#IndyAuthorTalk – Q&A with Siddhi Palande

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A Lawyer by profession, Janhvi Desai has lived her life on the dictates of her family. Assuming that marriage will bring in freshness and freedom she gets married to a Mumbai based engineer, Ram. But once again faces wrath of the society. Every passing day as Janhvi Desai – Raghuvanshi, her self-esteem diminishes as her dreams get trampled upon. But while finding the meaning of her being her relationship with her estranged husband takes a beautiful turn. Between Ram and Janhvi rests a delicate secret and an irrevocable difference. But some relationships thrive despite the difference. Delve into the dysfunctional world of an Indian girl where patriarchy is villain, free will far removed, where two bruised souls meet and it is only to change the definition of soul mate.

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Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence you writing?

Namaste. I am from India. Yes, my writing is influenced by the environment I live in to a great extent. In fact, my debut novel is called “Beyond The Veil – The Journey Of An Indian Girl.”

Tell us your latest news!

My novel is released worldwide and I have been getting good reviews from fellow writers on social media. The quotes and excerpts are definitely attracting the readers towards book. They want to read more.

When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I always wanted to write a novel but writing a romantic novel isn’t my cup of tea, although I love reading romance genre. I wanted to write something closer to reality with a realistic touch. I started writing this novel few months after my father’s demise. I was in an emotional mess and I needed an outlet for my feelings. What started as a short story, a thorough rant which was edited later, turned into a novel. I went on building it chapter by chapter and halfway through I realized the story which I was writing unconsciously was in fact reality. The incident had happened with an acquaintance and the condition of the parents and the girl was pitiable. The age old customs and traditions had made this girl its prey. While the novel solely doesn’t focus on arrange marriages, what it tries to put forth is that arrange marriages worked in the past but this generation needs some time to court, which isn’t often allowed. This has led to disrupted life of many couples and divorce rates have increased.

What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

There are many authors who have influenced my writing and thought process. Of course, every writer has a unique style of writing but reading certainly influences once writing style. Virginia Woolf, Shashi Deshpande, Ismat Chugtai, Manto, Sophie Kinsella, Cecilia Ahern, Danielle Steel, Haruki Murakami are some writers I love to read.

Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?

That’s interesting. While all my characters have a symbolic significance, my lead characters gain immense focus. Both the characters, namely – Janhvi Desai and Ram Raghuvanshi – have a cultural reference. While Janhvi is another name of our auspicious river Ganga, Ram Raghuvanshi is a direct reference to Lord Ram. Both are distinct yet bruised by the society and their coming together marks their healing process.

Let me shed light on Ram Raghuvanshi. This character is quite confused. He has a certain hedonistic way of looking at life. Life for him is what society comprises of and his view of the society is solely clubbing and party. He has misunderstood nirvana. For him, a wife ought to maintain the status of the husband. A husband is the financial head of the house. He is the sole decision maker.

Janhvi on the other hand is much sorted girl. She knows what she wants from life. She is courageous. She is a go-getter. And most importantly, she draws strength from her enemies and never gives up despite all the strain from in-laws, parents, husband and colleagues.

I need to mention here that I have intentionally used a deity’s name for my second lead. The reason behind this is that in India we are told to revere our husband’s, they are next to God for us but we forget that he too is a human being and can be flawed.

What motivates you to write?

My motivation comes from my family. We are a flock of people where each one has achieved success in their respective fields. Looking at all of them grow from zero has taught me a lot. Schooling begins at home, you see? Amongst all I idolize my father, Ramesh Palande. He had this uncanny power to mesmerize the audience with his positivity. He was the storehouse of positive vibes. He has achieved great many things in his life. His biggest achievement is he taught humanity to one and all; and gave direction to the unruly youth. Turning a dacoit into a householder is magical, right?

What is the hardest part of writing?

Hardest part of writing is making sure you have the right words and you are precise with your details

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I have learnt plenty of things. Most importantly, I have evolved with this novella. It has helped me stay strong.

Where do you get your ideas?

There are ample of stories unheard, unsung around us, that’s where I get my ideas from.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family has always been supportive. If it weren’t for them, this novel wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

Don’t ever give up. Wait for the approval. Write till you get the approval and write even if you don’t get the approval. Write one-liners. Write quotes. Write a couplet. Just write.

What book are you reading now?

I am re-reading Eat Pray Love. I love the Eat and Pray part more.

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“I am referring to the first night of your marriage.”

I nodded again.

“Your husband will make you…I mean…you know….Your husband will ask you to shed

your clothes. I hope you understand what I am saying. Listen, I can’t get into details. It is

extremely personal and a delicate matter. What you will experience will be special.

Make sure you make it equally special for your husband. All you have to do

is…ahem..you will have to… See it is quite simple, just go with the flow. It is very simple.

It may hurt you initially, but it is how it is. Are you getting my point?”

I nodded. My eyes were welling up with tears. I knew what my Mom was talking about.

But I truly felt sorry that even in 21st century, she was unable to spell S.E.X! Such were

the restrictions imposed on us. Her inability to spell sex had nothing to do with being

introvert, for starters, she isn’t an introvert. The fault lies in our system. We have been

told that sex is a taboo. Pre-marital, extra-marital, post-marital, sex is a taboo. Period.

But how is it that a child born out of this process is celebrated? A couple cannot talk

about sex but they gaily announce that they are pregger! How!”

Beyond The Veil – The Journey Of An Indian Girl

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A media professional who left the corporate life to be a homemaker but couldn’t give up her love for writing. Post her stint with media, she turned to blogging and runs a blog namely, ofbookbabiesandmore.wordpress.com. From a PR executive to celebrities to a Movie Reviewer and Website Manager, she came a long way in her field. She has worked with celebrities like Kailash Kher, Hard Kaur, Hemant Pandey, and on many international projects like The Amazing Spider-Man, Men In Black 3, Total Recall, Resident Evil Retribution etc as a PR. She worked as a full time Movie Reviewer and Social Media Executive for Bookmyshow.com and yet another well known movie website. She has also worked with Zee Digital as content producer. Independently she has published her articles in international web magazines.

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