women’s day celebrations put me in both an introspective and sarcastic mode and resulted in two very different posts. I wrote about the timeline of female inequality for eShe magazine. A random rant on Facebook that began as a tongue in cheek look at those (obnoxious to seemingly harmless) Women’s Day messages became a featured blog post on Women’s web, and was appreciated on other groups and my website too.
Meditation is something that I had never really succeeded at, but an unexpected hobby-coloring- finally saw me achieve some measure of success. I wrote about this journey in this post.
The promise of April showers turned into the distressing second wave. Writer in me froze and was unable to return to the manuscript. The doctor in me was overwhelmed. Nothing in those intensive years of training had prepared me for this cocktail of fear, anxiety, fatigue, anguish, and frustration. For a while, it felt like I would never write again, but then writing rescued me from this feeling. I managed to write this personal essay, which gave voice to the cauldron of emotions that was bubbling inside me. This is a piece that is the closest to my heart. The hubris was refusing to settle, and the shadow of the pandemic had become a dreary companion. Books brought some solace, as did this post about my reading preferences through the pandemic featured on eShe magazine. The rolling ball of fire that the pandemic had become seem to leave no one untouched, but someone very important in our lives-our domestic helps-were being left out of this narrative. This blog post on Incredible Women of India detailed how they were also covid warriors-albeit unsung ones.
Almost 13 years after becoming a parent, I actually mustered the courage to write my first parenting blog for Eyra magazine, on a topic that is very important today-gender neutral parenting.
As 2021 hit the half year mark, I couldn’t procrastinate on the book anymore, and I returned to editing. But I couldn’t refuse a chance to do a commissioned review for the book Lady Doctors, for Womens Web. Reading this post also initiated a reflection on my own medical training and how little I knew about these pioneers, which was featured on eShe magazine. The wandering thoughts resonated with many doctors and sparked a conversation that continued over the day- more special because many of my teachers also empathetically agreed. A book review of an extremely powerful book “Write in Power” was also featured on Women’s Web
The next few months were spent polishing the manuscript, working on its synopsis, preparing query letters and proofing. Once I began to send out queries, I could devote time to blogs that needed research and referencing. Two blog posts that were on my mind for a while and coincided with the world menopause day and the world mental health day:-Menopause and the work place, and women’s mental health. Another health-related post on Vitamin D was featured on Women’s Web
I was fortunate this year to have found a writing buddy who generously took care of most of the work for this blog on buddying up that we wrote together for the Himalayan Writing Retreat.
As the year ended, and I waited for publishers to revert, or for the designated period of silence to end, I wrote a short story based on a prompt for the Muse of the Month contest, an event which is very close to my heart. Meanwhile, I have been exploring publication options for the book.
And, so 2021 is ready to give way to 2022. The uncertainty of a new variant, and unhappy news of pandemic resurgence hovers in our thoughts; and I have had a reality check of the realities of the publishing world.
But, then hope-as it often does, with its trademark audacity-will see us into this next year too. Hopefully, vaccines will triumph, and the book will find its way into the world.
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