Meet Dr Hamsa Thomas, a retired English Professor from Presidency College, Chennai who has found her new calling in short story writing, post her retirement. She publishes her stories online at www.readomania.com
Prof Hamsa’s storyline is engaging and she inspires with stories woven around women’s issues in middle-class families who struggle to make ends meet. Reflecting on her journey, she shares, “I never imagined becoming a short story writer. It all came as a bolt from the blue.”
As an English Literature teacher, she had always been drawn to novels. After her retirement, it was only a natural progression for Hamsa to embark on this newfound career. The novels she had imbibed through her teaching years greatly influenced her and shaped her into the writer she is today.
As a mother of two daughters and a grandmother of two girls Hamsa is driven by her personal experiences and a deep interest in addressing women’s problems through her short stories. Her awareness of the challenges faced by women in society has grown over time. Some of her notable works include “Difficult Decision” (2021), “True Nobility” (2021), “Deeds Decide Destiny” (2022), “Twist of Fate” (2022), “Relief Through Revelation” (2022), “A Fitting Finale” (2023), and “Silence – Not Always Golden” (2023).
Hamsa attributes her success in writing short stories to her background as an English Literature Professor. She recalls, “As a teacher, I interacted with numerous students, parents, and colleagues, from whom I gathered valuable insights into various issues.” This enriched her collection of real and heart-rending stories that feature simple yet engaging narratives, exciting climaxes, and tactful handling, ultimately leaving the reader with a strong and comforting message to take home. She also portrays men as kind individuals in her writing.
For Hamsa, selecting a theme or crafting a story is not a challenge; once she finds inspiration, she can complete a short story in just 15 to 20 minutes. Therefore, inspiration plays a vital role in her writing process. When asked about reader comments, she shares, “Receiving positive feedback brings me great joy and satisfaction. However, I also receive negative comments, which make me reflect.”
Recollecting her initial attempt at writing a story, Hamsa confesses that she was anxious about its success. However, receiving positive feedback from readers motivated her to continue. From her second story onward, she became increasingly aware of her responsibility as a writer. “A writer’s duty is not only to entertain readers but also to edify them. I have become more conscious of this responsibility as I continue to move forward,” she says.
One novel that greatly influenced Hamsa is Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” She admires Austen’s characterization and resonates with the concept of “Six inches of Ivory,” which emphasizes the comfort and familiarity one shares with those they spend the most time with. This principle guides Hamsa in her writing, as she remains dedicated to her purpose.
According to Hamsa, a writer should be sensitive to their surroundings, express themselves simply and sincerely, and be in touch with their emotions. Sensitivity enables writers to convey their sentiments through simplicity and sincerity. She aspires for more individuals to pursue writing, especially those who can shed light on societal issues, fostering collective change.
Having served as an English Literature Professor for 32 years in various schools and colleges, including Kumbakonam, Pudukottai, Vellore, and Madras Law College, where she taught legal English and Logic classes, she retired in 2010 from Presidency College.
Writing is in her family. Her husband, J.C. Thomas is an Engineer turned Malayalam Novelist who stands by her side. The 71-year-old teacher turned writer was born and raised in Tamil Nadu but hails from Kottayam, Kerala.
You’d love watching her interview below.