PROMPTED TO POST | THE NAME GAME | KNOW & TELL
Meet Vidya Sury, Dreaming of Blue Hair
Because She Worries About Going Bald
I am already in love with Hollie, who runs Everything Fun. I just recently fell in love with Toni and I am excited to write for this “who-am-I”-ish prompt. Of course, I really wanted to change my name to Toni because I loved how she expanded her name. Sigh. Still, I’ve had a go at it and had fun, because it is wonderful to reflect on why we do something we love so much — for me, writing.
Who am I?
I was christened Vidya Saraswati as I was born on Saraswati puja day during Navratri after the goddess of knowledge.
When my mom gifted me my name, she said,
Improve, inspire, imagine, innovate
Dare to hold the key to your own happiness with discipline, dedication
You matter, and as long as you remember to prioritize self-care
All will be well
I try my best to live up to these things. Above all, I try to be kind, non-judgmental, and loving toward others. It is the least I can do!
What genre(s) do you write across?
I pride myself on being able to write about anything, thanks to growing up in a family with a fabulous and enviable library. I was encouraged to read. Classics, westerns and Wodehouse were my favorites. Then, of course, mystery/psychological thrillers/medical-legal crime fiction. I also enjoy autobiographies. I am ever grateful to my mom and my uncle for plying me with books.
Since I read everything I could lay my hands on and worship the written word, I tried my hand at writing across various genres both in the female voice and a male voice — I have written non-fiction, fiction (short stories and slightly longish stories, but have not attempted an entire novel), romance, and poetry.
Why, when I launched my freelance writing career after retiring from the corporate world at 33, I even ghost-wrote books for my clients on various subjects. Oh yes, topics as eclectic as “Dating Advice for Men”, “Organic Gardening”, “Cash Flow” (finance), “Paintball”, and several internet marketing topics, self-help, travel, and so on.
Back in 2003, a friend forwarded me a story, which I heavily criticized. He dared me to do better. I did. Erotica. Went on to write eight more. Still receiving fan mail :-P
That being said, I prefer to write non-fiction and am currently working on a series related to the various aspects of diabetes, women’s health, mindfulness, and meditation.
When did you start writing?
Quite likely at the age of 2. My mom was studying for her exams. She kept me busy by letting me unleash my creativity with a box of chalk on our beautiful red-oxide floors. Yes, with my tiny carbon footprint, I literally had the floor. I would draw and scribble, pretending I could write. At four, I was sketching comics. When my uncle returned from work, I would draw him a cup of coffee and snacks. I was quick to clear the table with a wet rag and get dinner ready in a trice. At six, I wrote poetry (at least my version of it) and stories from my rather vivid imagination. My mom always encouraged me to write about everything — my feelings, my thoughts, about trips we took, train journeys, etc. I also kept a journal. And continue to enjoy writing. Today, I am lucky to have found my vocation as a writer. Talk about enjoying what I do and never having to work a day in my life!
I am also lucky that writer’s block is afraid of me — because I have too much to say and worry I have too little time to say it.
Where are you located in the real world?
I really want to say “in your hearts” and “in your smile” but yeah, I now live in Bangalore, India after having lived in Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Fortunately, the world is my home, thanks to the internet and my laptop. You’ll usually find me in my living room, occupying a two-seater couch which I consider my “spot”, feet up comfortably, listening to music as I work, sometimes humming along. How lucky can I be?
How do you create?
I am constantly writing in my head. Everything I see has a story in it. Every song has a memory. I enjoy photography and every click inspires a story.
I make outlines in my notebook (yes, paper and pencil and color pencils for me, please). I doodle a lot. When I cannot immediately find the words, I draw pictures. My mind is always creating and thus, there is a reason why I line my kitchen shelves and tables where I work with sheets of paper — so that I may doodle, scribble. I always have two big notebooks with me, with a color pencil kit. Even when I travel.
Why did you choose to write on Medium.com?
I already manage six blogs of my own. At first, when I found Medium in 2016, it was fun to see a distraction-free interface and write without worrying about formatting and SEO. It was a nice playground to simply write. I’ve been on and off the platform since, with my second longest stint being in 2018 when I wrote for The Startup. Then life got busy and I put Medium on the back burner.
Further, why do you continue to write/read on this platform?
I must thank the pandemic for bringing me back here — in June 2021 when I began to write regularly. I learned a lot from reading a lot — one of the things being that I could republish my blog posts on Medium. I found many publications that appealed to me and I signed up to become a writer.
I love to write and engage with other writers. We need community to thrive. I believe that we rise by lifting others. And that’s what keeps me here. I am grateful to all the writers here who inspire me to do better, to think, and grow. Because I am a lifelong work in progress.
Today, I am privileged to be an editor with 14 publications and a writer for several more, although I am only active with a handful. Medium is time-consuming, even if it is pleasantly so, and I do have a day job as a manuscript editor. So I try to balance my time as well as I can between my own blogs, working with my publisher and independent authors, Medium, and of course, housework. What can I say? I love Medium.
Thank you! ❤
Thank you, Toni Greathouse for this lovely prompt!
I just read Hollie Petit, Ph.D.’s delightful post — which I loved!
Help me support underprivileged children via Ko-Fi. Thank you!
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