Teen takes write step
Meet Simar Malhota, a 17- year- old schoolgirl who has penned a novel, runs an NGO and dreams of making a difference in the world
I feel the youth has the power to change the world and make it a better place SIMAR MALHOTRA
Simar Malhotra at first glance may come across as a typical schoolgirl who is bombarded with several academic papers and projects. However, once you start a conversation with her, you will be surprised to find that this class 12 student is also an author and her debut novel titled There is a Tide is soon going to be launched in the capital.
At 17, this International Baccalaureate Diploma Program student from Step by Step International School, Jaipur reveals that she always liked to write but penning a full- fledged novel happened only by chance. “I have a habit of keeping a journal since a young age but I have never written for an audience and neither aimed at penning a novel. It all happened by chance when last summer I changed my school and came from Delhi to Jaipur and from here I went to Yale University for a summer course. I took up two writing courses: ‘ Creative Writing’ and ‘ Shakespeare’. And that was the first time I wrote for an audience.” Talking about her tenure at Yale and how it helped her connect with her passion for writing she says, “It was one of the best 5 weeks of my entire life. I had never studied Shakespeare and when I came back from my first class, I was howling because I didn’t understand a word. I was so upset and distressed that my dad who had booked an open ticket from the US to India, even suggested that I come back home if it was getting so difficult. However, I decided that I was not going to leave the course midway and completed my 5 weeks successfully.”
She adds that her professors and peers at Yale really helped and motivated her to take her hobby of writing to the next level. “While I was jotting down my experiences and memories about my tour to Yale, I suddenly thought of trying and weaving them into a story and see how it shapes up. Initially I wasn’t even going to tell anyone about it but as I was almost through with the book I realised that I didn’t want to waste my effort. So, I called up my father back in Delhi and sent him the manuscript and requested him to send it out to a few publishers who could give me a feedback. Both my family and I thought that since I was just 17 people wouldn’t take my work or me seriously. We even thought of self- publishing the book if none of the publishing houses responded positively. But luckily Rupa Publications liked my manuscript. Now I am really excited about the audience reaction to my first book.”
There is a Tide is a fictional take on the youth of our country and how they could make a difference in the society. It revolves around Rhea Saxena who comes from an affluent and conservative family in New Delhi. She struggles to find her individuality, fights all odds to fulfil her aspiration of becoming a writer and overcomes a series of political drama involving her loved ones.
“I took little less than a year to finish the book. Since I had no intention of getting it published, I wrote at my own pace. I am a midnight writer and used to finish my schoolwork by night and start writing post 12 till 5 am sometimes,” says Simar, adding, “The book is basically about the youth. I feel the youth really has the power to change the world and make it a better place. But sadly we are so lost in our own web that we don’t take out time and walk an extra mile to improve our society.”
Apart from being a student and an author, Simar also runs an NGO called Parvaah. Elaborating about that she shares, “My NGO concentrates on two things: environment and recycling. We have adopted a group of women near the outskirts of Chhattarpur who basically make colourful towels. We provide them with raw materials and help them sell the products. Whatever revenue we earn from it is shared equally. Also if there is any surplus, we invest it in the next lot of raw materials. It is in collaboration with an NGO called Abhyudaya. We are planning to take it forward by doing things like funding a girl’s education, teaching them English so they could stand on their feet in the near future.”
Her dad, who is a foreign sales professional and mother who is an HR consultant, are over the moon about her achievements. “I have so much schoolwork that I don’t even have time to think about the book launch. However, my parents and younger brother are really thrilled and excited. I am just crossing my fingers that many people like my work. I am now planning a sequel,” she concludes.
( Left) Simar Malhotra; ( above) her debut book titled There Is A Tide which will be launched on September 9.