A bit more about myself

Tejaswini Apte-RahmLet me tell you a bit about myself. I was born in Bombay and had a rather demure childhood, schooled at the JB Petit High School for Girls. Early on in life, I developed the habit of saying “Supposing…” Supposing the earth stopped revolving? Supposing everyone grew a moustache overnight? What, oh what, would happen then? In frustration, my best friend in school threatened to nickname me “Supposing”. But it was too late. The seeds of “supposing” had been sown and never left me alone. Therein lie the roots of my life as a fiction writer.

At 13 I moved to boarding school in Singapore (lots of fun) and at 18 to the University of Sussex in the UK (lots of fun too. And I also got a BA in English Literature and Development Studies). An MA in Image Studies at the University of Kent followed (in a nutshell: media and cultural studies), and after ten years I was back to living in Mumbai.

Back in maximum city, I worked as a journalist for Screen magazine and learned about the joy of putting a magazine together and writing words that thousands of strangers would read. I did some freelancing for other magazines and newspapers. I continued “supposing” in my head, though now my writing was entirely factual.

I then worked with the environmental NGO Kalpavriksh, in Pune, as a researcher and writer; and eventually moved into freelancing as a consultant for various international environmental organisations. I wrote two non-fiction books during these years, on biodiversity planning and intellectual property rights. This was exciting work – it gave plenty of scope for “supposing” – supposing biodiversity planning was not like this, but like that? And in dozens of cases, it was clear that communities on the ground had long moved from “supposing” to action, making it come true, or at the very least, trying their darnedest to make it come true. I cherish the work I did during these years, and continue to be involved with Kalpavriksh, albeit from a distance.

Well, life takes you to all kinds of unexpected places. After I got married I turned into a nomadic creature. My husband’s job demanded that we move countries every couple of years. We ended up living in 7 countries over 14 years: India (New Delhi), Serbia (Belgrade), Israel (Jerusalem), Cambodia (Phnom Penh), Thailand (Bangkok), Burma (Rangoon) and Bangladesh (Dhaka).

People have often asked me why I don’t write short stories set in the truly fascinating countries I have lived in. The answer is that firstly, my springboard for stories is rarely location; it is almost always a human dilemma. Secondly, I need to know a location closely and emotionally to write about it; I need to carry it under my skin in order to make it an authentic setting for my characters. That is why in These Circuses That Sweep Through the Landscape, only two cities have been explicitly named and used as locations – Mumbai and London. Both cities are a part of who I am, they live with me and in me.

I am currently based in Baku, Azerbaijan with my husband and daughter. And I am working on my next book, a novel, which promises to take me on voyage, quest and adventure; in short I’m off on a great ride, one which I hope to share with you very soon.

I’m happy to hear from readers, and will try to respond as soon as possible. You can leave comments here or connect with me on Facebook. For media enquiries see the media kit on this website.