An economics graduate from Wellesley College Massachusetts with an MBA from Columbia Business School, Ira Trivedi is the personification of beauty and brains. After having interacted with her during the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011, we were more than eager to interview her and know about her experiences of being an author, a model and about her internship at JP Morgan.
This is what she shared with us.
What made you participate in the Miss India Contest (2004)? Did you also wish to gain instant fame and success? Or was it just another feat that you wanted to conquer?
For me it was simply an experience. I had never been exposed to that world and I thought it would be an interesting experience for me, which it certainly was! A lot of people told me that I should do it, and it came around very easily for me, so I decided to do it.
Soon after the contest you came out with your first book “What would you do to save the world”? What instigated you to write about the harsh realities of such pageants? Were there any inhibitions that bothered/worried you?
Because I had never experienced anything like this pageant before, I found it very entertaining and the storyteller in me thought it would make a great story. It is a light-hearted, interesting tale and nothing bothered or worried me!
Then came, The Great Indian Love Story, from your desk. What was the inspiration behind this one? What struck the ideation for such a satire?
I had recently moved back to India, after finishing Business School at Columbia. I found the society in Delhi very interesting and I hankered to write about it. I thus began writing The Great Indian Love Story, which is the story of Serena Prasad and takes us through her life in New York and New Delhi. I was fascinated with the new breed of society and image obsessed people, and the noveau riche society and their culture, and this was the inspiration for The Great Indian Love Story.
The story borders on the traditional and the contemporary ways of life in the metros. Given that you’ve moved through nine cities across four countries and three continents and the book is majorly set in Delhi, was it easy drawing parallels for this story?
As I mentioned earlier, The Great Indian Love Story traverses Serena’s life in Chandigarh, New York and New Delhi, so it was very easy for me to draw parallels from my own life! Also, since I had recently moved back to Delhi, I had a bit of a voyeuristic mind-set, which inspired me to write the book.
Your latest offering “There is no love on Wall Street” was launched at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2011 by Junot Diaz. How did it feel to have Junot launch your latest book?
Junot Diaz is a dear friend, and was also my professor when I was a student at MIT. I began writing “There is No Love on Wall Street” under his tutelage and it was really very nice that he would launch my book. Somehow, it completed the circle.
There is no love on Wall Street shows the different facets of investment bankers at Wall Street. How and where did you start thinking of this story? How much of it was real life experience, and how much of it was fiction?
Well, the book is based on real life, since I was an intern at JP Morgan like the main character of the book, Riya. Once I finished my internship I thought it would make for a great story, and I began writing. It took me 5 years to finish the book. It is a work of fiction, though the premise of the book is autobiographical.
All your books belong to the genre of Commercial Fiction. Is there any other genre that you’d like to experiment with in the near future?
I am currently working on a few short stories, and I and really enjoying that. I also enjoy writing non-fiction, so that could be something that I do in the future.
All your three books have a common protagonist name – Riya. Was it a conscious effort? Or do you just like the name?
I think it is more of a sub-conscious effort, plus I like the name. In many ways, each Riya is my alter ego at that point in my life. I always tell myself that I will change the name, but somehow once I start writing I grow attached to the character and don’t end up doing it!
What are your favorite genres? And favorite books?
I love women’s fiction (of all varieties) and some of my favorite books as Little Women, Emma, One Fifth Avenue, and Unaccustomed Earth. As you can tell, a wide variety!
Whom do you consider to be your inspiration in the world of writing? Name the authors who have had an impact on you?
So many! I don’t know where to begun. My favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Amitav Ghosh, Candace Bushnell… the list keeps on going. Every book that I read usually holds something that inspires me; otherwise I wouldn’t even finish it. Recently I read a book called “The Journey Home” by Radhanath Swami, which was perhaps one of the most inspiring books that I have read.