It is difficult to believe she began writing late. No, you shake your head as Nia Zera Ignatius sits with her mushroom soup and tells you it’s true. She started writing only because she had to when she chose to do her degree in Literature. But then she’s always liked to read. She doesn’t have a favourite author, ‘anything that comes into her hand,’ she says. But these books have inspired her to write lines like these:
I am sitting here on a rainy June night; things are finally starting to calm down. My mood is already beginning to perk up. The madness of the holidays is getting over, umbrellas and candles are ordered, endless craft-works are filed. Nia is waiting for Bee’s arrival.
That’s from her page — niazerin.com. There you find Nia’s other passions too: photography, illustration and fashion designing. She laughs, there is a bit of everything. “If I have to, screenwriting is perhaps the one area I will choose. That’s what my work with Doordarshan. But my passion would be art and photography,” she says.
It’s only been a year now in Thiruvananthapuram, but she’s already picked the city as a favourite — the calm roads soothe her. On the other hand, she feels Kochi is too crowded and too busy. She’s originally from Kottayam, but kept moving around — to Idukki for a few years, Aluva later, back to Idukki — because of her dad’s PWD job. “Degree was at Trichy and PhD at SRM, Chennai. So I know Tamil and worked one year as an RJ in Tamil Nadu,” Nia says.
All through that, she has been drawing. She likes to draw portraits. There are adorable caricatures of Ustad Zakir Hussain, Asha Bhosle and Ernest Hemingway all in textured biscuit colour backgrounds with a line at the bottom.
“My dad used to draw and I drew too since I was very young. Photography is however more recent. I happened to get some money and when I looked around, everyone had a DSLR. So I got one too. And when Getty Images started to accept some of the photos I sent, I thought this is good,” she says simply.
Fashion designing came with the clothes she designed for herself. Her illustrations got chosen by the Magazine Elle (USA). “They accept 62 illustrations from across the world and five of mine got selected. A few stickers I designed got chosen by Hike and Line messengers,” she says casually like these are places everyone lands at.
She laughs when we say that. But finding a job had not been easy because of her varied interests, with no one being sure about the capacity in which to hire her until finally, Doordarshan said yes. There she met a filmmaker for whom she is writing a script now — an English one and the subject is horror. But more, she can’t say now.
She’s also been a screenwriter for documentaries like Pombilai Orumai by Lekshmi Arun.