Lives Reset, a book on stories set during the pandemic, give us hope

Ambika Shaligram
Monday, 11 May 2020

An anthology of tales and poems, Lives Reset – Stories of Hope, Heart, Healing and (Un) distancing in Pandemic Times — tells you how to look at the silver lining.

The nationwide lockdown has affected us in ways that we could never fathom. It has made us vulnerable, afraid, weak, but it is also showed us how we could respond by bringing a change in our mindset. All we need is a little hope to heal. 

An anthology of tales and poems, Lives Reset – Stories of Hope, Heart, Healing and (Un) distancing in Pandemic Times — tells you how to look at the silver lining.

Written by The Lightweaver Writing Group of 20172020, the stories and poems seem to be a slice of life, yours and mine, as we make sense of the changing world around us, looking for, and offering support, solace and warmth.

The book has been edited by Dr Bhavana Nissima, an NLP trainer and Writing Coach.

We talk to Arunlekha Sengupta and Mubida Rohman, who have contributed to Lives Reset.

Accept your sorrows and sufferings

Mubida Rohman manages the 'Languages and Intercultural training' portfolio at a luxury automative giant. Rohman has contributed the story titled Things That Happen in Spring.


When did you begin writing?

During my college days, I used to write poems and some short stories. However, once I started working 9 to 5, I hardly continued with it. After many years, when frequent travels and working with people from different parts of the world became a part of my job, I felt an urge to document and write down my experiences. I started with a personal blog and at the work-front, I began documenting stories, editing newsletters, blogs and website content etc. It was the guidance from my mentor and writing coach, dr Bhavana Nissima that helped me continue with my writing journey. Last year, I became a lot more disciplined with my writing and it helped shorten the long time gaps in my writing. I completed a coffee-table book for a child development organisation in India and many other stories for their newsletters and other publications.

How did you meet the character of Zaynah and Evan?

In 2013, I was travelling to Germany for work. On the flight from Dubai to Düsseldorf, seated next to me was a gentleman from Afghanistan. The icebreaker was some pistachios he offered, we began talking and sharing stories. He showed me pictures of Afghanistan, his brother’s wedding, and a lot more about life in that country. We began discussing the political turmoil and the people who had to flee the country to avoid persecution and war, the helpless little refugee children and how often they fell prey to abuse and human trafficking.I guess, since then Zaynah and many other children alike have always been on my mind, and I wanted to write about her and them. In the story Things That Happen in Spring, I began writing about Zaynah and alongside the character of Evan developed as an embodiment of hope. 

How does your personal and professional world deal with suffering, sorrow and hope? Where do you sight your spring?

In my world, I deal with suffering, sorrow and hope through acceptance, that life is not fair to everyone and that there is suffering and pain in the world. It took me quite a while to reach this stage and what helped along the way was stories, stories I read in books and other mediums, stories I heard from people of their journeys and their contribution towards easing someone’s pain, uplifting someone’s life, and helping someone heal. My spring lies in such stories and every time they manage to stir something inside me, making me believe in the power of compassion and change.

‘While writing, I am a god’

Arunlekkha Sengupta is a full-time writer, a Hyderabadi, who loves her food. She has written Sunflowers in the Moonlight for the anthology.

Tell us how you thought of the characters, Aisha and Zeeshan.

Aisha and Zeeshan are my two parts. My moods are affected from time to time in the way theirs was in the story. I imagined myself during lockdown, if my moods swayed to an extreme and there was no outlet for all that energy, what would happen was Aisha. And if I had no energy at all, there’s Zeeshan for you. I came up with their character in one sitting. In fact, I finished the story in two sittings. The dominant theme of the entire collection is hope and also of people who have suffered (loss, grief, mental illness) in the past. 

How do you see suffering and how has it changed you?

I grapple with mental illness myself. Sometimes it makes me very productive and at other times it makes me a zombie. I have learnt to be extremely conscious of my mood. I can feel a shift in my mood at the very onset. I can also see other people and sense their moods. Usually, I can intuite with very little help, what others are feeling. It has made me a more sensitive human being who is prone to introspection. I am filled with gratitude for the good days and the knowledge that the bad days will pass. I am able to see the bigger picture.

Is it difficult to write optimistic stories knowing that it’s not always going to be happy ending for some people?

My favourite genre is mystery and horror. Even in those, I look for a happy ending. It’s very important to me, as a creator, to make it all happy in the end. For this collection, I was very sure that I was going to write a sweet love story. It seemed the most hopeful and beautiful given the times we are living in. I wanted to soothe my readers. While writing, I am a god and I can write the story the way I want to, real life doesn’t come into the picture. I can safely ignore what is happening in real life and make a sweet story and give it a happy ending.

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