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I don’t write to a pattern: Author Shobha Nihalani

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Author Shobha Nihalani says she does not write to a pattern but that has not come in the way of her churning five hugely successful novels. Her novels have mystery and conspiracy as the common theme. She is quite a citizen of the world, having lived in places as diverse as Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong.

“There’s no particular pattern, but I am either thinking about the story or writing it down whenever I have time. It could be a chapter or a page or a character development,” Nihalani told the agency in an email interview from Hong Kong, where she is now settled.

“I don’t have a 9-to-5 job, but I do work part-time in our family-owned company as a boy-keeper. I am also a housewife which involves family and social responsibilities”, she said.

It is perhaps this diversity of existence that has led Nihalani to deliver to the literary world works like “Karmic Blues” (her debut novel that was first published in Danish), “The Silent Monument” (also translated into Danish), two of the “NINE” trilogy and now “Unresolved” (Hachette, pp 286, price Rs.350).

“The common thread in all these stories is that they are based on mysteries or conspiracies. ‘Karmic Blues’ carries references to past life regression, ‘The Silent Monument’ mentions conspiracies surrounding the historical facts of the Taj Mahal. The conspiracy of ‘NINE’ refers to the oldest secret society, the protectors of powerful knowledge. And in ‘Unresolved’, I have implied that there are influential people who kill those who demand transparency using the RTI Act,” she said.

How did Nihalani get started as a writer?

“It was the love for the written word. Back in the 1980s, as a teenager in Mumbai, I would accumulate newspaper snippets of well-written, entertaining articles. In addition, I had a little notebook and wrote down quotes or phrases that were so beautifully written… I had to save them.”

The snippets, articles and the notebook entries – all helped in Ninhalani’s role as a writer.

“Later, when I studied in Antwerp for my bachelor’s degree, one of the requirements was to write an essay for an economics course. I chose to write an economic assessment of India during British Rule. A family relative helped me gain access to the Fergusson College library in Pune.

“While I researched, I also spent many long hours completely lost in the dusty volumes of Indian history inside that architecturally beautiful library. It was one of the most memorable times of my life. I guess that’s when the seed was planted to become a writer,” Nihalani explained.

How did her global journey come about?

“My parents loved to travel a lot. My childhood and growing up years were spent in six cities in four different continents. It was only after marriage that I planted roots and settled down,” she said.

What then has she gained from her global journey? “There are many snapshots of memories that have enriched my life,” she replied.

In Kano, in Nigeria, she has “memories of bloody feudal wars between ethnic groups”.

“In Bengaluru, travelling to school on the cycle-rickshaw in the cool mornings, spending time with neighbours as we would cycle around the colony. In Singapore, I was finding it difficult to adjust to school life and spent most of my time reading books”.

“Next stop, Mumbai, this was the city where I finally felt I had developed roots and made some good friends. There was the laid-back college life. Bunking was part of the scene which meant sitting with friends at Marine Drive, eating street food, discussing the philosophies of life and the changing trends,” Nihalani elaborated.

The most memorable part of Mumbai, “was the monsoon… the smells, the sounds, and the cool breeze. Also, from our high-rise apartment, I would watch oncoming sheets of rain forming curtains across the sea… it was a visual pleasure”, Nihalani said.

On moving to Antwerp, the one thing that really hit her was the quiet.

“The sparsely populated streets, as compared to Mumbai, were so empty, it felt strange. The lack of noise was so distinct, it took time to adjust. But then I slowly developed a liking for the solitude and walked for hours exploring the city.

“The changing seasons were so distinct it was a marvel to watch the trees blossom in spring and change with the passing months, turning into gnarled branches in the winter. There was many a ghost story that came to mind during the dark cold months. In Hong Kong, my journey took on a new turn with marriage and a whole new life developed from there on,” the author said.

What of the future?

“Definitely more reading and writing”, Nihalani concluded.(IANS)(image-twitter)

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Shoot The Rapist At The Sight

 And which type is contributing more dangerously to the society can easily be measured with our simple plus and minus equation

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This glaring aberration in the world of media is visible as clearly as stars in the darkness of the night.
India is plagued with a disease called Rape. Wikimedia Commons

Salil Gewali

  • India is plagued with a disease called Rape
  • There are no rigorous punishments for rape
  • Rapists openly commit crimes without anny fear

Why the clamour only for the rigorous punishment for rape and other sadistic crimes which have their roots in the mental-degeneration? Apart from the toughest punishment to the perpetrators, let’s go deeper to analyze what could be the possible  “causes”  that push men to commit rape. Why so much mental degeneration that certain individuals can stoop to the gutter being to their status, their position and social values? Well, how to address those issues is certainly a challenge. And that “challenge” certainly calls for a serious brain-storming and a serious self-assessment vise-a vise the environment in which we all are living.

Ranaghat Nun Rape Case
Rape culture in India garnered more spotlight following the Nirbhaya-gang rape, after which the issue has continue to remain a burning topic in the country. Pixabay

True, in the physical world we are highly convinced brag about that healthy environment is a must for our healthy living. Even kids know these days that we can’t breathe well if our surroundings are filled with high levels of  “toxicity”. We have well studied through our academic textbooks that people invite the environmental disaster if they keep on allowing excessive emission of CO2, CO, methane and other dangerous gases into the atmosphere. We have fully acknowledged that each tall and black chimney of the industries and the nozzles of the motor vehicles are here only to mar the beauty of this planet? What kind of damages the toxic gases are doing to our ecosystem are not at all tough job to analyze with modern appliances. Again, a lot amount of books have been published to create the awareness, to inform us about the scientifically tested measures to resolve the environmental concerns.

However, do we have the same amount of literature that pinpoint the “causes” which contribute to turning “males into perverts”? Who else is emitting the “toxic substances” that overpower the inborn sensitivity of the deviant? What are the properties of toxic filth that is polluting the mind-scape of the society? Now we have Donald Trump, the president of the USA, whom many prefer call him a pervert. At this rate, the number perverts are increasing and they have become dangerously ubiquitous. And, all those perverts have brought nightmares to the ill-fated females. We often stage candle march in protest against the rape, but remain blind to the glaring “causes”. Should we still fiddle about and be appreciative of the society that shameless covers itself with the vulgarity — the “toxicity” that might numb the sanity of males? Watch out, dear friends, those perverts have begun to see even “baby girls” as objects of lust!

Please note:  what our sages said:  “What you see that you think, what you think that you do and what you do that become !!!!”

Also Read: Eat Grapes To Ward Off Depression

Again, I would like to draw another similarity with what prompt big people to “rape”/violate the harmony of the Mother Earth. The case is very regularly brought out by the conscious citizens across the country. A senior journalist Patricia Mukhim of Meghalaya has pointedly driven home recently how the “greed for money” has corrupted many leaders who are trying hard to justify the senseless exploitation of the “body” of Mother Earth. Many big shots of big companies struggle to convince the politicians to tweak the laws to grant the permission to perpetually “rape” the country.

In my mind, both are infected with common syndromes! While the one type is interested in the body of the females, the other type has a fetish for the rocky body of the “Mother Earth”. And which type is contributing more dangerously to the society can easily be measured with our simple plus and minus equation.

The rape victims are not getting the justice they deserve.
The rape victims are not getting the justice they deserve.

Let’s assess the issues from another angle, given the advancement of medical science. Till some years back malaria, dengue, cholera, HIV, smallpox were life-taking diseases. But the medical science has pretty successfully eradicated or contained them all. The scientists have correctly identified the causes of those dangerous diseases and recommended the remedial measures. No doubt, that is a very productive achievement. However, why have the modern studies practically failed to “identify the causes”  of the pandemic rise of the horrendous instances of rapes and criminality associated with them? Is it not a strong slap in the face of the modern civilization considering we have not yet spelt out the causes and the characteristic symptoms the  “toxic emitters” who turn decent males into sadists? How long will we endure the depravity which has already strangulated the decency of the society? Should we still wait to work out the tough laws? Should we still hitch to explore for the “causes” and remedial measures? I guess the time is ripe that each morally conscious individual be allowed a shotgun to shoot the “perversion and depravity” of any kind at sight!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.