Once a panelist at the Le Sutra Bandra Poetry & Literature Festival 2019 on the lives of lost women poets in "Same Sky, Lost Stars," is the Indian English poet Linda Ashok figuring out to be one among them, just not dead but lost within the circle?
Today, the poet Linda Ashok is a tech journalist with a thriving career of over 15+ years, including 2+ years as a full-time digital consultant working for US-based tech startups. What appears amusing is that the author of two volumes of poetry, namely, Whorelight (Hawakal 2017) and Waiting for the Helicopter (Hawakal 2019), informs on her social media, "I write, only sometimes, these days." Source.
On asking Ashok about her plans to return to poetry, she says, "I am just crossing a lowland. I do anticipate a book but am unsure of the dates. But in the meantime, I only write poetry sporadically because what I knew to be a supportive community has proven to be an illusion. However, there are poets like Shweta Rao Garg, Ananya Chatterjee, Hoshang Merchant, Kiriti Sengupta, N Ravi Shanker (RaSh), Annie Finch, and Alvin Pang are a few who I have been in touch with."
The question might arise around how this dissociation is impacting her mental health since she was, as per Scroll.in, one of the 5 flagbearers of independent poetry publication houses in India and the only woman among them. She used her provident fund to establish the RL Poetry Award, which ran between 2013-2019. She has also been the first to edit and publish Best Indian Poetry 2018, a compendium of emerging Indian English poets without a precursor in India.
"Moving away from the scene without any homecoming to the community was a strategic choice for my mental well-being and my poetry. As a digital consultant and tech entrepreneur, the world is too big to waste in the bickering of a shallow community of poets who are afraid to support you lest you outgrow them," adds Linda Ashok.
Currently, Linda Ashok is the Founding-Editor at StartuptoEnterprise.com , where she writes about global social impact startups, mostly in their pre-seed stage. If one reads the pattern, she is in the same curatorial best of her, making the way she contributed to the Indian English poetry community. She mentions that she is not in any competition with the established digital or print media houses in India but with the kind of attention she has garnered with StartuptoEnterprise.com, indexed by Google News aspires to cover advanced tech stories with a focus on Europe, North America, and China.
Ashok says, "Yes, I love to tell stories, given my affinity for the language and love for technology. I see incredible work happening in the space of green technology, health, space engineering and biotech. I feel a certain solidarity with startup founders who are bootstrapping brilliant ideas without any venture capital support. As an entrepreneur myself, I admire the frugality of other tech startup entrepreneurs who don't use tech as a keyword but develop it, such as the story on the .lumen - Glasses for the Blind by a Romanian startup or that African entrepreneur who recycled water weed to light up a dark village of Kisumu."
On a concluding note, Ashok assures that her intimacy with language is God-gifted, and it will stay with her as a poet, journalist and entrepreneur. For young people in India, she recommends all to leverage open-source learning and be safe from a toxic amount of digital course creators and influencers messing up with the authenticity of being.