While the situation of women in our country is deteriorating or stagnating at best, author Suchita Malik believes it is their strength we need to highlight and not their weakness. "I am highlighting the positive lot of women and their tenacity; we are a lot more stronger than given credit for," says she, on her recently released novel, Women Extraordinaire.
About the saga that spans three generations, Suchita, the author, tells us that the characters and situations are ordinary, but it is their choices that make them extraordinary, as she says, "Sagas don't always have to have a prince or princess."
It is the story of Kaushalya, a woman far ahead of her times, whose true passion is education. It is the best and worst of times, as she tries to overcome the prejudices of a male-dominated society.
Suchita tells us that a lot of research went into this novel that involved talking to people who lived through that era, besides talking to their children. About the reason for this book, she says, "As a woman I wanted to shed light on the various facets of women, such as their courage, determination, bravery and perseverance."
Suchita's first two novels -- Indian Memsahib: The Untold Story of a Bureaucrat's Wife (January 2009) and its sequel, The Memsahib Chronicles (February 2011) -- highlight the oft ignored aspect of Indian bureaucracy, that of the wife keeping pace with her husband's job.
The wife of a bureaucrat herself, she tells us that her husband's initial reaction was hostile, till she assured him of the positive nature of the book. The inspiration came from none other than Khushwant Singh, whom she had interviewed once. "I asked him for advice and this is what he said, 'Travelogues, articles bade likh laye, novel kyun nahi?' ('You have written enough travelogues and articles, why not a novel?'). He said that an author's first book should always be autobiographical in nature."
At present, Suchita teaches English and literature at the Government College for Men, Chandigarh, and is a graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi