The thought of a book launch might sound to most of you as a room full of intellectual people, holding publisher’s catalog in hand, discussing the good things about a just-released book and waiting to get it signed by the author- who would be sitting on a pedestal with a tone of seriousness around. Well, what I recently got to experience was a whole different concept of a book launch. This was an event by Harper Collins India in association with Gurgaon Literature & Art Club (GLiterARTi) and GurgaonMoms for the launch of the book “How I became a Farmer’s Wife”, written by Yashodhara Lal.

With a tall, confident and charming demeanor, author Yashodhara Lal was in the city on April 21st, 2018, at DLF Club 5, to launch her sixth novel “How I became a Farmer’s Wife”.

As I walked in apprehensively to the venue wondering what was in store at this book launch event, I was greeted by fellow GurgaonMoms members and  Upasana Luthra, Admin GurgaonMoms Book Club. She was kind enough to introduce me to Yashodhara Lal- author, corporate professional, fitness trainer and a Gurgaon Mom of three (who have been interestingly named Peanut, Papad & Pickle).

The well-lit lobby was bustling with avid readers, budding authors, event hosts and the author’s close friends & family.

While a few couldn’t miss the steaming hot tea-pakodas arranged for high tea, the others were busy posing with the author for some candid shots (and boomerangs!!). Post a few minutes of casual conversations and photo sessions, we all walked into the main hall for the event.

It was a perfect setting for a book launch event, with comfortable couches, warm lighting and a shelf in the corner lined up with books that comprised the author’s previous works.

An author extremely popular amongst youth, Yashodhara Lal’s presence was not only able to pull a huge number of young fans but many senior readers too. The generous fans had read all her works and knew their plots by heart. She was gracious and witty throughout the event and talked about the book while answering questions about her life in general.

“How I became a Farmer’s Wife” is her sixth novel, and all of her previous novels have been a runaway success. Crossing the lines between memoir & fiction, this particular book talks about one of the major turning points of her life when her husband decided to follow his desire of turning farmer & explores what happens when the family supports their loved one’s decision. The various highs & lows they went through, the experiences family gained, the challenges they encountered while moving from urban hustle-bustle to a more calm & slow life of farms- this book, in the true sense, brings in forth one of the chapters of the author’s real life.

During the event, Ms. Yashodhara talked at length about the importance of ‘slowing down’. Her stint at the farm along with her interest in yoga helped her understand how to take things slow and gave her time to introspect.

The talk turned really absorbing when she exclaimed upon the vast difference she could see between the earthy unpretentious people at the farm and the fierce goal-driven people of a metro. She also expressed her concern about the overly digitized times that exist today and how important it is to maintain the right balance when it comes to use of technology. It is undoubtedly an overly intrinsic part of our lives.

It was interesting to know that another significant life lesson one could pick from this book is the importance of supporting your loved one’s decisions. Indeed negating an opinion or wish could be the easiest thing one can do, but what really determines the depth of a relationship & true love is the support one extends in helping one’s family member achieve those dreams. Thought provoking, isn’t it?

But this book is not an answer to such relationship-based subjects nor will it direct us to what’s right or wrong for us to choose. It is in fact journey of a family with flavors of humor, fun, innocence, and adventures.

With a striking example of her literary journey, she said: “I really do get the best of my material from real life. The silly and at times weird acts of my family give me the real content for writing. While in real life I was never a very humorous person, but when it comes to writing, my stories- weaved out of real-life situations- have always brought forward a humorous & witty side of me.”

The audience engaged her in a conversation during which Ms. Yashodhara shared many interesting anecdotes and also her views on various aspects of a mother’s life, especially the hurdles that come in the way of balancing work & family. With 3 kids, a professional job, personal commitments and love for writing, it ain’t no easy task to balance everything and still gets time to pursue your dreams of being a writer. To this, she shared how her passions have always been the driving force in her life. She has pushed her limits, readjusted her priorities at times, slogged herself day & night but has always been kind to herself. And this was one piece of noteworthy advice she left the audience with. I think this is going to stay etched in my mind forever- take care of yourself first, Mommy!

In all senses, the book launch event for “How I became a Farmer’s Wife” was full of life, everybody was smiling, laughing, engaging and excitedly looking forward to reading the book.

Finally, through this piece, we wish Ms. Yashodhara Lal huge thumbs up for her future endeavors and hoping that this book gains greater success than her previous ones.

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