Monday, February 19, 2018

Sacha Roopnarine

'A Gentle Wind'


Photos Ishmael Salandy

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It took me a while before I could locate Sacha Roopnarine at our agreed upon meeting spot last Wednesday evening at West Mall. And when I had finally spotted her, I was taken aback at her childlike frame. Also, there was nothing flamboyant about her for she was dressed simply, in a loose, turquoise blouse and a long, gray flare skirt. I walked over to where she was, and discovered that she was accompanied by her mother and much older sister. It would take a while before the interview could begin because her mother and sister, somewhat hesitant to leave her side, had to decide whether or not they should stay for the interview.

They asked Roopnarine what she wanted, she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "it's up to you," and they left us to talk (her mother was most hesitant to leave, as the older sister had to nudge her along). Roopnarine, the last of five children, is the baby of the family.

I sat down with the green, 19-year-old author of the book A Gentle Wind to find out more about her — mainly, what propelled her in the direction of authorship.

She confessed, "I always wanted to be a writer.

"In the beginning," Roopnarine said "I wanted to do teaching, in Form One and Two. And then it changed to wanting to be a doctor around Form Four…"

And while in 2006, she began chronicling her emotions and thoughts after having faced many challenges, the idea of writing as a career did not take root until 2008 when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, "I was inspired to write poems and short stories during the one year period when I was ill. It created a way for me to express my feelings of happiness, sorrow, love, hatred, etc., during that period. I knew people were laughing at me whenever I fell ill, sometimes they would even say things to my face and it hurt a lot; hence the reason why I wrote down my feelings."

Writing, therefore, became a way of escape and a form of therapy for Roopnarine, who, upon falling ill, had to take a series of medications which triggered three to four seizures in one day and brought on major depression so that she became suicidal.

Her first book, A Gentle Wind, emerged from this period in her life, "Anyone can read A Gentle Wind. I wrote it in a way that anyone can understand and relate to it. It mainly focuses on teenagers…but adults can also read it as it would help them to understand how a teenager thinks...I've been through a lot and I've learned from my past and one of the reasons why I wrote this book is to show others that there is always hope even in the darkest times… This book will inspire people to rise above their obstacles and help them move forward." A Gentle Wind consists of 73 inspirational and romantic poems and four fictional stories," she added.

Perhaps a little less known fact about Roopnarine is that she is a singer. She has a few songs out on the radio: "Baby You're The One", "Back To You", and "Baby, Baby". Her songs can be heard on stations 106.1fm, 97.5fm and 101.1fm. They were released in 2011 and are a combination of Indian and English slows. Roopnarine's resume is not complete. Presently, she is studying sound engineering at a Radio Broadcasting School, Cipere Street, San Fernando and pursu-ing cosmetology at Melinda's School of Cosmetology located in Charlo Junction, Penal.

In regards to Roopnarine's writing career, given that writing was not necessarily her first choice for a career, she had this to say, "…because my first book was so successful, I think I'm going to make writing a full-time gig." So readers can look out for more publications by her.

As the interview concluded, she had this piece of advice to give to young people: "Don't give up on your dreams no matter how many challenges you may face, and there will always be people who would try to bring you down, but just use the bad things as encouragement." So true.

Author's Note: A Gentle Wind is available at Unique Book Store, Penal, San Fernando, Chaguanas and Port-of-Spain; Charrans Book Store, Chaguanas; R.I.K Book Store, nationwide; Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School and Veena's Book Club Penal.

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