I asked the writephoto challenge regulars if they would like to come over and introduce themselves.
Without those of you who write and read the pieces inspired by the weekly photos, the prompt would not exist. So, if you follow or take part in the weekly challenge, why not drop me a line?
Today, I am happy to introduce Jai from Jai’s Writing Retreat:
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my host Sue Vincent for her extremely thought-provoking Thursday photo prompts and for giving me the opportunity to speak about myself here. I regularly participate in the writephoto challenge and simply love it. I find the prompts provided by Sue extremely interesting. They really set my creative juices flowing.
Now, I will proceed to speak about myself. My name is Sitharaam Jayakumar and my friends call me Jai. I am a fifty-something software professional working in the Indian subsidiary of an Australian multi-national. I live in Cochin, Kerala, India with my wife and the joy of our lives, our eleven-year-old daughter. My daughter is in the seventh grade and is a competent violinist. I take a lot of interest in music myself.
I listen to both western and Indian music. Since I belong to a much older generation, my favourite music groups are from the seventies and eighties. These include Olivia Newton-John, Eagles, Queen, Wham etc. I love classical numbers by Simon and Garfunkel. I simply love instrumental music by Santana. I am a Beatles maniac. Among the new crop of musicians, I like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Tracy Chapman and several others.
I started learning the Keyboard last year and continued with my lessons till a few months back. I made considerable progress with the Keyboard. I am currently taking a small break from the Keyboard classes. I plan to resume them soon. I used to be a keen cinema buff during my college days but off late I don’t find the time for cinema and the amount of time spent at the movie halls has decreased drastically.
Despite this, I do have my favourite actors and actresses. Among the movies I have watched I find Shawshank Redemption and Titanic the best. I am a fan of Morgan Freeman, Daniel Craig and Liam Neeson. Among actresses, I am very fond of Meryl Streep, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts. Among yesteryears actresses, I admire the beauty and grace of Ingrid Bergman and Madhu Bala an Indian actress.
I am inordinately fond of natural beauty as well as man-made marvels. When I open my laptop, I love the way the Windows 10 OS comes up with new wall-papers every three or four days. Some of these wallpapers are of beautifully lit cities at night-time. Today morning I found my computer screen adorning the nightscape of Shanghai as the wallpaper. Sometimes Windows comes up with scenic lakes, beautiful landscapes, snow-clad mountains, erupting volcanoes and much more.
Till a few years back I did not have the itch to travel. I always used to think that it must be extremely uncomfortable to live a nomadic life. I used to marvel that people could ever like living a life where they are constantly on the move. But thanks to the wallpapers from the Windows OS I have suddenly developed an urge to see the places whose images adorn my computer screen.
Not that I haven’t seen images of beautiful places before. But the urge to visit places has been kindled only now. Well, at the moment I can’t be mercurial enough to just take off into the wilderness. Financial constraints and the fact that I am raising a young daughter do not permit me to give free rein to my whims and fancies. But once things are settled and my daughter grows up and stands on her own feet I do intend to take time off and do a lot of travelling with my wife.
The only foreign country I have ever visited is the United Kingdom. My sister works as an ophthalmologist in the National Health Services in the UK which is the reason behind its being the only foreign country I have ever visited. The other passion of my life is reading. I love all kinds of Books. I started reading when I was in my 5th grade. I started with Enid Blyton, graduated to Hardy Boys, Erle Stanley Gardner and followed it up with Agatha Christie, Robert Ludlum and several others. There has been no looking back since then.
During my middle years, I moved over to non-fiction and read a lot of books on Philosophy. I read Bertrand Russel and several others. I found the books by Ayn Rand where she uses fiction to bring out Philosophical points of view extremely interesting and thought-provoking. I am still a passionate reader and I am quite sure I will never grow out of the habit.
But my love affair with writing began only last year. There is a bit of a story about how I started writing. Every year, in the month of January we celebrate the founding day function of our company at our office. Normally, there is a cultural program and people sing, dance and several events are conducted. I usually sit among the audience, enjoy the program, have dinner and come back home on these occasions.
Last year, the organisers insisted I perform something on stage. Initially, I had no idea what I could do. I have never performed on stage at any time in my life. I asked my close friend who was also the chief organiser for suggestions. He said to me, ‘Jai why don’t you write and present a poem?’ Well, I had never thought of myself as a creative person and immediately dismissed the idea.
But the Sunday just before the function I was sitting in front of my laptop and just for the heck of it tried to write a poem. I came up with a poem based on the antics of my mischievous ten-year-old daughter. I presented the poem at the function and it was a huge success. I put the poem in my blog and ‘Jai’s Writing Retreat’ was born purely as a poetry blog.
The first poem I wrote was to my daughter… you can read the full poem here.
My little princess is ten years old,
when she smiles her eyes sing and dance,
when I hear her laughter and squeals of joy,
in her hands I am nothing but a toy.
Well, one thing led to another and soon I started writing articles. Then I added some photography. Now for the past seven months I have been writing nothing but fiction. I have also published a small eBook in Amazon. The eBook is titled ‘Eighty Hours to Save Karen’ and belongs to the thriller fiction genre. The book is available for free reading on Kindle Unlimited. Well, that will be all friends. Thanks for reading patiently. I hope I have not bored you too much, rambling on about myself.
Find and follow Jai:
Karen Lakshmi, the only grandchild of Air Commodore Mathew Williams is struck by a strange illness. Is she the victim of a supernatural phenomenon? Or is her affliction something entirely natural? Mathew undertakes the journey to unravel the mystery and snatch his granddaughter from the jaws of death.
Danger lurks at every step. He has to tread warily for one false move could spell disaster. Join Mat as he slowly unravels a web of deceit, treachery and obsessive mania in his quest for the chilling truth. Is Mat able to save his granddaughter? Is he able to come out of this journey alive? Only time can tell…