Richa Mukherjee’s life has always been marked by abundance. In her own words – she was gifted three elder sisters, she has lived in 8 cities across India and her career spans from being a B.Com graduate who wanted to pursue dance (and eradicate poverty), to a journalist, to an MBA that accidentally landed her in an advertising agency for about a decade. The only constant was that she had a blast through all of it. She wrote this book in a fragile mental state while on her maternity break.
Richa – the person, the author
I can best describe myself as an enthusiastic billygoat, always ready to chew on some new experience, meeting new people, or well, putting a twist on all things mundane. That’s how I survive, by following the parallel track in my head, by training my peculiar lens on the world around me! My earliest memories of writing were as a child. I used to scribble poems when my dad was traveling. In hindsight I think all of them were complaints about how I was being tortured by my three elder sisters (I will meet my maker after they read this article) and that mom was too busy so he should come back and save me. I always had a penchant for poetry and still return to it very often but ever since my maternity break (which is when I penned many short stories and my first novel) I can’t seem to stop writing. My husband has recently suggested I marry my laptop.
About the book – I Didn’t Expect I Was Expecting!
I wish I had a profound, life altering moment to share about what inspired me to write this book. Well, it was life altering but in a slightly different way. I was mentally altered by the mountain of nappies and gondh ka laddoos (so I could be milked better) , incessant howling, all kinds of massage oils, and a steady supply of advice about what I should or should not be doing. To keep my sanity, I had no option but to put pen to paper. One day I sat down, thought of the circus around me, made up some funny characters and started writing. Coincidentally, another 9 months later, another baby sat in-front of me. My very first book!
Then I got busier with my baby and work and the book got buried somewhere. Till the day I happened to meet the very popular romance author Ravinder Singh (having been chosen in the top 10 for one of his writing prompts with TOI Write India) and told him about my book. I sent him the manuscript (after quaking in my boots for many days!) he liked it, Harper Collins came on board and called me after 2 months to make me the happiest to-be-published person on the planet.
Theme and characters in a nutshell
A self assured and confident protagonist, a doting companion, a neighbour that talks to ghosts, two best friends who cannot stand each other, an intercultural marriage, warring in-laws, an irritating boss with a toupee and a runaway bride. Throw an unexpected pregnancy into the fray and you have a funny and chaotic circus like experience unfolding in-front of you.
I deliberately wanted to write about pregnancy with a sense of humour. My pregnancy didn’t turn out to be as dramatic and painful as it is always made out to be and that’s what I wanted to convey through the book as well.
Poetry: My salve
Poetry is something I come back to very often. I have a blog which features a lot of my poetry. People say poetry doesn’t sell, it is not lucrative to be a poet (I completely agree. Having published a book of my poem, A Penchant for Prose, a year ago that I had to even coerce my friends and family into buying!) But there is something so bare, so real and relatable about this format of expression that it connects with readers in a very impactful way. How else can you explain reducing someone to tears after reading 5 heartfelt lines penned by a stranger. This form of writing liberates me, sets my words free. I always have scraps of paper stuffed in one pocket of my bag because even when in transit, I feel my subject finds me. In the mundane, to the special, from cab rides to eating out, in a strange caper to something heartwarming.
Some pearls of wisdom for aspiring writers
I’ve often heard about people trying to make the right mood and time for writing. Let’s be clear, with all the human and work obstacles in most of our lives, there will NEVER be a ‘right’ time or place. (Except if you’re very rich and have a beautiful bungalow tucked away in Lonavala).
Write whenever you can. On the pot, in between work breaks, after the family is asleep, early in the morning, while your maid is whining away and you’ve tuned her out, whenever you get the time.
Just write. Oh, and please don’t be overtly critical of your work and read – a lot.
Author(s): Richa S Mukherjee
Publisher: Black Ink
Release: July 2018
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