A Canadian of Indian origin living in Bahrain, Rohini Sunderam dabbles in all kinds of verse, satirical, funny, and contemplative as well as prose if the mood so grabs her. She has contributed to several anthologies by Robin Barratt.
Rohini is a semi-retired advertising copywriter. She has written two books as commissioned assignments, had articles published in The Statesman, Calcutta, India, The Globe & Mail, Canada, and The Halifax Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Her poems have been selected in international competitions for publication in Poetry Rivals (Remus House, UK) 2012; Dilliwali (Bushra Alvi Razzak, India) and Quesadilla & Other Adventures (2019 Somrita U Ganguly).
Her books Corpoetry, Desert Flower and Five Lives – One Day in Bahrain are published by Ex-L-Ence UK. Her poem Birth Pangs and her entry in a Rhyming Riddle contest (7th place) are featured in The Society of Classical Poets Journal VII (May 2019) & VIII. Her story: Your rebirth, My death short-listed in The Atlantis Short Story Contest 2013 was published by Expanded Horizons (September 2018). Winner: Oapschat, U.K (2014). Participant in the Colours of Life annual poetry festival in Bahrain since 2012. She is a founding member and recently retired director of the Bahrain Writers’ Circle.
Even though we share Canadian nationality, I have only met Rohini Sunderam online through her fellow-Bahrainian author, Seumas Gallacher, who has previously been promoted in the Authors-Readers International series. I promoted Rohini’s books on my blog Reading Recommendations (see links below) and then she honoured me by asking if I would judge the entries for one of the writing challenges held by the Bahrain Writers’ Circle. Here’s the blog post I published about the experience that includes a link to the BWC challenge results.
Five Lives – On Day in Bahrain
Five Lives – One day in Bahrain is set in the year 2007, but it’s a story that could apply to almost any time. It traces the lives of five very different people, a housemaid from Sri Lanka; a municipal garbage truck driver from India; a Filipina hairdresser and beauty salon manager; a British banker, and a young Bahraini man.
The five prayer times that Muslims observe are used to punctuate the different periods in the day and the story’s action. Through the course of the day, we learn of the individuals’ lives and hopes until a point when they are all brought together and their lives intertwine.
Who connects with whom? Discover unsung heroes. This is an uplifting story that celebrates ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
by Zohra Saeed
A Short Story – Love blooms in 1930s Bahrain…
“His deep voice was soft as the waters in the bay on a summer night and his words were the most magical I had ever heard. They sent a thrill racing through my body like a hundred tiny Arab horses galloping down my spine.
I closed my eyes with an effort to shut out his face, then opened them again, the tension of his loving words made me want to touch his lips and trace the soft bow of his mouth…”
1930s Bahrain, oil has just been discovered in the Middle East and Andrew MacInnis from Canada has come to work there.
Andrew visits a Bahraini carpet merchant, who does not speak English. The merchant calls for his daughter, Noor, to act as interpreter.
Noor is a devout Muslim and as such must not expose her face to men outside of her immediate family.
She acts as translator for her father and although he never leaves the two alone, under his very nose, Andrew and Noor get to know each other and fall desperately in love. The lovers secretly plot to run away but the risks are terrible. Noor’s father may send members of the family to hunt them down and kill them.
Do they escape? Will Noor have the nerve to follow Andrew’s plan or will centuries of a formidable culture and Noor’s upbringing prevent these two young lovers from following their hearts?
Here’s an interview with Rohini Sunderam with the Najla Qamber Designs website.
And here’s a video of Rohini reading her poem Perfect Ice Cream at the Bahrain Writers’ Circle conference in 2018.
Rohini Sunderam is currently working on: Finishing my longtime work in progress (in search of an agent!) a full-length novel set in Bahrain during the Second World War, as well as ghost-writing a book for a prominent Bahrain-based businessman.