Author takes to the airwaves

28.6.14 MILNGAVIE. Writer Leela Soma had short story published in The Scotsman.
28.6.14 MILNGAVIE. Writer Leela Soma had short story published in The Scotsman.

Milngavie’s very own Indo-Scot novelist, Leela Soma, was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland’s Shereen Show recently.

Leela, a retired teacher, talked about her childhood days in Madras/Chennai in India, her early love of Enid Blyton books and Indian fables and her schooling.

She recalled arriving in Scotland and her first glimpse of Glasgow in 1969 when she was 21 years old.

Leela, who came with her Indian husband when he found work here, said: “It was hard to get to grips with the Scottish accent as a newly arrived immigrant to Glasgow.

“I was fluent in English but I’d never heard Scottish words like ‘driech’ and didn’t understand when people said they were getting a few ‘messages’.

“It was very confusing for a while and I felt homesick.

“Scotland was also very cold and wet and I’d grown up in extreme heat, and the food was very different.

“I missed my family terribly and it was a completely new way of life as I’d come from a privileged background in India where we’d had staff, including a cook and driver.”

In the radio interview Leela revealed her life as a principal teacher in Glasgow and how she began creative writing as a hobby.

She has now published two novels: Twice Born, which is part autobiographical, and Bombay Baby, which deals with the topic of medical tourism.

She added: “My passion is to get the voice of the Asian-Scots into mainstream literature scene in Scotland.

“I have settled in Scotland now and have many friends here, but India will always be my home.”

Her next book is a crime novel and the main character is Inspector Patel.

Leela has one 28-year-old daughter who lives in America.

Here’s a link to the full radio interview - www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02f3vgp