Swasticharan Leimapokpam was born in a small town of Imphal in the North-Eastern State, Manipur in India. He did his schooling in Don Bosco High School in Imphal and was academically very good in his school days. He bagged the State’s second rank in the Matriculation Examination [HSLC exam of Manipur Board of Secondary Education] and joined Manipur Public School for the XI and XII class.
After passing out from the school he went to study MBBS from Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Manipur under Manipur University. He again bagged the second rank in the Manipur University Final MBBS exam with a gold medal in Surgery. Soon after his internship he joined the Central Health Service in 1998 and was posted in Tihar Jail in New Delhi. After serving his Tihar stint for five years he went on to pursue his post-graduate examination [MD degree in Community Health Administration (CHA)] from National Institute of Health and Family Welfare [NIHFW]under Delhi University. This time he bagged the gold medal for the best MD student of the Institute.
After finishing the post graduation, he was transferred to Directorate General of Health Services upon his request and he started working as a Senior Medical Officer in the Emergency Medical Relief. He continued in this post till 2012 when he was asked by the Director General of Health Services to become the Chief Medical Officer looking after the National Tobacco Control Programme and other Non-Communicable Diseases till date.
It was during his post-graduation days that he experimented with writing. One evening, he wrote a comment on an article written by somebody on HIV/AIDS in Manipur in an e-paper called e-pao.net. His comments came live immediately and that spurred him saying, “I can write some interesting articles.”
So he wrote an article on ‘Doctor’s bad handwriting’ for e-pao.net [http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=leisure.essays.Leimapokpam_SwastiCharan.Doctors_bad_handwriting-not_good_taste] which was a webpage dedicated to the Manipuris and those days, this was the e-paper for Manipur. He got immediate comments from the e-pao team and a few readers. It excited him. He wrote another “Anti-biotics for sore throat” and others. His articles, thus, were centered on health topics but written with care so that any reader can understand and get the message in the article. Another wave of comments from friends all over gave him another boost. Another article came from his mind “The art and science of managing death”. He questioned his medical core within him and other doctors like him on issues which he had been thinking for so many years. This was also welcomed by all. So, those days in 2003, he used to study real hard core “Health Science” during the day but after his daughter was asleep at night, he would spend hours together to write and write. Nothing could stop him.
For the same internet paper, he started writing a story “Healing souls”. That was when he knew he could write. He would remain immersed in the story line which was based on his own life and his struggles as a kid, the eldest of four siblings raised by her mother after the early death of his father. Healing Souls should became an immediate hit atleast for the e-pao readers. He wrote the series in parts and e-mails of anxious readers poured into his inbox asking them what would happen next and who was the ‘hero’ in real life. People imagined many things about the characters in ‘Healing Souls’. So, he knew he could write a story based on his life. He stopped that series at a climax thinking he would bring this out in the form of a book later on.
His post-graduation days did not give him enough time that he needed to write. Still he wanted to experiment. He wanted to put his imagination to test. He started another series based entirely on his imagination, for the same e-paper. This was “Echel: the lifeline of Manipur”. Echel, in Manipur meant ‘gush of blood or simply bloodline’. This was totally a fiction of four boys running an ambulance services on honorary service in the trouble torn state, Manipur. He made it so real that people would write to him about how the service was going on in Manipur. “Running very well! But, all in my mind,” he would reply.
Later on he was advised by someone not to write everything there for e-pao on voluntary basis and that these can be published as stories and so he stopped after a few episodes. But he could not wait to finish to write them as complete books. He wrote another series called “Welcome to Yeningtha: the hospice”. In Manipuri, Yeninghta meant “Spring” and in this he painted the hope and the tryst of a few terminally ill patients living together in a hospice. Later on, he wedded the two series, ‘Yeningtha and Echel”. E-pao team could not cope up with the barge of stories from him. He surpassed all writers who wrote for the paper in terms of the maximum number of contribution from a writer. They would mail him saying that they were holding back some stories for one or two weeks because they wanted to give their readers some time to read. They finally gave him a corner “Dr Leimapokpam Swasticharan’s corner” [http://e-pao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=leisure.essays.Leimapokpam_SwastiCharan]. All the stories that he wrote those days are in this corner.
But the most significant thing that happened during 2004 while he was busy doing his thesis was that during the lunch hours in the Institute, he would narrate stories of his stint in Tihar Jail as the doctor for the inmates. Some of the stories were funny, totally hilarious; while some were sad and still many of them were scary. These stories formed a centre of discussion with his batch mates in the premier Institute. One of his batch mates, Dr Vinay told him one day, “Why don’t you put this in the form of a book and we can figure out how to sell it?” Till that time, Dr Swasticharan wrote all the articles in e-pao for free. He never demanded anything from them as it was clearly written in the website that the paper would not pay any contributor.
He thus started writing the stories of Tihar Jail. He enjoyed writing them as short stories and one after the other they came out of his mind. He could not complete that during his post-graduation days as he could not take out more time during his final year. After finishing his post-graduation, he joined back Tihar Jail and stayed there for about four months. During this time, he started writing more stories and interestingly a prisoner who was well versed with writing used to read and comment on them. He wrote more stories and even completed a whole account of his five years in Tihar.
He started looking for a publisher but he could not get any one who was interested in them. Finally, one fine day he came across a publisher based in US and UK by the name “Raiders Publishing International” http://www.raiderpublishing.com/. They were interested in his book and they published his first book entitled ‘My Days in Tihar Jail’ in 2011. It was not a runaway hit or a hit at all. People who happen to buy that (mostly friends and acquaintances) told him they loved the stories. This is available in most online stores ranging from Amazon. Com http://www.amazon.com/Days-Tihar-Jail-Swasticharan-Leimapokpam/dp/1616672951 to Homeshop18.com http://www.homeshop18.com/my-days-tihar-jail/author:swasticharan-leimapokpam/isbn:9781616672959/books/miscellaneous/product:26368743/cid:14567/ etc .
He kept on writing stories based on happenings on daily lives and also during his tours to the disaster stricken areas of India and whatever he thought was interesting. At times, when he doesn’t get enough time, he would feel that a part of him is simply dying away. He needs to write stories, no matter what happens to them, but for his survival.
Facebook became a boon to him. He started writing short poems describing the photos he posted and these were at least very popular amongst his friends [http://www.facebook.com/swasticharan.leimapokpam]. Many of them had told him that these poems should come out in the form of a book or an e-book and they would be waiting for that.
No matter what happens to his stories and poems, Dr Swasticharan continues to write.
Where to find Leimapokpam Swasticharan online
My Book of Poems
by Leimapokpam Swasticharan
A great collection of short touching truthful poems shot across beautiful photos of a traveler like each one of us. One page is enough to give you a stir of thought within you.Each one of us has seen them and felt them in our own different ways. Maybe when you read some of them, they might bring memories which you might feel worthwhile to remember.
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