Published: 23rd March 2021
The many teachers that shaped this 26-year-old's journey to becoming a writer
Hyderabad-based Prarthana Earla's first book of anthologies, published by Notion Press, is out and oh, what a journey it has been for her. It's called Find Me and this is its behind-the-scenes story
When Prarthana Earla was in school, her English teacher Nirmala Srinivasan was the one who encouraged her to write poems, even if they were nonsensical. Since that both Prarthana and her poems have matured, it was only fitting that when the 26-year-old released Find Me, her first anthology of 26 poems (Yes, the number of poems in this book and her age are the same. Coincidence, much?), she dedicated it to her beloved teacher. Along the way towards writing her book, she had many other teachers who believed in her talent. But after her academic life, at the fag end of which she pursued a Master's in Neuropsychology from National Forensic Sciences University, Gujarat, she pretty much had to chart her own life's course without her guiding lights.
Some of the anthologies she has contributed to are Shireen: The Anthology and Musings, Mundane and Mortal
Let's shift the focus from school days to online courses, which is pretty much the only school we've all known during the ongoing pandemic. So Prarthana, who has a few anthology contributions and even a co-authored book titled Hashtag Story under her belt, wanted to hone her writing. Why would she opt for it if she already has a decent body of work? Because she is the Aamir Khan of budding writers. "It's true, I am a perfectionist," she says sheepishly and adds, "When I signed up for a 12-session virtual course with Virendra Shahaney (reputed screenwriter and storyteller) he told me to immediately stop editing my work and just keep writing. I get hung up on not being able to find the right word, he helped me past that."
The book cover | (Pic: Prarthana Earla)
Similarly, Write it Down, a creative writing handbook published by Mithaas Services and the Writer's Choice package from MyCaptain were also part of her training roster after which she decided to pen poems for Find Me. "I am a very emotional person. I strongly believe in appealing to the senses rather than a superficial touch. That's the thought that led to Find Me. Also, if someone wants to find me, they can do so in between the pages of this anthology," she says confidently. This is where we should mention that the cover and the back page art have been done by Jasmine Sorathiya and Avishi Agarwal respectively. Who are they? Well, you see, Prarthana is a teacher herself —she works as a Team Lead and teaches English and Life Skills at the Centre for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship at The/Nudge Foundation. It's her students who drew and doodled for her book.
It was on March 11, 2020 that she announced the release of her book. Also, the date of her teacher's birthday
Indeed, Prarthana’s romantic (as in the era and the mood) self and her affinity for Shakespeare and Jane Austen are very evident in her poems. In her very first poem, Grace, she expresses gratitude. And at the centre of the anthology lies the poem Best of Both Worlds outlining the poet's ambivert personality. "I've learnt a great deal via writing poems. I would use to write only when I was down and out, I used to think rhyming was the apex of poetry. But now...," she trails off. Looks like it was literature, enabled by teachers, that became her greatest teacher.
Poems from the romantic era:
- To a Skylark by Percy B Shelley
- Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats
- The Natural Daughter by Mary Darby Robinson
- A Walk in the Shrubbery by Charlotte Turner Smith
For more on her, check out instagram.com/prarthanaearla