Prompt to Publication | Anusuya Kashi
Today we are celebrating Anusuya Kashi. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.
I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use 12 Short Stories to build your author platform.
Author feature: I’d like to introduce Anusuya Kashi.
Anusuya joined12 Short Stories in 2017. She completed the challenge in 2017 and 2018 and she working on her third victory for 2020.
Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?
Anusuya Kashi: Absolutely! 12 SS has been the best thing to happen in my writing journey. It has been THE root cause for my journeying into writing fiction. Before joining 12 Short Stories, I had authored a textbook on medicinal plants, and done freelance articles and content writing, and blogged about topics dear to my heart. Except for one or two stories which were more of an experiment, I had never seriously written any fiction. So writing one short story every month – doing something I believed I had absolutely no flair for – was the real challenge. But I managed to hang in there, and at the end of the first year, I had 12 more stories than before!
What have you published?
Anusuya Kashi: I’ve self-published a book titled “The Song of Life and Other Stories” on Amazon Kindle. It is a compilation of (mostly) the stories I wrote for 12 Short Stories and a few others.
How did 12 Short Stories help you?
Anusuya Kashi: The notification about 12 Short Stories popped up on my Facebook wall one day in January 2017 and I joined this group on a whim. I surprised myself by doing it because I’m not the kind of person that takes risks and yet, here I was, jumping into the vast unknown. Today, I realize it was Divine Grace, or serendipity if you will, that made me click that link.
In the initial days, we would post our stories to the 12 SS Facebook group itself. And scroll up and down to read and leave comments. I’d post my story and devour those put up by the other writers. Mia has a rule that you must read and comment on at least 4 stories. I think for most of that first year, I read like crazy and may have left only 4 stories unread. There was – AND STILL IS – so much to learn and soak up from all the writers there – how to write, how to edit, how to encourage, how to present things better, how to be gracious and kind to fellow-writers…I could go on and on…
Most of the writers on the group were kind enough to read my stories and leave reviews that guided me on how to write and edit better. They guided me on point of view and ‘show, don’t tell’ and setting the scene and using dialogue effectively and so much more. But far beyond the actual tips, I think it was their kind acceptance of me – a non-native English speaker and a newbie to fiction-writing, to boot – as one of their peers, which was the biggest morale boost for me.
12 SS filled me with the confidence that I could practice and grow and become good at writing fiction. The discipline of writing to a prompt and a definite word count definitely contributed to making me a better writer. 12 SS is like the ideal family for a writer – supportive, constructive in criticism without being judgmental, and very encouraging of positive experimentation.
What is your favourite short story that you wrote on 12SS?
Anusuya Kashi: Asking me to choose my favourite short story is like asking a mother to pick her favourite child! But the most memorable one has been The Appraisal because it was my first time writing in 2nd person POV, and I got some fantastic feedback from my fellow writers.
The one that comes a close second is Question Hour because, in it, I practised to ‘Show, don’t tell’.
Anusuya is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, a writer, youth counsellor and an articulate and engaging speaker. She has authored two textbooks in the pharmaceutical sciences and self-published a book of short stories on Amazon Kindle, and writes regularly on her blog. She lives in Bengaluru, India.
Visit Anusuya’s blogs:
I have two blogs – one for my musings – Anu’s Words and another for the short stories AnuKathaa.
Read Home Is Where the Heart Is by Anusuya Kashi
After stumbling for two hours through the dense undergrowth, Captain Kiran finally accepted that he was well and truly lost on his first day in the beautiful mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. He rued his impulsive decision to trek to the army camp instead of waiting for the jeep that was to transport him.
“Veerta aur Vivek,” he chanted aloud, trying to draw strength from the motto of his alma mater, the Indian Military Academy. He knew he had shown no ‘vivek’ or wisdom and was in dire need of ‘veerta’ or courage, to go on.
A low, bloodcurdling growl came from somewhere to his right and Kiran ran blindly, mindless of the low-hanging branches that scratched his face and arms. Which is why he didn’t notice the hand that thrust into his solar plexus, pushing him to the ground.
The same hand steadied him into a crouching position and a voice barked, “Take a few deep breaths and you’ll be okay.”
Looking up, Kiran noticed an elderly but fit man in front of him, dressed in old army fatigues, with a rifle slung across his shoulder. Answering Kiran’s unasked question, the guy separated the branches of the trees right in front and beckoned Kiran to take a look.
“Sorry for hurting you, but I had to stop you before you went there, you know.”
Kiran looked out gingerly to see a bottomless ravine that plunged a few thousand feet.
“I don’t know how to thank you, sir. If not for you, I’d be dead by now.”
“Indeed. Now that we’re not at war with China, this is the only service I can render my country,” he grinned. “Come, let me show you the way back to your camp.”
“How do you know where I’m going?”
“I heard you pleading for ‘Valour and Wisdom,’ young man, and knew you’re an alumnus of the IMA at Dehradun.”
Kiran struggled to keep up with the rifleman’s scorching pace and within the next hour, he found himself in the army camp. But his guide was nowhere to be seen. Kiran asked the guard at the gate if he’d seen a man with a rifle passing by. The guard looked closely at him and mouthed a cryptic reply, “He’s gone back to his home.”
Later that evening, as he walked on the Sela Pass, Kiran came to a stop outside a structure that bore the name of “Jaswant Garh.” Entering, he found a cabinet display of the personal belongings of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat who was killed on 17th November, 1962, while fighting a large Chinese force with a mere three hand grenades in his pocket. A war citation gave a brief description of the encounter and explained that for his valiant act, the rifleman had been posthumously awarded the gallantry award called Maha Vir Chakra.
As he gaped at the photograph that took centre stage in the hallowed room, Kiran could have sworn his guide of the morning actually smiled and winked at him.
Who doesn’t have problems? Or demons to conquer? Who doesn’t face dilemmas? Or wonder what’s right and wrong? And yet, with the right spirit, holding on to hope, it is possible to wait for the mists to clear and the sun to shine again….
Who knows when Karma will catch up with you?
Why would someone not file a complaint in a hit-and-run case?
Can you be unhappy when you try to make others happy?
How are deep bonds formed between in-laws?
The heartbreak of living with delusions…
The need to unlearn before you can teach…
How a kid learns to face up to a bully…
Well done, Anusuya.
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Loved that short story, Anusuya! Well done on the publication of your book. I’m so impressed by people who speak English as a second language having the courage and tenacity to join this group! Well done!