Dr Madhu Vajpayee is the author of Seeking Redemption where a young medical student is caught in an entangled web and adversity makes her vanquish her fears cum conquering life. The author who is based in Australia speaks about her life there, horde of Doctors becoming successful authors and how observation in hospital as well as childhood shaped her writing.
Dr.Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world.
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.
When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.
How do a Doctor gets into creative writing and does observation in hospital corridors means the perfect getaway from routine?
Let me tell you doctors are one of the most sensitive people around! And, I feel one of the main qualification for an author is to be able to feel the pleasure and pain of another person. Although not everyone becomes an author but lot of them have the potential to do so if they have time and are willing to pen down their experiences in any form. In fact I must tell you that there are several doctors around the world who have emerged as very successful authors.
I won’t say a perfect getaway because as a doctor you can never detach yourself from the routine but yes, penning down the observation as fiction or non-fiction is definitely a kind of release. A release from something that is not letting you at peace. Once those observation or experiences are worded, as an author you find a strange kind of serenity.
Tell us about your life back in Delhi and how you decided to spread your wings in foreign shores?
I worked as a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and was associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. Life was good in Delhi. I was enjoying my work. However there are few moments in life where you have to choose between two best options and it’s one of the most difficult thing to do. My choice of moving to Australia was one such decision. The circumstances at my work place as well as at my family front forced me to choose foreign shores. As the saying goes, something in life is destined.
Has writing always intrigued you and were you weaving stories during your childhood?
Yes, that’s true! I was always fascinated by the written words, words that have power to transcend you to completely different universes altogether. From early childhood, the wonderful habit of reading that was inculcated by my father gradually turned into writing expeditions. What I couldn’t say in words or express myself in its wholeness would find its way to paper and thus began my journey as a writer from an early age.
Your book, ‘Seeking Redemption’ is the tale of a medical graduate that get caught into corruption and caste politics. Here, I can see a recent reality in India where medical seats were traded. Has the book been inspired by the recent events?
In a sense, yes. Besides that there were series of events related to corruption and caste politics that either I was witness to or was aware of. All those things did inspire me to write the fiction that had imprints of real life situations.
Was it an easy decision to leave your practice as a Doctor to pursue full time writing and were you able to find time during your professional stint to write?
I have not left my profession all together. But, working part time has definitely given me more time and space for my writing work which was earlier almost impossible.
How do you see the way writing has evolved during the past decade in India and do you think characters are more global where the East meets the West? Is there any common ground that you can see between both continents?
Writing has taken a quantum jump in India, particularly the English language writing. Besides love stories that will always remain the favorites, writers are experimenting with different genre and succeeding. Yes, characters are becoming more global with increase in globalization, migration and authors from East residing in Western countries or vice versa. I feel common ground will always be there for human nature, thoughts, emotions and feelings are similar across the world. There might be difference in geographical, social, language and lifestyle but underneath these difference is one common human spirit.
The cover of ‘Seeking Redemption’ is intriguing where the female character seems to be caught in an entangled web. What’s the mystery behind Meera’s story?
The entangled web symbolizes her dilemmas and an invisible wall of doubts that threatens to destroy everything she stands for. Every time she tries to detangle it, a new web of uncertainties engulf her and she again loses her way. But,, eventually she wins against her own demons and instead of getting caught in the web, make a way for herself amidst the ruins of her past.
Tell us a bit about your family life in Australia and the feedback they offer on your journey as a writer?
Well, compared to India, life in Australia is very easy going. This country has a very relaxed lifestyle. And it helps that I am not working full time. Unfortunately in India we have so many things in daily life that needs our regular attention and those things take lot of our time. In this country, you don’t need to worry about everyday life. Although one could never stop missing one’s own country but my family life is definitely much unhurried and tranquil here. This gives me lot of time to read, introspect, contemplate and write something. My family participate quite actively in my writing ventures. Besides giving me honest, at times brutal feedback, they do give me an unconditional support in this journey.