Sridala Swami trained to be a film editor, but gave that up more than ten years ago. She has taught cinema and yoga and has conducted workshops in creative writing and film appreciation. Sridala’s first collection of poems is A Reluctant Survivor (India: Sahitya Akademi, 2007, rp 2008). Some of her poems can be found online at Asian Cha, Desilit, Drunken Boat, Spiral Orb, Nthposition, Pratilipi and Nether.
Sridala has written three books for very young children, which were published by Pratham in 2009. She lives in Hyderabad, India and blogs at The Spaniard In The Works.
Sridala’s website: The Spaniard In The Works
• One thing that’s always worth getting out of bed for
The dark of early morning. I’m an early riser, not always out of choice, but it’s a part of the day I’ve grown to love: the silence, the slow wakening of the birds, the sudden dawn. In the worst part of the summer in India, the early morning is the best part of the day. I need the silence and solitude of this time.
• One thing about myself that often obstructs me
I honestly don’t know. This is not a boast, but more to do with how I respond to the world. If something appears to be in the way, I tend to walk around it. And, if I needed an answer, that would be it – my ability to give way in a zen-like manner might be the light side of the distraction that I am easily subject to.
Everything distracts me – blogs, books, the sky, overheard conversations. Everything conspires to keep me from writing and I am a willing co-conspirator.
• One thing I’ve learned the hard way
Patience. Reserve. How to hold my tongue. I used to be a short-tempered, impulsive, sharp-tongued young girl. There’s no one thing that taught me the usefulness of these qualities but the most recent example where these qualities were put to the test was the long illness and death of my father.
• One thing that gets under my skin
Bigotry, especially when demonstrated with the sentence “Don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are [insert ethnic group/religion/class/caste/other here] but…” as preamble.
It doesn’t get under my skin so much as makes me furious. I even have to remind myself that I have acquired patience, reserve and the ability to hold my tongue.
• One thing I’d love to change
If there’s one thing I’d like to change about myself, it’s my tendency to worry about things. Even when everything is perfect, I find something to worry about – mostly inconsequential, unnecessary things. It’s a waste of energy.
Having said that – and following J. Krishnamurti – if I really understood the necessity to change something, it would change at that very instant. To leave change to the future in a wistful way is to really say, ‘I’m fine the way I am, thanks.’
• One thing I hope for
To be alive, healthy and enthusiastic for as long as my son needs me. (If there ever was a fear twinned with hope, there it is.)