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Shaira Mohan is a Marketing and Business Development Manager working in the IT space for over 5 years. She is also a freelance writer and has been contributing articles to publications like The Huffington Post, Times of India, DailyO and others.  She has her own blog shairamohan.wordpress.com. Her short story Raghu won the Juggernaut Great Indian Short Story Contest and will soon be available to read on our platform.
Raghu is the story is about a young boy, Raghu, who works as a domestic help to this family. He finds out that the father is abusing his teenage daughter. He wonders what to do, and whether it’s any of his business at all. Raghu tries to expose the father to a family friend, but this ends with the family friend leaving the house saying that it’s an internal matter.

What our editors and judges loved about the story

 

What we liked about Raghu was that it surprised us. It has a very simple, unassuming title, and we absolutely weren’t expecting it to pan out the way it does. It takes a very complex subject, and conveys it very simply. But it doesn’t get rid of the nuance. We also liked the writer’s decision to tell the story from Raghu’s perspective; when you read the story you realise how that decision changes everything.

 

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It was a few years ago that I also discovered my love for the written word and once the first article was published in The Huffington Post, I never looked back. I have my own blog and recently also started to delve into some fiction writing which brought me to the gates of Juggernaut.
2.What compelled you to write about familial abuse?
Abuse and violence against women continue to prevail in our societies like the plague. But abhorrently, abuse is prevalent against men, boys, girls and even toddlers today. The more I have read and heard about these issues, the more they have compelled me to read and somewhere have constantly weighed on my mind. I have also had conversations with friends and family members about people they know who are even suffering within the confines of their own four walls and are too scared to bring it out to light. A recent Netflix show I watched is Big Little Lies which further lent a serious eye-opening dose. It was perhaps the result of all of this that I sculpted a story like Raghu.
3. Why choose the house-help to be the narrator of the story?
I wanted to choose a narrator that fit the bill both as an outsider – meaning outside of the actual family in the story and yet be close enough to them on a daily basis to be able to notice the oppressor’s transgressions.
4. Do you find that writing about abuse is somehow different than writing about anything else?
I would say it can be a little different than writing about other things because abuse is such a soul-stirring topic that it gets one wound up with emotion. Perhaps it is this that enrages a person after reading or hearing about such incidents and induces a sort of easier flow of words from a writer. It is such a global problem. While we read about India being the rape capital of the world, it doesn’t take away from the fact that other parts of the world experience enough of it too. At home, at work and on the streets. Case in point, the recent Harvey Weinstein revelations.
5. Are there any obvious tropes to avoid while writing about abuse? How does one manage to be sensitive and evocative at the same time?
Fiction writing allows a less constrained writing canvas for any topic. Even to write about abuse, one is able to build the oppressor and the victim without too many shackles in the character building process. I think the sensitivity and creativity in building characters and an abuse-related storyline also greatly depends on the emotional quotient and sensitivity threshold of the author. It is in non-fiction writing or writing about a real-life victim where constraints and an extra level of sensitivity need to be adhered to.

Read Shaira’s new story on the app soon! Stay tuned.

 

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