I was born in London in 1968 of Indian parents both of whom were teachers. My parents have always been hard-working, sensible and pragmatic people and brought me up to be the same. Consequently for a long time I was under the impression that writing wasn’t a real job and that I ought to have a proper one. In all fairness there is some truth in this: writing hasn’t yet paid the bills. Anyway, I went to medical school in London and trained as a doctor. In fact I still practise part-time as a palliative care physician in the South of England and, most of the time, I love my job. Medicine has made me what I am and I think the NHS is a wonderful thing, worth defending.
In spite of all this I became certain early on in medical school that something significant was missing from my life and this suspicion kept on growing. The fact that whilst at medical school I first stopped writing and then stopped reading fiction altogether for quite some time, both of which were directly proportional to my level of unease, should have been a clue. However the penny didn’t drop and I spent two years backpacking solo in Asia in my late twenties searching for whatever was missing. During that time I almost ordained as a Buddhist nun, the deciding moment being when my eyes fell upon the rusty razor in the hands of the nun who was about to shave my head. Eventually I came back to England, came back to medicine and started to write again.
After almost a decade as a doctor, I decided to stop squeezing writing into the tiny gaps that medicine left and commit to it properly. I enrolled in the MA Writing programme at Sheffield Hallam University from which I graduated with distinction in 2007, an achievement of which I am pretty proud. Of course this was before the hike in tuition fees on which I also have an opinion (which is that the entry ticket into higher education should be aptitude not wealth). I went into my MA thinking I was going to be a playwright. I came out a novelist.
My first novel, an unexpected by-product of my itchy feet, is called ‘Esperanza Street’ and is set in the Philippines in 1981. The first draft of it was written for my MA thesis. It was released by Andotherstories in February 2015. I am currently writing my second novel.
I live in a seaside town in the South of England in a lovely school catchment. My daughter is a well-adjusted, happy child (I have proof – see diagram A). This means I must be doing at least one thing right. My life at the moment is characterised by two things: a constant gnawing restlessness (which may just conceivably be too much coffee and too little sleep) and the utter impossibility of finding a permanent workable balance between medicine and writing.
Thankyou for visiting my website. I will put more stuff on it in due course. However I should point out that it took me several years longer than everyone else just to get a mobile phone and I still can’t work the Wii which may have some bearing on how quickly new content appears.
Diagram A (See, I told you so):