Q: You have had poetry published in the US. How difficult or different was it to write in prose?
My first interest in writing developed with poetry, which is a lot to do with an idea that inspires you. Moving from poetry to prose was simply about an inspiring thought on a larger scale. It wasn’t difficult at all since writing is something that flows once you get an idea – the only difference is that a book takes longer to write so the thought process has to be ongoing.
Q: Do you relate to any of the characters in your book? Has this book been inspired by any real life characters in your life?
I would say I share a personality trait with the main protagonist, Diya in the way her thought process moves from a conformist in the initial years to someone who later develops her own mind only after experiencing life. The independent streak that Rukmini portrayed was a bit like my maternal grandmother’s.
Q: Tell us a little about your growing years and life so far.
I’m an army child. My sister and I had a happy childhood. We loved the army life with its peaceful cantonments and protected environments. We did have to move around a lot though and life has remained constantly ever-changing – I am truly living the maxim “change is the only constant”. I did my graduation in Delhi, my MBA from California and now live in Shanghai with my husband and 16 year old son – who is my absolute joy; I am a mind-therapist, past life therapist and a Reiki healer.
Q: You have set your book in the 1980’s. Is there any particular reason for doing so?
I wanted the contrast to bring into young minds a thankfulness that they are born into today’s era. The new generation has so many choices, which were not available to a young girl in the 1980s. Any young girl reading this book now would appreciate the fact that she is able to create her own path that she does not have to go through years of the soul searching that Diya, the main character had to, in order to come into her own.
Q: How have you managed to strike a balance between writing, working and making time for your family?
Quite simply, by being organised. My husband travels a lot which means that I am most of the time, a single parent. So I have learnt to plan my day meticulously and when I started writing this book I allocated a certain number of hours to writing. Of course sometimes inspiration strikes while you are in the kitchen! So I keep my laptop open to my current work at all times.
Q: What is the one life experience that has defined you as a person?
The constant changes in my environment gave me an opportunity to understand that no matter where one goes, human nature remains unchanged. Whether it is the extreme West – the United States or the Far East – China, people are all the same. This belief was brought into clarity and greater understanding of life when I was led to my spiritual guru in Delhi. That was actually the turning point of my life and many questions were answered.
Q: Being born in India, how difficult was it to adjust to living in America and China?
When I moved to the US there was a vast contrast between India and America. So it was a bit of a culture shock, which I have described in this book through the main character’s mind. Adjusting in Shanghai has been easier mainly because the world has become so accessible through modern means of communication. The only difference is the language, I have had to learn Mandarin which is not an easy language but the people are helpful and the city is beautiful.
Q. Many novels have been transferred to the big screen. Do you think this book has the potential to make a good movie script?
I think it has excellent potential; it’s got drama, romance, subtle humour and a strong female character as the main protagonist – the ingredients are there, I just need a chef to put it all together!
Q: What are you planning to write next? Is it very different from this book?
I have started another novel and yes, it’s totally different from this book, it completely reflects the woman of today as well as gives the reader an insight into how a man thinks!
Set against the backdrop of a high-society family in the late nineteen eighties, Tea in a Porcelain Cup moves between India and the United States in a, now bygone, era when parental obedience was a foregone conclusion, owning a Maruti 800 was a status symbol, divorce was a four letter word and marriage the sole ambition of a girlâs existence, when traditions were meticulously cultivated; to the detriment of the protagonist, Diya. Will she draw strength from her strong lineage Rukmini her unconventional grandmother and Nandini her quietly stoic mother, and the enigmatic doctor Suryaveer, or does she accept the soul-suppressing rituals artfully disguised under the garb of tradition?