I recently read the book "And She Rises" by Megha Patni (review here: http://www.thereaderscosmos.com/2018/03/and-she-rises-by-megha-patni.html) and I fell in love with her writing style. Those who are following us regularly here and on social media need no introduction to her writing, which is the best in the genre "humor", at par and even surpassing the best selling writers we know. This was her first book in a series to come and I cant really wait to read the next one. With the hope of getting some idea about when can that happen, I had a conversation with her, trying to understand her journey and what lies ahead. Here is the conversation....
Q. Tell us about your journey into writing?
It has been long time since I started to write, it started with writing a diary at the age of 13, writing simple poetry to writing emotional and touchy letters to loved ones. Then I wrote my first crime story Face in the Window – psychological short story of a schizophrenic girl. I did my post graduation in Journalism, but didn’t turn up to be hardcore journalist but worked as a features writer with popular magazines and portals. It was after marriage that I thought of penning down a book.
Q. Is it in any part autobiographical? Or Are there similarities between people you know and the characters?
The story isn’t autobiographical, but is almost every girl’s story. Many women would relate to it be it as Falguni or as Disha or for that matter having a boyfriend like Avi.
Q. Humor to my mind is one of the most difficult forms of writing so what made you choose it?
I like sarcasm, dark humor. And I tend to see it in every aspect but never expressed it so openly. I do but as they say when writing, pour your heart out into it. And that’s what I exactly did. There are some things to which you don’t agree on, like the way women are treated no matter in urban or rural but when you can’t express it openly you take the road less traveled!
Q. What is your opinion about status of Indian women in society today?
Indian women still do not have a say or their opinion still does not count no matter how educated she is. She is still looked down as a person who looks after the house and children. The thought that – that is what she is born to do housework and not take decisions still exists and is prevalent in higher echelons of the society as well. Yes thinking is changing, there are men who also do household work, etc. but they are just a handful of them. Smaller cities, rural areas – in these places majority of women do not have a say in any regards. And even if she does create a difference or a mark she isn’t given enough credit. As women, we always wish to be appreciated or encouraged in tiny little ways. Who doesn’t like a friendly pat on the back?
Q. What do you think should change in the situation above and why?
To other women out there, please support and help other women in need of it. Remember initially you had to struggle to where you have reached today. And if that unity of women supporting women will become strong, believe me even men may bow down to it and follow suit. Frankly speaking, if you are a newcomer, you are not welcomed much. Famous people are famous. It is of no use trying to play their bugle. This then leads to unhappiness, depression, frustration, etc. The competitive spirit is no longer competitive, it turns ugly, jealousy and envy takes place which is not healthy. We send each other Happy Women's Day messages but think do we really mean it?
Q. To your mind what is equality / freedom for a woman? Do you think there will ever be a time when there will be true equality of the sexes?
Women have already started working in male dominated fields which are obviously met with uneasy stares and discomfort – thinking why her and why not me? Why should I take orders from her? But this is just the beginning and we still have a long way to go for equality.
When you say freedom for woman, at this point of time what comes to my mind is that she should be able to go out without a fear in her mind of getting robbed, raped, and kidnapped or getting attacked by acid!
Q. Apart from writing are you involved with other women-centric projects?
Yes starting this woman’s day, I will be launching a campaign called as Happy Go Lucky ME!!! (Creating Happy Minds) which is all about finding that inner happiness and satisfaction within yourself. If nobody appreciates you, you do it yourself. Don’t wait for anybody to water your garden. Do it yourself. This campaign has workshops which are conducted by me and it’s not just about lecturing but involves lot of exercises and interaction with each other. It’s not a self help workshop – rather it’s helping yourself!
Q. How many volumes does this series have and how far have you come along with the second book? Do we have a release date?
There are three volumes in this series. The second one is called, And She Rises – From Ashes to Glory. The third book is And She Rises – Her Rise. Am in middle of writing the second part as well and hopefully this time it will be a printed edition. It will be released in next three months time – around July.
Q. Why such a small book (67 pages only)?
Curiosity is such an amazing human emotion that you don’t need to tell a very long story to keep your readers hooked onto your book. I felt since it’s my debut, readers should connect with the story that I want to tell and keep them thinking.
Q. Why did you decide to publish with Juggernaut?
Since Juggernaut is the most sought out eBook platform and they do give new authors a break I decided to launch my book with them. Initially I faced technical glitches which were a bit frustrating because my friends and family were excited to read the book and unfortunately they couldn’t download it. But the Juggernaut team was very helpful and they solved it.
Q. What is the most difficult aspect of writing a book for you? How do you tackle it?
The difficult aspect of writing is hoping that your readers stay stuck to your book and the other difficult part is that they don’t find your humor dry. It’s like trying to make them laugh forcefully, which is where your humor aspect fails.
Q. What are your favourite writers and quotes?
Ayn Rand, John Grisham, Jeffery Archer, Patricia Cornwell, Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook, Anais Nin, Paulo Coelho, Stephen King and not to forget JK Rowling.
“To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that’s real power.” – Ayn Rand.
“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”- Anais Nin
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. – Paulo Coelho
“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” – Stephen King
Q. Your most favourite quote from a book?
My all time favourite Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban one where Professor Dumbledore says, “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”
Q. A few lines about The Readers Cosmos…The Readers Cosmos is a platform that every new author should seek because they are very forthcoming and helpful. Even if you are confused on how to market yourself they guide you to help you make your book successful.
The Readers Cosmos team thanks Megha for her time and for this lovely interaction. We wish her great luck in all her endeavors ahead.