Sharanya holds an Indian passport, but has lived here for much of her life, studying at secondary school and college. Her partner is Malaysian.
She became one of the most prominent performance poets on the literary scene. Her work's been published. When British Council was looking for a local writer to grace an official conference dinner, she's the one they chose.
(Correction added later - she contacted me to say that she thinks of herself first and foremost as an Indian writer ... I guess that because we have taken her to our hearts that we see her under the umbrella of Malaysian writer.)
But such are the ways of immigration. You can't simply want to be part of a country. Bureaucracy has to sanction it. And it doesn't matter if you have something important to offer the country or not.
(I sympathise with this as I have had my own problems with immigration over the years. My application for PR presumably sits at the bottom of a dusty pile, and I want it actually for no more than the symbolic acknowledgment that I have, through marriage and over twenty years of teaching and training teachers here, become part of things.)
I know Sharanya has been deeply worried about her immigration status since her course has ended, and that she sees her forced departure as a relief in some ways, since she says that
... the strain, stress, pain and inertia were playing havoc on my peace of mind and relationship ...She hopes that by the middle of next year she will have settled somewhere else, probably Singapore.
I wish there was some way we could appeal, some rope we could pull, but I fear there isn't.
(Photo taken during the KL Litfest by Shahril Nizam.)