Shashi Deshpande was the first octogenarian guest author so far at An Author’s Afternoon. A recipient of Padmashree, Shashi’s deep knowledge and experience stood out as she shared her views on many topics of human interest. She was in conversation with Professor DebnitaChakravartiwho is very well familiar with the format of the session as a conversationalist.
After getting her degrees in law and economics, she studied journalism at Vidya Bhavan and worked for the magazine Onlooker. Shashi was brought up in a literary ambience. Her father Sriranga, was a famous Kannada writer and dramatist. Shashi published her first collection of short stories in 1978. Her first novel -The Darkness Holds No Terror. She has authored some special books for children, written a good number of short stories and has nine novels to her credit.
Ms Deshpande won Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel That Long Silence in 1990. She said it was the most difficult one in her literary career and dealt with issues related to women. Today’s session, however, focused on her latest book Listen to me in which she reveals her life, work and coming of age.
Shashi a writer par excellence as well as a voracious reader. “An author is always born, it can never be created,” she said. She realized from her long span of literary experience that writing for children is perhaps the most difficult genre. Whenevershe saw children reading Enid Blyton,she wished they had English books on Indian themes.
Her latest book is on feminism which she thinks is one of the most misunderstood ideology in the world. Being a feminist and happily married she sees no conflict between the two. However, rape and abortion are absolutely against feminism.
She loves writing the good old way with a penand paper and finds the modern digital versions absolutely dull. She lamented the fact that the current generation has bid adieu to writing letters.
Shashi wrote the screenplay for Govind Nihalani’s film ‘Drishti’.