Kiwi Indian Sunita Sharma is doing her bit to keep Hindi poetry alive.

She has recently authored a book named Ancchue Sparsh, a collection of poems on a vast array of subjects from love, sacrifice, and regrets, to injustice towards women and nature. It is her third published book. Her previous work, the poetry collection "Main Gandhari Nahin" (I am not Gandhari) and the story collection "Jagruti" (The Awakening), were published in India almost two decades ago.

Here are excerpts of our interview in which she talks about the book, her journey in NZ, and much more.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have been writing poems and prose since my younger years, finding inspiration in the tales we grew up listening to and contextualising those tales and themes in today's society, and imagining events from the present unfolding in older, much simpler times. My book Ancchue Sparsh is an attempt to give voice to tales, incidents, and stories that have touched my heart over the years, some fictional and some inspired by real-life events. 

I started penning my thoughts again a few years ago after a long break from writing, with no intention of publishing. But during the covid lockdowns, I found more time to write, and my family encouraged me to publish this third book.

What subject(s) does the book deal with?
The title of the book Ancchue Sparsh translates to "Untouched touch" in English. It is a collection of poems on a vast array of subjects. It includes poems that are themed around love, sacrifice, regret, injustice towards women, parents and nature, to name a few. There is something in it for everyone.  

What languages is the book available in, and from where can one buy it?
It is published in Hindi and is available on all digital platforms, including Amazon, Google Books, Flipkart and Kindle.

What has been your journey from India to New Zealand?
Our family migrated to New Zealand 21 years ago, and like many immigrants from the subcontinent, I too got requalified here whilst working. I work in Early Childcare Education and have been in the education industry for well over 35 years now across India and NZ.

In all the years you have stayed in NZ, how have you seen the Hindi poetry scene in NZ?
I am associated with the Hindi Literary (Sahitya) Group in NZ. We are working to promote Hindi, especially among the young generation, in various ways, including teaching, organising seminars, and encouraging them to converse in Hindi. We are trying very hard with the NZ government to make Hindi ways that Hindi can be taught and added to the school curriculum. We are not too far from our goal.

What are your plans for writing?
There are a couple of things in the pipeline currently. Chir Pratikshit is my upcoming publication, a collection of poems like Ancchue Sparsh. I am also working on a project that involves writing rhymes for younger kids.