My grandmother was a supremely gifted storyteller. She came from a time where storytelling was magical, musical, rhythmical and had the most amusing plots; cats that went around the world in search of melt-in-the-mouth kebabs, argumentative birds that fought over a pot of ghee-laden khichdi, merchants and mermaids engaged in a battle of wits, and princesses who outsmarted their fathers to embark upon wild adventures.
Everyone in her stories seemed to have an ace up their sleeve, a witty comeback and a happy ending. Those stories transported me to lands more magical than the illustrations in any of the books I would ever read, and encouraged me to secretly start writing stories of my own.
And so I did – volumes upon volumes of the most in-your-face stories, full of incomprehensible characters, wrought with spelling errors and plagued with strange problems. They were, thankfully, kept hidden in cardboard boxes at the back of my closet.
But writing them made me feel alive and powerful – to conjure characters out of thin air, understand their lives, make them speak and decide their destinies. It was both a great hobby and the perfect stress buster … but would they actually get published one day?
I didn’t even consider that! I read a lot though. Not the acclaimed works of literature, honestly, but more off-beat stories by Indian authors – stories which were light and funny and settings to which I could relate. And the more I read, the more certain I got about how I wanted to write – with a dollop of laughter and wit.
I was reading books which made me smile, and those were the sort of books I wanted to write too.
So five years ago, when I decided to take a break from my job in marketing, I stopped hiding all my stories in my closet and in my head. I pulled them out and started writing – this time with the intention of being read.
There are books that make you think, those that make you debate, those that push you into the dark world of crime and mystery; and then there are those books that just make you laugh till your sides hurt. Mine fall into the last category.
In them, there are sunny settings, a bit of craziness, a dash of drama and lots of happiness. They are like a bowl of chocolate pudding – they’re indulgent and pleasurable and release a whole lot of dopamine!
When my last book, Koi Good News, was published in 2018, I was flooded with messages from readers about how much the book had made them laugh. It encouraged me to tell more stories in this genre of romantic comedy.
My Best Friend’s Son’s Wedding, my latest book, is set around two weddings – that of a son, and also his mother. It is told from the point of view of the mother’s best friend. It has characters that you can laugh at and laugh with, situations that are both bizarre and real, moments that will warm your heart and others that will make you laugh out loud.
It’s a feel-good book – much needed in our current reality. And I’ve had just so much fun writing it.