Q. Is ‘Life is what you make it’ your story? I found many resemblances between your life and the protagonists. I am convinced that Ankita is you. It felt so real.
A. Thank you and I am glad you found it very real. That book was written after two years of extensive research. I was based in the UK at that time and got a chance to meet many people with bipolar disorder. I also discovered a bipolar artists association. When I travelled to India, I spoke to psychiatrists, visited the ward of a mental hospital for the first time in my life (one of the most depressing and overwhelming experiences I have ever had), made a whole lot of notes, spoke to people who are care-givers and met many more people. When I went back to UK and began writing the book, I used the places where I have lived, and wove them into the story that I wanted to narrate, on the basis of the extensive notes I had made. I used the first person narrative which I felt gave it a powerful feel.
34 Bubblegums and Candies are all incidents from my life, but ‘Life is what you make it’ is a work of fiction. You can go to the video section of this website, and listen to an interview I gave to Radio Indigo, where I talk about the book.
Q. How do you manage to do so many things? How are you good at so many things?
A. I work very hard! I don’t speak on the phone unless it is absolutely essential. I also do not watch television at all. As regards how I am good at many things—I am deeply interested in them and enjoy them immensely. So it doesn’t feel like ‘work’. I have the same 24 hours that everyone else has and I try and pack in as much stuff as I can, that gives me joy. People tell me ‘Oh—you are so talented. You are lucky.’ I honestly believe it is hard work.
However there are so many days where I do absolutely nothing at all. I dislike routine and am bored easily. But, once I begin writing a book, I am relentlessly at it, till I complete it. I am disciplined that way. If you want something badly, it won’t come just like that. You have to stop wishing and start doing. That is a philosophy that has stood me in good stead.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. I do not believe there is any such thing as ‘inspiration’. Something moves me deeply, and I just have to write about it or express it through art. If you insist on me telling you my source of ‘inspiration’, I would say that my biggest strength is my father and all that he has imparted to me.
Q. I have written a short piece. Will you please read and offer your opinion?
A. I have a very long reading list. Many readers like you send me pieces to read.
So apologies, I will not be able to. I have far too many requests that I can handle. Also, my opinion will not really matter if your aim is to get published. You should be approaching commissioning editors. If you want a detailed explanation as to why I cannot read the stuff you send me, I would point you to this article I wrote in my blog.
Q. I have an amazing story. Will you write my story?
A. Sorry, I will not be able to write your story. I have far too many plots and ideas running through my head already!
Q. How do I get published in India? Do I need an agent? Where do I start?
A. I have again written a piece ‘How to get published’ which answers all the questions that you may have, if you plan to write a book. Please click here.
Q. I have read all your books and I totally love your writing. I am visiting your town and would really like to meet you. Will you meet me?
A. Thank you and I am honoured that you want to meet me! However, I will not be able to meet you, individually. You are most welcome to interact with me at any of my events, which would be announced on all my social media pages. If you are on Facebook, do stay connected for all updates.
Q. We would like to invite you to speak at our college? How do we proceed?
A. Please fill the form in the tab under ‘ Speaker Request’ on this website and I shall get back to you. I do not accept invitations unless travel, accommodation and speaker’s fees are taken care of. I tailor my talks to suit the audience. You can check out two of my Ted X talks in the video section of this website. Apart from these, I have spoken at IITs , IIMs, some premiere educational institutions and corporate organizations like Infosys and Accenture.