SRINAGAR: At 19, this college girl from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has the distinction of being the youngest female novelist of the Valley.
Jaasinda Mir, who is in her first year of Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Psychology, last month launched her debut novel, ‘The Escaped Moments’. The first draft of the 288-page novel was, however, written while she was still in her high school.
It was during a 10-day creative writing workshop conducted by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) that she decided on writing a novel.
“I attended the workshop in 2009 when I was in Class 9. By the end of the workshop, we had to submit a project on the theme ‘Children of Kashmir’. Most of the participants chose the easy way of writing either poetry or short story. But I wanted to do something concrete. So, decided on a novel,” Jaasinda told Kashmir Reader.
Her plan of writing a novel surprised her peers and mentors not because of her being too young but that she had to complete the project in just 30 days.
“When I told my mentor Anees Azmi (Secretary of Urdu Academy Delhi) that I wanted to write a novel that too in just 30 days, he couldn’t believe me. He said it was impossible for a first timer. But I worked hard, met the deadline and proved them wrong,” Jaasinda said.
She has no background in writing or literature; just that before shifting to prose she had been writing poetry for seven years. In Baramulla, her hometown, Jaasinda spent most of her childhood writing about fun, frolics and friends.
“I used to enjoy writing right from my childhood and I started off with poetry when I was in 6th grade,” she said, giving credit to her mother for her inclination towards literature.
“It was my mother who would force me to read a book while I was just a kid. Today I can’t imagine myself going anywhere without a book in my hand. I owe my success entirely to my mother,” she said.
‘The Escaped Moments’ was conceived, set and written by Jaasinda without supervision, she said.
“I did everything from the plot to characters. Once I began writing, words would automatically flood my mind. I only knew that I had to connect the dots.”
The protagonist of the novel is Aatirah Rohail Kazi, a 15-year-old town girl from Kashmir who has only seen grey shades of childhood since her mother died.
“I tried to capture the vulnerability of teenagers in my novel. Every teen is not a happy, and I wanted to bring into picture the other side. The story is about a teen that is an introvert and depressed,” Jaasinda said.
“The story is not exactly related to me, but during my teenage I was also a kind of a person who couldn’t connect to people. So yes, I have surely taken some characteristics from my life and also from the things that I observed during my teenage,” she said.