A celebrated Milngavie writer was thrilled to have one of her short stories published in The Scotsman newspaper recently.
Leela Soma, the author of two novels ‘Twice Born’ in 2008 and ‘Bombay Baby’ in 2011, submitted her story ‘Locked In’ to the paper to be included in a regular section which showcases the talents of Scotland’s best writers.
A first generation Indo-Scot, much of her work reflects her personal experiences.
Born in Madras, now Chennai, the biggest city in South India, Leela always remembers her roots fondly.
She said: “I came upon the idea for the story when I was reading about the British Raj. In both my novels, people were always intrigued by references to the connections between India and UK.
“Our histories are enmeshed and it is wonderful to find a little gem tucked away in some corner of that history to highlight in a story.”
The source of the story is a set of papers on the Medical History of British India in the National Library of Scotland.
Set in late 1800’s it is about the plight of a young female prostitute for the British soldiers who is thrown out of the military living quarters when she becomes diseased.
Leela added: “It evokes that period in history during which poor women in Britain as well as India had very tough lives and survival was not easy. The story may make you flinch but it is based on incidents that happened during that period. It is not an easy read but the story does bring alive a sliver of an image of the kind lives people had to lead in the margins of society.”