Dr. Rashmee Sharma knows better than most that life comes filled with the unexpected. In 1986 her future seemed already to be laid out in a straight, neat, comfortable line. She was already widely known throughout her native country of India as an award-winning poet, journalist, editor, and television personality, and her picture-perfect private life revolved around her husband, an officer in the Indian Army, and their two young children. Tragically on Aug. 25 of the same year that all changed with her husband’s death from a sudden heart attack.
“It was a very sad time for me and my children,” Sharma told me in a recent interview. “I had already achieved recognition and fame, but I had lost the man I loved, and my children were now living without a father.”
Wanting to provide her children with a new environment and a new start in their young lives, Sharma in 1989 moved with them to Seattle. There she taught American literature at Washington State University while simultaneously pursuing a doctoral degree in that same subject. She also began to resume her career in journalism, serving as the northwestern American correspondent for several prestigious American and international news organizations.
“For the first time since I lost my husband,” Sharma recalled, “I possessed a sense of comfort and tranquility. My children had adjusted wonderfully to life in America. I loved teaching, enjoyed my doctoral studies and was thrilled to restart my career as a journalist. I possessed the feeling that my life was back on a steady, uncomplicated, and predictable course.”