She Writes Story Contest winner: Dr Geeta Sundar

Dr Geeta Sundar is one of twelve winners of the MSN-Random House She Writes a Story Contest', as chosen by our judges. Her story 'White Chilly' features in the 'She Writes: A collection of Short Stories' published by Random House India and available at all leading bookstores.

Dr Geeta Sundar

Dr Geeta Sundar

Dr Geeta Sundar began her career as a consultant in medicine at BL Kapoor Memorial hospital, Delhi. She has also done a course in medico-legal law. She is a regular contributor to Times Wellness as well as a corporate lecturer. Her published works include Health after Forty and A-Z of Bone Muscle and Joint Diseases. She has also written a work of fiction called Premier Murder League. She is both a consultant in medicine and a writer. At present, she is working in Pune.



Read an extract from Dr Geeta Sundar's story 'White Chilly'

  • Walking up the gentle slopes of the Talzai hill near my house, my husband and I would see her-fair and petite, running up the hill in her 'navvari' sari and slippers. She would be singing aloud and waving her hands about and was an inspiration to all of us who regularly climbed the hill as part of our daily exercise regimen. 


    One day on the way down, I decided to speak to her. 'Aji, how old are you?' I asked in Marathi. 


    Without missing a step she replied in English, '85 years.' And then she revealed the secret to her exuberant health-'I run up and down the hill every day, do six surya namaskars and eat everything!' 


    I smiled. She had forgotten to add the main ingredient-her positive attitude. 


    We crossed each other every day after that and she would smile and wave at us until one day she wasn't there anymore. I had grown so used to seeing her that at every bend of the hill my eyes would eagerly scan the road ahead, seeking her. But the days stretched to months and she did not return. 


    Then after three months I spotted her on a bench. I immediately went and sat next to her. I had come alone for the walk that day. 'Where have you been, aji? We missed you!' 


    A beautiful smile spread across her face. 'Complete your walk and then come and join me here-I'll tell you.' 


    My curiosity was aroused, but I obediently finished my trek and on the way down joined her on the bench. 


    'Please tell me what happened?' I noticed the crutches resting under the bench. 


    'One evening I decided to take a short cut down the hill, slipped, and fell very hard. I was unable to get up as I had fractured my leg. A few well-wishers took me to a hospital and I had to be operated on and a rod inserted into the main bone in my left leg. The people were kind and took care of me till I was discharged from the hospital.' 


    What about your family, they must have been there with you too?' 


    'No, I have five children but they are all abroad. They called and wanted to come, but I told them I could manage with the help of my maid.' 


    'And what about your husband?' I asked gently. 


    'He passed away five years ago-,' She paused. 'Would you like to hear my story?'   


    I really did not have the time but some force held me back. 'Yes,' I said. 'I'd love to.'

In her own words: Dr Geeta Sundar

  • Have you always been a writer? 

    I have always enjoyed writing-essays, humour articles, health articles since school days. But took to serious writing ten years back when I started writing books. I started with health books and then went on to fiction. And now I intend taking my writing career as seriously as my medical career.


    What made you start writing?

    I am a medical consultant and had kept busy with my practice and running my home for several years after marriage but the writing bug kept trying to surface until finally one day it seriously got to me.


    What inspired you to enter She Writes?

    I had just returned from US, and saw the competition announcement on my hotmail. There were four days left for the competition to end and since I love challenges, I decided to enter.


    Why did you choose the category you did?

    I always wanted to write about my mother and she is the inspiration behind my story 'White Chilly', although two other women are also behind it. And 'Experience is the name we give to our mistakes' fitted into the story.


    Do you have a writing routine - e.g. do you have favourite places to write/favourite times of day/do you write longhand or on a computer?

    I am a busy consultant and have a swivel chair with my lap-top to one side, and table facing patients to the other and in between patients I turn to my lap top and  write a few lines and I also try to snatch an hour or two whenever and wherever I can.


    Who is your favourite author?

    Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Munshi Premchand, Jeffrey Archer and PG Wodehouse in equal measure.


    Which book has inspired you the most?

    Munshi Premchand's -'Premchandki Sarvasreshtha Kahanian' in Hindi-a book of short stories.


    Which key piece of advice would you give to any other budding writer?

    Avoid using complex words and flowery language and maintain a good flow.


meet the winners