Her book is barely a week old, but London-based Lucknow girl Ruchita Mishra has already caught Bollywood’s fancy. Her debut novel, The (In)eligible Bachelors, a riotous adventure of adrenaline, laughter and guffaws published by Rupa & Co, is making A-grade directors wonder if there’s a film in it.
Shirish Kunder, Raj Kaushal and Pravin Dabas are among those who posted their comments after the first chapter of the book was released online, and there are other big names on the block, too. The book figures in the bestselling list of Flipkart, and its Facebook page is flooded with congratulatory messages.
“When I came to London after marriage, I had some time on my hands. So as I job hunted, I also started penning down the story of Kasturi Shukla. I found a job soon enough, but I continued to write even after that and slowly but surely, I had completed the 270-page manuscript in my hand and the story of Kasturi Shukla was ready to be told to the world,” she says.
The book is the daily diary of Shukla, the fumbling, goofy protagonist of the story. The geeky MBA graduate is 24 years old, with no boyfriend in tow. Enter Mum, hell bent on marrying off her daughter at the earliest. And with that Kasturi is hurled head first into meeting a new boy each weekend, leading to hilarious outcomes. The story is a fun take on arranged marriages, the roles parents often play in the whole process and the importance of love, family and friendship, she says, and that explains the filmmakers’ interest.
And as you wonder if the book is some kind of an autobiography, she quells all such doubts. “I won’t call it that. But yes, some incidents are taken from real life.” Ask her about Lucknow and she becomes emotional. “Lucknow is, and always will be home. It is the place where my mum and dad live, where I met my best friends, where I grew up, got married.It is the place where my heart always will be.” What does she miss most about her hometown? “My fondest memories are of my home in Lucknow, of my grandparents’ sprawling house near Hazratganj with the mysterious servants quarters, of the road leading up to my school La Martiniere Girls college, of my Dad driving me to school and then to engineering college (she finished engineering from IET, where she was the batch topper) ... the memories are unending.”