Author Uma Eachempati is a doctor and obstetrician by profession and a writer by passion. Her latest book, Whispers of the Heart is an ardent tale of emotional upheavals, pangs of separation, uncertainties of life, and unconditional love.

By the way of her book, she narrates to the whole world, the real-life story of her parents. Set in the backdrop of World War 2, the book tells us the tale of a couple separated by the tragic events of a global catastrophe.

During the war, the author’s father Rao decided to serve as a doctor in the army. Just six months into the job and Rao was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in Singapore. With no possible way of communication, Sushila, the author’s mother is left exasperated and worried.

In such an uncertain environment, she manages to raise her two daughters, Leela and Uma with the support of her parents. Finally, it was after a tortuously long period of four years that Sushila and Rao are reunited as a couple.

Adding credibility and vitality to the narrative are the letters that her parents had preserved from the era. These letters include personal letters by her father to her mother and other official correspondence during the WW2. The letters are not just of emotional and sentimental value but of historical significance too.

The book, “Whispers of the Heart” will find a special appeal in fans of historical memoirs and period dramas. For those who yearn to read stories of old-school love, it will be a bonus to read about a real-life couple who battled an unprecedented challenge.

Uma Eachempati has many stories to tell, almost all of them about the courageous lives and deeds of ordinary women.

We at bookGeeks got a lucky chance to interact with the author. Let’s hear what she has to say about her work, her life, and her writing.

How did the idea of writing a memoir about your parent’s journey strike your mind?
My mother had preserved all the letters written by her and the ones received from my father until he was captured as a POW. On finding them, my sister Leela and me decided that since they were of historical importance, they needed to be preserved for posterity.
How was revisiting such an emotional and difficult time for you?
I was five and very much protected. On reading the letters as an adult, I came to know about the agony that a soldier’s family undergoes. This is the story of every soldier.
Are there any people in particular from the book who have inspired you throughout your life?
My parents were strong to face any hardships in life. The time during captivity was the worst for both of them. This has taught me to face the ups and downs in my own life.
Would you ever consider writing a second part to ‘Whispers of the Heart’?
In Part II of the book, I have described how the experience of the war years affected their outlook in life and how they faced the future and the struggles that came their way.
How would you differentiate the author Uma Ecahempati from real-life Uma Eachempati? Are there any major differences between the two?
I, as an author, describe real-life struggles. Being a doctor and an obstetrician, I have encountered many brave women facing hardships in their lives. I am particularly impressed by how they were able to face and accept the inevitable.
Who according to you is an up-and-coming Indian author to look out for?
I do not think that I can name one. There are many Indian authors and many women in both India and the USA who are putting out good work.
What was that one moment that you are glad you relived while writing ‘Whispers of the Heart’?
The reunion of my parents when he returned from captivity after three and a half years at the end of the war, was a very touching scene to write. My mother helped me with her recollection of that moment. This book has been decades in the writing and she elucidated to me some of her feelings about the ordeal.
What is that one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring writers out there?
Keep writing and persevere while honing your skills. Always be aware of the idea you want to convey and to whom. Keeping these two in mind will help you shape the story.
We heard that you are working on a collection of short stories, are those going to be based on real-life stories too?
Yes, all my writing is about true life. There is so much drama, sadness and heroism in real life that I do not have to go into fantasyland. The themes are the same but how each woman faces adversity changes from case to case. From ignorance and unpreparedness, she rises to the occasion and deals with whatever life gives her. Women are strong and when put to the test they become stronger.
Are you planning on venturing into fiction and non-fiction anytime soon?
My short stories will be fictionalizing real life. That should keep me busy.

Categorized in: