'The intracranial neoplasm had eaten into his cerebellum.' An Interview with #WriterPrompt winner Sima Mittal.

An electrifying thrill radiated down my spine. Vengeance pirouetted in my heart. Two years of meticulous planning! This deception culminated to the intended climax. Nothing seemed more satisfying than musing over the numerous MRI, CT and CAT scans that decorated my office. The intracranial neoplasm had eaten into his cerebellum. Now the cancer cells were mutating at supersonic speed. Right through his medulla oblongata.

I double checked with the labs and radiology department. Secretly, I consulted with two distant colleagues. Finally I ensured the tiniest tinge of doubt. I discussed the tumor’s progress with the super-expert Dr. Ben Carson. I carefully concealed any relationship to the patient.

It was time to add some spark into our 15 year arranged, dead, dull marriage! His infidelity and impotency, coupled with alcoholism, had brought nothing but pain and dissatisfaction. No kids. No bonding. He had married for money and for the perks that attached to being the spouse of an attractive neurosurgeon. I hadn’t left him because my traditional self had coerced me into believing that divorce was a taboo.

Brain splitting news coming your way, hubby dear! Time to turn into the submissive wife, to disclose your illness!




Sima Mittal won SSDA's 9th #WriterPrompt event with her story 'Pirouetting Revenge'. She has participated in Writivism and been a reader for the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize slush pile. 

Doing the Right Thing Isn't Always Easy, your self-published children's picture book is available on Amazon. What led to children's literature?

SIMA: Reading to and with my children was what sparked my passion for children’s literature. I started early with them. I enjoy exploring the different children’s genres with my girls. For me Children’s literature is far more interesting than adult literature. I can cover up for all the missed childhood reading. With children’s literature one can become a child once again.

Also I am passionate about children in general and love to work with them. I joined the Lions Club so that I could work on various projects associated with children.

Reading to children is so different from reading with adults. Children do not have inhibitions.

You were part of Writivism 2015. Tell us about the experience.

SIMA: It has been the most wonderful part of my writing journey so far. The best thing was that it was absolutely free and I got to work with a splendid group of people. I had applied because one of the workshops for Writivism 2015 was held in Dar es Salaam and I would not have to travel anywhere for it. Being selected was fun but I found I was the lone candidate from Tanzania.

Initially I was nervous at the workshop but Zukiswa Wanner and Ayeta Wangusa made me comfortable. Zukiswa Wanner is still an inspiration.

Making it to the mentoring program was awesome and that is when the work and the tough part started. Satisfying my mentor Mr. Donald Molosi was not that easy and he was very honest with my work. Some of my initial work did not meet his standards.

But the first draft of ‘Dying Gracefully’ passed his judgement. He said I had not overstated it and he wanted me to use my own style. I worked very hard on this particular piece and finally it made my mentor weep. I had accomplished my first mission.

The second job was that the judges would connect with my story and it was a dream come true when I got long-listed.

But the gruelling part came when I had to edit the story for the Anthology. It was extremely challenging since it was a totally new concept and experience for me. My editors were very accommodating and we dissected every line. They helped me refine it as well as convey my story exactly how I had wanted to. Thanks especially to Sumayya Lee.

I hope the readers enjoy it.

It was hard work but rewarding as well. And again all this was free. All it required was dedication from my side. Thanks to all the people at Writivism and my mentors.

What have you gained from your participation in #WriterPrompt?

SIMA: It is a very short piece of writing and it helps me to try all kinds of writings. It is a fun way of experimenting. It is beneficial when you get first hand comments from other readers as well as writers. What a wonderful job SSDA is doing! Thanks and do keep it going.



Sima Mittal was born in India in 1974, but moved to Arusha, Tanzania in 1978. She holds a Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Science. Her love for writing began when she explored reading with her two little girls. She loves reading poetry and children's books. She feels a writer and an illustrator magically weave a children's picture book together. Through her writing, she hopes to connect with and mesmerize audiences of all ages. Her short story ‘Grieving for the Grave’ was published in the Daily News (Tanzania) and on Muwado.com. Her short story ‘Dying Gracefully’ is part of the Writivism Anthology 2015, ‘Roses for Betty and other stories’. Her first children’s book ‘Doing the Right Thing Isn’t Always Easy’ has been published in Tanzania by E & D Vision Publishing Ltd., now available on Amazon.


Participate in #WriterPrompt by following Short Story Day Africa on Facebook

Interview by Tiah Beautement a.k.a. @ms_tiahmarie