She began with poetry and ended up taking refuge in prose. And today, Rubayata Umeed has already become Kashmir’s youngest novelist with two books under her belt.
Text/Pics by Tanveer Magrey
SHE talks about a Queen in her story—of wizards and beasts—who gets exposed to certain shocking revelations in search of her beauty. She passes through a rollercoaster of plot twists and turns, before finally finding out more than what she set out for.
At the age of 14, when Rubayata Umeed came up with this debut fantasy fiction titled “Wizards X Beasts”, she surprised many bibliophiles with her literary imagination.
A year later, in 2019, Rubayata’s literary devotion produced another acclaimed book, “Zero”.
It talks about Alfresco Keith, a boy with a rare defining skill, who escapes his fear of zeroes, and follows his dream with a burning passion, and quickly becoming famous as Champion Zero.
While his skill helps him with his game, a personal tragedy – the death of a loved one – from years ago in his life, follows him. The quest to find the murderers, and the passion for becoming a football star coinciding, with a common thread of suspense weaving both into his life. A significant loss awaits him. So does a gift.
Even as she swept tsunami of praises for her fantasy writing, Rubayata’s imaginative powers didn’t roll many heads in her own homeland. She finally found her ardent audience in the literature aficionados of south and east of India—who turned up to fete and felicitate the young author.
Away from the humdrum of life, Rubayata Umeed, now 16, juggles her time between school work, writing and drawing. Mathematics problems are something she enjoys doing. Japanese cartoons are her stress-buster and the show she watches without fail. Drawing is another hobby she is consuming her time on.
Bestowed with the repertoire of skills, J&K’s youngest fantasy writer is living with her single parent — her professor mother, in their newly constructed house.
She resides barely 40km to the north of Srinagar and three kilometres from a highway town Kunzer, in a village called Mulgam. Rubayata’s quaint village carries the typical pastoral aura. It remains oblivious of the fact that it houses J&K’s youngest novelist.
“I enjoy writing in my free time, though I would rarely get enough time because of the school work,” Rubayata, sporting a baby haircut, says.
She first started writing seriously during 2016 street protests—when she had whales of time to pen poetry. As situation returned to normalcy, the young author shifted to prose, which finally shaped up into her first book.
“Once I shifted to prose I started writing short stories,” continues Class 10 student of Salfia Educational Institute at Russu, Budgam. “The characters I would conceive for my stories started taking form mostly whenever I played with my cousins.”
Rubaita’s “Zero”, her second book, clearly reflects her fascination for Japan and Japanese cartoon characters.
“Nowadays,” says Prof Hameeda, her mother, “my daughter is interested in pro-Kabaddi League and roots for Tamil Thalaivas.”
Calling her daughter “prodigy, God-gifted and obedient”, Prof Hameeda recalls those early times when she found an inclination in her daughter towards writing.
“She would write few lines at the very young age and conceive characters and play them out with her cousins,” the mother recalls with a glint in her eyes. “Witnessing all those things I had firm belief that this god-gifted child is going to produce something special.”
Now as her daughter is bracing up for her upcoming third book, the mother has made up her mind to bring some sport in the writer’s life.
“I’m going to enlist her into some sports activities, for only a healthy body can perform well in academics and other activities,” opines Dr Hameeda.
The youngest writer is now gradually graduating to a next level. She’s reading the “serious” literature these days, for her own growth as a wordsmith.
“I don’t emulate any writer as I haven’t read too many books yet,” says Rubayata, innocently. “But lately, I’ve started reading both fiction and nonfiction to understand the nuances of literary world and evolve as a better storyteller.”
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