What do most of us do when we fall seriously ill? Stay in bed and hope to be pampered, right? But when author Rachna Singh was diagnosed with breast cancer, she penned her latest book Band, Baaja, Boys. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer just after the first chapter. It was writing this book that kept me afloat and positive,” she says.
“Writing is an escape mechanism for me, where humour conceals all the struggles of my life. It’s like reading an Enid Blyton book and getting transported to another world,” says Singh.
“I was an Enlgish medium school student so it was easy for me to draw inspiration from the girls I saw around me.”
The book, a work of humour, revolves around the Binny Bajpai, a twenty-year-old Allahabad resident who has a queue of suitors lined up for her. “Binny, a Hindi medium student, feels inferior as her English isn’t as good as that of girls of English medium schools,” says Singh, adding, “I was in an English medium school. So it was easy for me to draw inspiration from the girls I saw around. That’s why I used Hinglish in the book, as it’s more relatable.”
Some of the relationship inspiration for the book came from author’s professional experience. “As a psychologist and a Human Resource person, I have worked with a lot of people who have had troubled relationships. This is why relationships find an important place in my writings. It is an area of interest,” she says.
One factor that runs common between most characters is that of rejection. “There are corridors of dark humour as well in the book, and the theme of rejection runs through them. Binny feels it, her mother Kumud feels it when she can’t have a son. Raja Singh, a village boy feels it when he is rejected by the city education system, and the suitors feel it when Binny rejects them,” explains the author.
Singh, who has authored four other works, is also a stand-up comic and mimicry artist. “I inherit humour from my father. He would mimic people a lot, and with age I realised that I’d become like him. Now I see that in my son too,” Singh says. “If we can laugh and make other people laugh, there is nothing better than that. Cancer has made me thankful for these little joys of life.”