|Sikkimese writer Yishey Doma|
“I could not believe it. I am so happy to know that I have been selected to stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It means a lot to me. I can’t express this feeling,” Doma told The Telegraph today.
The programme was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on December 11, 2013, with an aim to provide an opportunity to artists and writers to stay at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Painter Jogen Chowdhary was the first invitee of the programme. The Rajya Sabha member who is the former keeper (art), Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Prof. Emeritus of Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, stayed at the President’s house earlier this year.
This time, four persons, including Doma, would be staying at the Rashtrapati Bhavan from September 8 to 26. The other three invitees are writer Dr Vempalli Gangadhar from Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, and artists Rahool Saxena from Chennai and Pratap Sudhir Morey from Mumbai.
“I read about the programme in a newspaper. Applications were invited by the President’s office and I decided to send a letter. I e-mailed my complete resume in January. I had a little hope that I would get selected,” said Doma who works as a sub-editor for an English daily in Gangtok.
She is an English graduate from Sikkim Government College and did her Masters in Journalism from Sikkim Manipal University in 2003. Her schooling was at St Joseph’s. Doma is from Martam, a small village in East Sikkim.
Her book Legends of Lepchas: Folk Tales from Sikkim was published by Westland Tranqueber in 2010. She has also written a coffee table book, Sikkim-a Hidden Fruitful Journey and a travel guide on Sikkim, Sikkim Traveller’s Companion, in 2008. Doma is also the co-author of Stranger’s Notes and other Essays that was published in 2003. Her short story Mantras of Love was among the dozen entries chosen by Random House to be published in a collection by Indian women writers in 2012.
Doma said her favourite author is South African novelist J.M. Coetzee.
Asked how she planned to spend time at the President’s house, Doma said: “I am writing a book. I want to write a bit during my stay.”
She added that all expenses, from travelling to accommodation and food, would be borne by the President office. “I am eagerly waiting for the schedule, which, I am told, would be sent through the e-mail in a few days. I will leave for Delhi on September 7.” Last year, Doma was conferred “Sikkim Sahitya Samman” for her contribution to literature.