Title: Liberation: Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Society Author & editor: Samhitha Reddy Publisher: Inkfeathers Publishing Price: Rs 250
Samhitha Reddy is a lawyer who is currently pursuing her Masters in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Despite her busy schedule, she found the time to compile a two-part anthology series called Shades of a Woman: Navigating Society as a Woman and Liberation: Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Society.
The series showcase heart-warming and inspiring stories of women and how they have always strived to be better, not only for themselves but also for their families. "The stories of women around me (my mother, grandmother and aunts) often go untold because they didn’t have any platform to share or people to listen. That’s when I realised that all of us have something to share. I wanted to give a platform for women to express themselves. I started working on this project during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. I am an ardent supporter of women's rights and hence, it seemed fitting for me to pursue this project. What started as one anthology has now grown into a two-volume project. I reached out to people from various walks of life across the world and asked them to share their experiences and inspiring stories about women in their lives (or themselves) and that's how the books took shape," says Samhitha.
The lawyer and author shares that she could relate to almost all pieces while editing and compiling the poems and prose. "I could relate to all pieces as an experience that happened to me or as an emotion that I felt. When the books came out, those who read them shared that they could relate to many of the narratives in the books,” she tells us.
The carefully curated collection showcases people from all walks of life: entrepreneurs, Padma Shri awardees, students, activists, homemakers, authors, centennials, professionals sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences with the world.
Samyuktha brings hidden emotions to fore through her writing
Samyuktha Ramachandran, who penned five heartfelt poems for the anthology Liberation: Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Society, talks to DT Next about her inspiration for the poems which were all themed around the empowerment of women.
Q. When did you first start writing poetry? What inspired you to express your thoughts through poems?
• Writing poetry is quite prevalent on my paternal side. My granduncle and grandaunt were both avid poets. My mother used to tell me that I was always a bit of a dreamer, and in fact, wrote my first poem when I was eight years old. It was a poignant tale about a wounded lark. When I realised that I could touch upon and understand the underlying and sometimes hidden emotions behind a subject, I was inspired to share my voice. Through my writing, I endeavour to capture the depth of emotions behind a particular topic or experience and render it relatable. In a society where the conversation is increasingly dominated by social media, feelings of isolation, even among peers, can tend to increase. I believe it’s important for everyone to realise they are not alone in their journeys.
Q. In the book Liberation, you have penned five poems — A Tale of Fire, Mother Earth, A Tale of Wind and Water, Dear Sister and Change. All these speak about women's empowerment. What drew you to this theme?
• The theme of the book is women empowerment and the daily struggles of a woman as she manoeuvres her way through various challenges life throws at her — it's a topic very close to my heart. I strongly stand by initiatives aimed at creating a community in which one and all can feel encouraged to share their stories and lend support to one another. Through my contributions and those of the other authors in this two-part anthology, we hope to inspire women globally to share their experiences, have their voices heard, and wear their personalities unapologetically, and with confidence.
Q. Were these poems written for the anthology or did the anthology fit in with your style of writing?
• These five poems were written specifically for the anthology. Before Liberation, my poetry was largely inspired by nature. For this specific anthology, I drew on both personal experiences and those of some women whose strength I deeply admire. The poems I submitted for Liberation reiterates the undying resilience and expansiveness of the human spirit. My poetry is very much inspired by the topic of choice and that topic usually chooses me.
Q. Who are some of the writers and poets you are inspired by?
• I admire Sylvia Plath’s and Emily Dickinson’s poetry, both being prolific writers. One of my favourite poets to date would still remain Robert Frost. In terms of writers, Jordan B Peterson and his Beyond Order — 12 more rules for life is my current favourite. I also have a huge soft spot for George Orwell’s unique descriptions.
Q. What's next in your literary journey? Is there a book in the offing? Do you plan to publish independently?
• While I continue to add to my private collection of stories and poems, I do plan to publish independently soon. I aim to inspire hope through my words in the same way I have been inspired by my wonderful friends and family. I’m very excited about my next piece of work.