The Magical Aarti
  Vedesh Nath
FEATURES
April 2016

Meet Aarti Gosine

She is the epitome of a strong Caribbean woman. Working as educator, photographer, graphic artist, entrepreneur and writer, she encompasses the passion and the success that many yearn for.

Aarti grew up in Gran Couva and lived there for the first five years of her life. Her mother, a patriot to Gran Couva (having lived and worked there most her life), soon moved her family to Couva as she felt it was more convenient and closer to better schools, thus affording Aarti the best possible prospects. Aarti’s early education was formulated at the Gran Couva RC School (where her mother worked as a Teacher and as an Acting Principal) and then to the Mc Bean Hindu School. After sitting Common Entrance Examinations, she managed to pass for the prestigious Naparima Girls’ High School. After A’ Levels, she was successful in attaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Management from the University of the West Indies, and would later graduate with her MBA from Edinburgh Business School at Heriot Watt University

  

Now fully-fledged, Aarti still lives in Couva with her husband of nine years. She owns a publishing company, Jav Publishing House, where most of her time is spent. When she isn’t working assiduously at her publishing house, she takes time to venture into her other passions and skills. She loves photographing wildlife and nature, she enjoys documenting old traditional Trinbago festivals as a way to preserve them and she serves as the Managing Director of the annual bridal magazine Trinidad Weddings Wed-zine. All of these can be pontificated, but Aarti’s most treasured accomplishments are the books that she has published.

  
Writing since the age of eight, Aarti’s father, V. Ramsamooj Gosine, (a writer himself whose résumé includes a collection of short stories published by Charran’s Publications and the novels The Coming of Lights and The Man Who Saw God), pushed her to pursue her dreams. Her first article was published in the Junior Express, and she couldn’t be more thrilled when she got her first pay cheque of $50.00 (a large sum back then and even larger for an eight year old). Aarti would continue writing mainly for pleasure. However, as an SEA tutor, her biggest challenge would come in getting her students to write compositions. She recalls complaining about their poor grammar and lack of imagination. The students couldn’t even have communicated on paper their real life experiences. This was Aarti’s calling. She remembered the huge impact Enid Blyton had on her as a child and how it helped her as a young writer. She knew that the fact that these children had not been exposed to literature was perhaps the key reason for their inability to write.

   

Aarti managed to publish her first children’s book in 2010. It was called The Magic Cave and was soon followed by the sequel More Adventures in The Magic Cave the following year. The books follow the adventures of three friends who stumble upon a magical cave. Every time the group of friends enters the cave, they are taken to a new land – be it prehistoric, historic or supernatural. The books’ focal point is the threesome’s enticing adventures in the new World found each time they enter this cave.

With the success of her first two books, Aarti couldn’t resist but publish a third. Her most recent contribution to The Magic Cave series, The Jaeden Ring, published in June 2015, has turned the series into a trilogy. In this installment, the main character, Samantha, discovers that she is not human but a part of the Jaeden pedigree - a supernatural race. She is now on a quest to find out her genealogy and where she really came from. Samantha’s investigations soon lead to complications when she is forced to battle supernatural forces that are trying to destroy the planet

But The Jaeden Ring isn’t all about a fight for survival. It powerfully tells the story of acceptance in society – an important message for children everywhere. As you read through the books you realize that Samantha is not like the other children, given that she possesses supernatural powers. Those who know her secret do not shun away from her but continue to be friends with her and support her. Samantha is a role model for young girls and women. We meet her in the series as a shy, timid girl who grows to be a courageous hero. She overcomes adversities and becomes a powerful character – attributes admittedly admired by the author herself.


The third installment caters for children in the 7 – 12 age groups. The trilogy grows with the reader so the first two books are great for the 7-9 year old and then as the reader grows the books become more detailed, using more complex sentences and larger vocabulary to help them expand their own knowledge base. 

Given that the time frame for the completion of a book solely relies on Aarti’s creative energies and editing, Aarti has already begun her fourth installment to The Magic Caveseries. Although she didn’t plan to, after the third book she saw possibilities to carry the series further. The fourth book will be based on Samantha’s new life as a Jaeden.


Apart from The Magic Cave series, Aarti is currently in the early stages of writing books for teenagers and a historical piece, both yet untitled. Although Aarti is writing now for teenagers and adults, she admits her passion lies in writing children’s books as it is not as complicated as the stories for an older reading assemblage and she is allowed to incorporate a great deal of fantasy into the story, exercising only her imagination. The author hopes to one day have her books transferred from page to the big screens of our multiplexes or television screens.


Aarti’s vast personal library may have been the vital contributor to the brilliance of these books: from Trinbago’s own Michael Anthony and Roslyn Carrington to international literary-hailed Enid Blyton, Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling, there’s no wonder Aarti’s stories contain such intricacies and eloquence. 


Aarti encourages persons in Trinidad and Tobago to pursue their own dreams of being writers as she strongly believes that this country has an abundance of talented writers and storytellers. However, she states that it is not easy getting a traditional publishing house to publish a book that is not a textbook due to costs, economies of scale and the harsh market. Many of these writers turn to self-publishing and many don’t print a second run because the first one may have been hard to sell or unprofitable. 


She continues by highlighting that many things have to be done locally to generate a wider writing regime. “There needs to be a complete change in mindset from the public to the booksellers and even the government,” she says. “Citizens have to stop believing that local things are not good. The booksellers need to better promote local books in their stores. Many book stores have local books hidden away at the back of the store while imported books by more prominent authors are displayed in the front as the customer walks in the door. The government also should put in place programs / additional programs to have these books available to the appropriate audience via the libraries. I would also like to see more Literary Festivals like the Bocas Lit Fest, more competitions for writers and more grants for those who wish to have their works published.”

Aarti encourages young persons to follow their dreams. She adds, “When speaking to young writers I always tell them that if they wish to get rich from writing they are in the wrong field. I believe it’s better to be honest with them so they know what they are getting into. However if they truly want to write and are willing to put in the work then I encourage them to go ahead with it. We always need more books and the self-satisfaction they get from seeing children read their books is a great motivator. They should volunteer to read to schools, libraries and so on, and this would help in the marketing of the books.”


When asked if she uses Trinidad dialect in her work, the writer says that given that her books belong to the fantasy genre and they are not necessarily set in Trinidad, therefore she does not feel it necessary to incorporate the Trinidadian dialect in her work. Seeing that she also wants her books to be an avenue where children can be guided to write proper compositions themselves, she feels that many children cannot differentiate between our dialect and Standard English, and succumbs to writing dialect and slang in their creative writing, outside of direct speech and winds up marring the standard of their composition. She believes that when they read, they should be reading and getting accustomed to Standard English.


The Magic Cave trilogy is an important asset for every child’s bookshelf. All three books can be purchased at Paper Based Bookstore at Hotel Normandie (Port of Spain), Rainy Days (Ellerslie Plaza), Tales N’ Treasures (St. James), R Superstore (Couva), Abhishek’s Stationery (Couva) and RIK Bookstores (nationwide). Online they can be found on Amazon.com and on her website www.javpublishing.com


The author has vowed to keep the books the same price as they were when they were zero-rated since she wants the books to remain accessible to all children and to aid in the growth of their love for reading.

By: Vedesh Nath | FEATURES | April 2016


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