It is now more important than ever to have a conversation about topics that have heretofore been brushed under the carpet, according to Hyderabadi author Tina Sequeira who has just been awarded the Rashtriya Gaurav Award 2019, in association with the Government of Telangana for the ‘Author of the Year’ for her book Bhumi.
Her book, an anthology of 21 short stories, takes a hard-hitting look at issues that impact women like infanticide, menstrual taboos, dowry, body-shaming, eve-teasing, rape, glass ceiling, gender discrimination, physical and emotional abuse from family, and society.
“It is more important than ever to talk about uncomfortable subjects. Most men don’t know what we go through. The restrictions always fall on the women. The men are never questioned. It’s high time we taught boys how to behave. We need to change the mindsets which have to start from the school. Social conditioning must change in urban and rural areas,” says Tina.
Girls have now moved forward through education, she adds. “We are giving boys the freedom without telling them to be responsible with it. We tell them it’s a man’s world, but 50 per cent of the population is made up of women. The world as much a woman’s as it’s a man’s,” elucidates Tina whose works feature characters that have sprinklings of all shades, in the world she crafts, there is not just black-and-white, but also grey.
The women are real and inspired by people like her friends, family and people she comes across in her life. “The experiences I write about are from a non-judgmental perspective and without any labels. My writing also seeks to question the society which finds it hard to accept those who don’t fit conventions,” explains Tina whose book Bhumi is also inspired by her mother who gave up a lot of her ‘self’ for her children and family and seeks to recognise the tireless work of thousands of women who sacrifice for their family and are yet often unrecognised.
It is something that resonates with Tina on a personal level. With an MBA degree in Marketing and Human Resources, she worked with Microsoft India before taking a long corporate sabbatical owing to motherhood, followed by a six-year stay in the US.
During the time she spent there is when the writing bug bit her. She found herself writing for diverse platforms and returned to India to work as an assistant professor teaching Management. Currently, a content marketer with a digital marketing company, she juggles her time between writing, work and conducting creative writing workshop for kids held every weekend.
“My writing happens in the early morning and late nights when I find time for myself. Right now, I’m working on a book for kids, but I’m still figuring out the plan as of now,” signs off Tina.