• Thursday, July 07, 2022

Purnima Gangam speaks on her book 'Rainbow After the Storm'


on May 30, 2022
interview

In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Purnima opens up about what she experienced, during her years spent in India, Scotland and China, and how she accommodated the changes and uplifted herself, amidst disappointments, betrayals, truths and realities. When she couldn't see where the future was leading, she remained positive and continued working hard, believing there will be a better tomorrow.

Portraying a powerful symbol of hope for other women as well, Purnima took the courage to embark on a deviant path, setting an example, proving that each one of us has abilities and potential to work towards our dreams.

Now known as Purnima Gangam, she lives in China with her husband and her miracle baby. She is passionately involved in bringing cultures together via her cooking workshops, and inspires many to stay firm and fight for their rights.

Q1. In your book, "Rainbow After the Storm," you’ve addressed your son as the "Miracle Son." What is the reason behind it?

As you’ll see reading my book, based on many issues in my first marriage, I never could have a child due to multiple abortions.

My second marriage took place late in my life and I was not expecting to have a baby, but then Prathik happened. Prathik came into my life when I was least expecting it, which is why I think of him as nothing shorter than a miracle

Q2. How do you explain your connection with Atul, who you consider to be an incredible brother?

Atul and I, being only 3 years apart, have been close since we were children. The bond that we had was inseparable, because of which I have had a soft corner for him in my heart. 

Our mom always used to tell me that when we were younger, if anyone ever gave me any gift, I would take it and instantly stick my other hand out and say “Where’s my brother’s?”

As described in the book, Atul came for a long visit to Edinburgh as well. He came when I had been feeling terribly alone, and seeing him filled my heart. We spent a lot of time sightseeing, shopping, and even celebrating our first Rakshabandhan in 5 years, I couldn’t stop tearing out of happiness. He stayed for 11 whole months and wanted to keep him with me forever. 

It has been tough to deal with Atul passing away from cancer. But I am very thankful for all the decades worth of memories we share growing up together, as best friends. 

Q3. Every mother wishes to bring joy to her children and to expose them to their own lives. As a result, they are motivated to achieve greatness. When did the idea of writing a book exclusively for your child first strike you?

Having had a rollercoaster of a life, I definitely wanted to pen it all down since 2012 when the idea came to me. I met the author Sona Ghose in Shenzen then, but due to many reasons it was put on the shelf. However, after COVID hit, all I could think about was how life was passing by. Perhaps that was because by then Atul and his wife had passed away. My mother and father, too, were gone. Regardless, I did not want to shelf anything anymore. I needed to share my story with my son.

I got in touch with Sona Ghose again, who was very excited about this project, and then we got started. 

Q4. How has Mahesh changed your life to become ‘the self-sufficient Purnima’?

Mahesh, like Prathik, came into my life miraculously. Being with him feels like I am always on cloud 9. He gave me a real reason, and meaning to live my life to the fullest. He has always encouraged me to do whatever gives me happiness. 

My current cooking business in Shenzen, was also possible because of his push. He knew that my passion has always been cooking and he has since then encouraged me to promote myself. 

I give him a lot of credit for my confidence, especially while settling down in Shenzen. Above all, though, I give him most of the credit for our miracle baby, Prathik. 

Q5. When a woman marries a man, she makes the decision to give up everything before stepping into this new world. You will be distraught if this new world does not treat you with the respect that you deserve. Please express your opinion on account of your experience.

Based on my experiences (both times), I can fully agree. When I married Mahesh there were definitely doubts. I was scared to leave Edinburgh to go to another Foreign Land, China. I was not in my 20s anymore, it was scary. There was a massive language barrier, cultural differences.

When I married Mahesh there were doubts, if and buts as I was leaving for another foreign land China, where I had no friends. The only person I knew in the entire country was Mahesh, who I was moving for. 

To answer the question, I do believe that women make heavy sacrifices when they get married, especially if they have to move to new environments after. However, what makes ALL the difference is the support of the husband that you are doing this for! I felt this difference between both my marriages. 

In my second case, Mahesh has been a rock. When I told him when I first moved to China that I felt lonely, he encouraged me to teach English for free so people could come to be friends. This is exactly what I did, and I am very thankful for it. It was his thorough support and care that I fully started enjoying and getting comfortable in China. Now, it’s my home. 

Q6. What were your impressions of India, Scotland, and China? Which location is your favourite, and why?

India is always going to be my first love, being born and brought up there. My entire education was in Dehradun, my whole family is there. All my childhood memories are associated with my 2 brothers and sister in India where we had a simple upbringing. It was in India that my passion for books, music and cooking started.

Scotland is where I have lived most of my life, my second home. Other than the weather, I have loved and cherished everything that Scotland has to offer. It was here that I felt myself maturing, venturing into new experiences. I started working part-time at different shops which taught me a lot – Scottish Jewellery, Tartans, and more. I made so many friends here who I stay in touch with even now. 

China, which is my home right now, was tough to settle in, as I mentioned earlier. However, after some time I realise that it has many similarities with the Indian culture – Family values, for example. It started reminding me of India and made it easier to settle it. Other than language problems, this is where I properly started pursuing my passions and worked towards establishing myself. I even have my Chinese name now: Poo-Ni-Hong!

It is very hard to compare the three experiences because they happened at different points of my life, but I believe they all made me into who I am today. India gave me childhood memories, Scotland made me mature, and China is making me the most confident in my abilities, stories, and passions. I am thankful for all of it. 

Q7. Through this book, you’re representing the voice of every woman who has triumphed above all adversities. What is the special message you’d like to share with all women?

I truly hope that after reading the book, women all over the world feel motivated to achieve anything at any age. In fact, not just women, I hope everyone learns to believe in themselves a bit more and see for themselves the changes It can make. 

Even though it took me a very long time and a long journey filled with many obstacles, I found my rainbow. I don’t think my spirits ever really died, I always thought there was something waiting for me, a spark. 

I was definitely low on confidence at some point but my husband never let me give up on myself, he gave me many reasons to be proud of myself. Even with this book, he has encouraged and supported me in any way possible and I am thankful for all my experiences to be able to appreciate this so much more. 

I just want everyone to truly know life is not always a bed of roses, there are lots of struggles and hard work a lot with belief in oneself and a supportive partner goes into everything to be successful. Lastly, age is just a number!

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