Sena Desai Gopal


We all have a story to tell by virtue of the lives we live: the experiences we have, the lessons we learn and the people we become as a result. That is what inspired me to write my current novel, The Temple.

My family are landowners in southern India and my life was reasonably sheltered until, in my early twenties, I moved to England and then the United States to attend university. It was only then that I began truly appreciating how easy my life in India had been.

There are poor people everywhere, but for the first time I understood how wretched and heartless poverty in India is. It wasnít that I was unaware of how the poor of the world lived - I had worked for a development news channel in India writing about issues of poor and marginalized communities and also been involved in various human rights activities. But neither in England nor the United States did I encounter a person who didnít own a pair of shoes or a father willing to sell his teenage daughter for less than $20 so he could feed his entire family for a month. Nor were there many people in either of the two countries who employed a dozen servants simply because they could.

The idea for a book was borne from this sudden insight - that extreme poverty and wealth coexisted in India in apparent harmony, and neither was questioned. I had inhabited one world and witnessed the other and a story, I thought, about the meeting of the two would be fascinating. About a year ago, I sat down to write my book and here are the first few pages. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

More of my work is available on this website. I am a science and medical journalist and have written about everything that falls broadly in that category Ė medicine, physics, sociology, and psychology. I also write about food and travel since my two greatest passions are cooking and traveling. My work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Nature Network Boston, Heritage India magazine, childrenís magazines, and newsletters of various universities including Harvard and Yale.

In my spare time I write a blog about being an Indian-American mom.

Writing is my passion and I feel privileged that I could make a career out of it. It is magical to be able to capture, with words, life's events, its ups and downs, and turn them into something that touches people.

Comments are welcome at sena_desai@​

Selected Works

Food is an important part of celebration and festival foods have an interesting history and significance.
Read about latest research from the origin of chili peppers to the effect of stress on children's brains.
The secrets in New England's stone walls.