How can one miss up on an event that introduces you to not one, but three debut authors? GurgaonMoms’ ‘LiTrio’ meet-up at Café Red Garden Kitchen on the 13th of September, 2016 was a vibrant affair with three debut authors: the resplendent Kanchana Banerjee, the effervescent Radhika Maria Tabrez and the very dapper Sriram Subramanian. As with all GurgaonMoms book club events that I have attended, this one too was well organized, which is creditable in a large part to Upasana Maithani Luthra (Director Public Relations GurgaonMoms & Director, GurgaonMoms Book club.) I must at this point also share another observation on why I find these events successful, interactive and engaging here again the credit goes to Upasana, she makes the writers so comfortable that they are quickly at ease with the ever receptive audience of GurgaonMoms Book Club, a discerning group of women who are not only exposed to the best that the literary world has to offer, but many are also aspiring as well as published writers themselves. Now let me not dilly-dally anymore and take you to the event without further ado.
The first part of the LiTrio’ began with a conversation between Kanchana and Upasana. The feeling of camaraderie between old friends was palpable from the start and within moments one felt a part of that circle of friendship. As Kanchana spoke about her debut novel one could sense the passion that she has for writing, her commitment and discipline were two other aspects that stood out predominantly. The book “A Forgotten Affair” (Published by Harper Collins) is the story of Sagarika Mehta, who loses her memory and can sense that all is not alright in her world, yet, cannot find in the labyrinth that is her mind the answers she seeks. Some smells bother Sagarika making her question and probe her present reality. “Smells and aromas play a big part in my life,” says Kanchana, “I had to use that in my book.” A very poignant moment came out when Dr Vandana, a member of the audience shared that she had gone through a similar traumatic moment in her life similar to Kanchan’s protagonist which left most of us teary eyed. Though Kanchana herself gave away a lot of the plot, I shall not as I too now look forward to reading this book which she also calls a tribute to all her girlfriends.
The next part of the morning’s event was the interaction between the two authors Radhika and Sriram. Here again a real mutual respect between the two writers made the audience respond to them with warmth. They both spoke how their experiences with parenting and its various challenges made its way into their respective books. Sriram, a ‘Corporate Trainer by day’ endeared himself to the ladies by sharing his familiarities with child rearing and all agreed that he was entitled to the label of an ‘honorary mom.’ His debut novel “Rain” (Published by Readomania) he says, “is an ambitious literary novel with language that is of a standard that sings.” A story whose blurb begins with the line ‘Only losers blame their luck’ sure does resonate with me; I shall enjoy reading it with a cuppa and hopefully some rain before we wave goodbye to the clouds this year.
Radhika calls her debut novel “In The Light of Darkness” (Published by Readomania) the ‘purest journey of all’ which started off as a short story and then turned into this novel. Having read the book beforehand I am in a better position to talk about this one in particular. As I read through Radhika’s dedication and acknowledgement, I had an inkling that the story about to unfold was one I would like. And I not only liked it, I loved it! We all see and feel the ugliness in the world yet are hopeful of the innate goodness out there; this is the book that reiterates your faith. It is a celebration of human relationships.
You will find within its pages characters to fall in love with. The motif of motherhood will be found in Susan. The angry son Matthew’s anguish will make him Matt to you. Meera’s story will fill you with an anger that will simmer yet you will believe that a good person cannot be abandoned. You will find your ‘who-can-see-no-wrong-in-you’ Aunt who will cement her place into your heart via your stomach. You will find the formidable Uncle who will look at you till you squirm with discomfort and spill out your deepest secrets. He will then be your champion but then again he will not mince words when he must. You will find friends like Maanav, Vidu, Suhana who will prop you up when needed and wallop your behind when required. In Radhika’s own words you will find “A Family of Friends.”
This is also a book all about emotions. Radhika’s writing will pull at your heartstrings stretching them out to the point where you think that you will snap and as the tears begin to course down your cheeks she will ease the pace ever so slowly letting the warmth flood your heart. When you finally reach the end having gone through myriad emotions, believe me, you will put down the book with a very self-satisfied ‘aaaaaaah!’ This book “In The Light of Darkness” the debut novel of Radhika Maria Tabrez, published by Readomania is a must read.
The last leg of the morning was an interactive session with the audience wherein the authors gave some relevant tips to the aspiring writers in the audience. A rundown of some:
- Be sure of why you want to write. The process is painful and you should not want to give up midway.
- Understanding the technical process of writing is key.
- Read a lot.
- Do not discount the power of observation and imagination.
- Discipline is very important. You must write every day, schedule a time and just do it.
- Be prepared to go into your own dark places.
- All the original stories have been told. Tell the same story in a more interesting way.
- Appearances are deceptive, you will find stories and characters all around you never know how your characters can be influenced by them.
- Put your heart and soul into the book, but don’t make the journey about yourself.
- Give your character deep flaws which you cannot stand having in yourself and do not justify them four chapters later.
- Believe in your characters yourself and they will become real.