When I first started work on my manuscript, the story (then titled ‘Winter’s Lake’) was going in a completely different direction. The story wasn’t going to be as dark as it turned out and the lead character, Raina wasn’t going to suffer as much trauma as she eventually did.
The story was going to endure a paranormal theme but the drama component wasn’t going to feature as much as it did in the final draft.
As I mentioned before, ‘Aadita’ took a long time for me to finish writing. The process began as a passion to write a compelling story and ultimately became something of a catharsis for me.
The year that I began to write the book was when I was still motivated with creating new stories. It was a time when I had yet to learn some hard truths about life in general. There was always so much going on around me, but I wasn’t oblivious to it. No, I knew there were terrible things happening all around, but I thought they would never invade my life.
The stories that I read as a child were fairytales. In the end, the hero always saves the day- YOUR day. Then I found out that in real life, there are no heroes. You have to be your own hero and get yourself out of your own problems. I was too naive to think that I would be spared from the problems in the world and when they came upon me, I had no idea how to deal with it all.
I couldn’t concentrate on my writing anymore and the story stayed on my computer in a folder that I never visited. I was in too much distress to cope with what had happened in my personal life but what I had no expected was the underlying problem was suddenly going to become a prominent fixture of problems in my life.
Suddenly I was seeing things in a completely different perspective. There were things, evidence of the things to come that I had ignored and now I had to deal with it all.
Here’s the absolute truth: No matter what age we live in or how much progress the world around us has made, the one thing that still begs to be altered is the respect of women in society. No matter where you come from, how you’ve been brought up or even the education you’ve received, women are still considered to be the weak link that only hampers a man’s success.
The sad part is that women are often taught to treat other women- even their daughters- in the same derogatory manner. They must be perfect in every way. They must be good looking, possess incredible talent and complete any task with laudable competence.
Oh yes, and they must be humble, make sacrifices...the list of expectations is endless. Women are never told what is expected out of them, but they are made to feel inadequate every single day should they lack in any field.
Additionally, women must also never complain and forever be grateful for whatever little they are given.
It was hard at first, to find out that such meaningless discrimination still exists and I had to learn to cope with all the changes this brought upon. I could complain and complain, but my voice was never going to be heard.
To show that such discrimination against women still exists, wasn’t going to be easy. There is a lot women have to deal with. They must deal with bullies who are of the same gender as well, who are taught by their insecure parents that body shaming is the path to their own confidence. Women must deal with having their whole world fall apart and still stand because they are expected to fulfill a duty, and that is to be there for others.
We could suffer heartbreak, extreme health issues, family problems, financial problems and still, women are expected to cry and get over it so they can be brought forward to be judged for something entirely superficial.
At all times, women are expected to do just one thing- follow the rules created by man.
It was while I was made aware to such atrocities that I decided to take a turn away from my usual writing style and give the story a touch of reality.
It was at that time that a bullying incident had taken place, where a girl was made fun of for her looks and body weight. She committed suicide after being harassed constantly by her peers. I could empathize with that as I too was made fun of in school. I had to put this all in. The things that had gone wrong in my life, didn’t need to be hidden. The truth and the bad side of people had to be showcased.
So the first part of the story was about Raina dealing with her bully problems and her standing up for herself only to fail miserably. The second part was about her family being indifferent toward her just because she was a girl. The third part was about her coming to terms with her problems and learning to live with them.
It was a very difficult book to write because it mirrored some of my own experiences, but in the end I was glad I got it all out of my system and hopefully the message I intended to send was received.
What I wanted to say was this: Women are subjected to a lot of pain and judgment; there is a lot that is expected from them. We live in a world where no one is exempt from problems that tear away at our happiness. It just so happens that women are made to suffer more mainly because they are never allowed to show their emotions and if they do, they are regarded as weak and picked on even more.
I’m glad I wrote Raina’s character. She suffered through all the problems that happened to her simultaneously, but she never gave up and never hurt herself in any way. She worked out her problems, put her fears aside and managed to create a passageway for her that could lead her to a happy future.