A journey of self-discovery
January 07 2021 11:34 PM
Guests and organisers pose for a group photo at the book launch. PICTURES: Jayan Ormaa

By Mudassir Raja/Staff Reporter

“This is the story of cultures of both India and Qatar. I have brought in the story which takes you deep inside the houses of Indians living in Qatar. This story can make you cry as well as laugh.”
This was shared by Sushma Harish, Doha-based author from India, about her first novel 
Kismet (destiny) that was recently launched during a ceremony held at Indian Culture Centre (ICC). Observing Covid-19 safety protocols, a select gathering including representatives of ICC, Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF), prominent community members, and friends and family of the author attended the book launch.
Prominent among those present were ICC president Manikantan A P, ICBF president P N Baburajan, Susmita Pattnaik, president of Indian Women Association Qatar; ICBF vice president Mahesh Gowda, Nagesh Rao, president of Karnataka Sangha Qatar; Ravi Shetty, managing director, Advanced Technical Services; and Harish Baliga, husband of novelist Sushma.
The author, brought up in Manipal, Karnataka, is a chemical engineer from Manipal Institute of Technology. Residing in Qatar for 15 years with family, she has worked in the oil and gas sector for eight years. Passionate singer, artist, blogger, and humorous toastmaster, Sushma turned to fiction writing in 2017.
Speaking about the book, she said: “Kismet is my debut book, a joint dream of mine and my grandfather, who is no more, and hence the book is dedicated to him. The novel is the story of Akash Shetty, from Mangalore in South India, a fictionalised character based on a true life story. Set across Mangalore in India and Qatar, with a narrative that traverses from early 2000 to the current times, Kismet is a multitude of experiences in life by Akash, the protagonist.”
The writer further said: “Akash loves his family dearly and lives up to their expectations and happiness. Why did his sibling devastate his family? What was the impact it had on Akash’s life choices? Akash lands in Qatar for a short term project. He experiences a rich multicultural life and receives so much love that can change him. What incident leaves him emotionally devastated, and how can he turn it into serendipity?”
Susham added: “As a story of love, hate, culture, philosophy and humanity, the book challenges one’s perceptions towards life. There is Akash within many of us, who reminds us that destiny can be turned into a stroke of serendipity. By opening a window into the life of Akash, the book takes you on a journey to self-discovery and self-actualisation. As Akash’s outlook towards life alters, the book vows to create a lasting impact in the mind of the reader.”
Speaking on the occasion, ICC president Manikantan A P, appreciated the book that highlights both Qatari and Indian cultures. 
“Today we are having photographs while wearing masks. The pandemic will go away in a few months but the photo will be there forever. Something similar can be said about the book. It tells the story of an Indian expatriate and the story will remain there for the times to come. I congratulate the writer for bringing forth a wonderful novel and wish her success in future endeavours.”
ICBF president P N Baburajan read out some excerpts from the book and said the story has the power to grab the attention of the reader from the very beginning.
“I do spend some time reading a book every day. Kismet is a good book to read. It has a beautiful cover page. I would urge Sushma not to stop her writings. She has the potential to create and bring out beautiful stories.”
Susmita Pattnaik, president of Indian Women Association Qatar, said: “I know Sushma as a friend, blogger, toastmaster and author. For me, she is a dreamer. I can see the spark in her. She has evolved very much since I met her for the first time. As people are worried and concerned about the ongoing pandemic, she has managed to make her dream a reality – publish a book. For her, it is not a beginning but an outbreak of spontaneity. I know how she is. She has lots of promise and hope for the future.”

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