Delhi rises each time, like a phoenix from the ashes, says author Swati Kaushal
Author Swati Kaushal speaks about her latest novel — A Few Good Friends, her fond memories of Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) and her love for the Capital citybooks Updated: Dec 25, 2017 15:59 IST
For college days are the best days of our lives and rightly so as author Swati Kaushal’s takes us on a refreshing ride of friendship, love and life in her latest — A Few Good Friends. The narrative follows Aadi, Srini, Ambi, TD, Miru and Kajo, in the twentieth anniversary reunion of their batch from IIM Calcutta, which provides the perfect opportunity to set aside their everyday anxieties and relive the heady days of their youth. Things begin to go awry when ex-lovers reunite, old grudges resurface and long-held secrets come tumbling out.
“My friendships are what inspired me to write ‘A Few Good Friends’. And I definitely think my friends have helped me grow as a writer. Also, while the characters in the story are all fictitious, the situations and problems they face are very real, and in a way, universal.The women are in a way all me; or various parts of who I am and who I wish I could have been.The one thing you realize as you grow older, is that the graph of life is not linear. There are big setback and there are small glories; there are giant leaps forward and there are crushing losses. Somehow, we all have to find a way to keep moving on,” says the author with acclaimed novels, Piece of Cake, A Girl Like Me, Drop Dead, and Lethal Spice to her credit.
What was supposed to be part time gig turned into life long passion for Kaushal, who switched from her corporate career to be a writer. She recalls, “I started writing my first novel shortly after moving to the US when I was a young mother and between jobs. It was supposed to be a part time gig, while I looked for a job, but I fell in love with both the process and the product, and decided to pursue it full time.”
An alumnus of IIM Calcutta and Lady Shri Ram College for Women(LSR), she reminisces her college days to be a steady mix of academics and fun. “LSR was amazing. It had a unique vibe, and an excellent balance between academics an fun. We had two sections of Eco Hons and we were all very close. I remember long philosophical sessions in the canteen over samosas and chai, and countless winter afternoons sitting on the lawns, eating oranges while cramming for exams. I remember all those breathless preparations for Tarang, our college festival, and all the fantastic speakers who used to come to college. IIM Calcutta was a seminal phase of my life. For the first time, like my character Aadi in A Few Good Friends, I felt like I was an adult, totally free to make my own choices and 100% responsible for them.”
Friends are our therapists, mirrors, cheerleaders, and our partners in crime. They make life bearable when times are tough and they make life sublime when things are good.
Kaushal lives in Connecticut with husband and kids. Ask her how important are friends in today’s lifestyle where families are nuclear and relatives don’t stay close by? “Friends are our therapists, mirrors, cheerleaders, and our partners in crime. They make life bearable when times are tough and they make life sublime when things are good.We need our friends when we have a bad day at school, when we fall in love and need to tell someone about it, when we get dumped and need someone to cry with, when we have a horrid day at work, and when we are struggling as partners or parents to make things work. They are the ones who speak truth to reality, who tell us when we are being idiots, and when we need to buck up and get going.”
Born and brought up in Delhi, Kaushal is all praises for the Capital that is always “buzzing with activity”. “Delhi is tough, strong, diverse and alive. As the capital city, and a growing, thriving one, Delhi is where the action is. It is an ancient city, destroyed and rebuilt seven times, rising each time, like a phoenix, from the ashes.You have the best schools and colleges and institutes of higher learning in every field of study. It is a place where both the past and the future coexist, where you see people picnicking with their iPads at the Qutab Minar, and chatting on their iPhones at the Red Fort,” she says.
And as for her characters, she confesses that she too eavesdrops on people. “I think all writers eavesdrop a little! I think my core characters usually come from a space within me. They are usually women, strong, proud women in real life situations that I help them navigate sometimes with humor, sometimes with grit. They have insecurities, they make mistakes, they grow. My secondary characters can come from anywhere.”
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First Published: Dec 25, 2017 13:03 IST