Interview With Rashmi Kumar

A versatile new-age writer, Rashmi Kumar represents everything a “girl in the city” should. Glamorous, smart, intelligent and very humane. Currently working for Business India, there’s more to this lovely lady than just being a journalist.

Read on to know more…

Coming to your first book: Stilettos in the Newsroom-What brought about the ideation of the story?

I’ve been a journalist for the past eight years and this book reflects my observations in this field. I am a keen observer and a sensitive one at that. That’s quite a lethal combination if I may add. I wanted to show the readers and my (ex) bosses, colleagues, family and friends what I feel about the profession and how I see it.
Secondly, we all know much is written about other (business/corporate) sectors; and whatever has been penned about journalism is by very experienced journalists or experts of the field. Nothing is jotted down by freshers or the new-age journalists. I wanted to show things the way a young journalist like me saw and experienced them.

How did you zero down on “Stilettos in the Newsroom”?
There was a lot of playing around with the usual journalism jargon – Black & White; By Line; and the  usual…but it wasn’t appealing enough. I wanted the title to represent the main protagonist Radhika.  She comes across as a girl-next-door but pretty intelligent, sensitive and a graceful young woman  at that. And stilettos as you know represent grace, glamour and a certain style. All this put together  with human emotions represent Radhika (and yes to quite an extent me).

Coming to your writing style – it includes a move/jump from the future to the past to  the present. Was this a conscious effort?
Yes, this was pretty much a conscious effort. And it did come easily since I was bent on following it.  Personally I feel some people haven’t been able to cope up with it. They thought I missed some  chapters in-between.

Was there any point during the writing process that you felt you were stuck? Like  reaching a dead end and don’t know where to proceed?
Yes, in Chapter 15 (where I mention the Firangi Date) I felt much of Radhika’s personal and professional life was covered. I took a few days off to think and connect again to proceed with the story.

Given a choice, would you change any part of the book?

(Ponders) That’s a good question. I really haven’t thought about it much. I might not change anything about the book, personally, because everything that I wrote was well structured consciously in my head. But people who’ve read it did recommend that I should’ve shown Radhika as a single, career oriented woman rather than falling in love with a guy and waiting for him. She is a non-conformist as the story reveals, and readers felt I should’ve let her be more idealistic and “single”. But I wanted to show the entire process of a relationship; the love, the longing and pain that come as a part-n-parcel of any relationship; etc. The thing is – I am very feminine but I am not a feminist.

How much time did it take for you to finish writing the book? What kind of research did this one involve (if at all)?
It took me about a year to finish the book. I had to get my facts about certain places in Pune and Delhi right.

That’s fast – considering that you juggle from being a journalist to a radio jockey to working with an NGO! So what do we see next from the desk of Rashmi Kumar?
My next book is about a girl who works in the corporate sector. There definitely is quite a bit of research happening for it, – how the protagonist goes through life, relationships and corporate culture. I should be able to get it out April next year.
And yes, I’m sticking to “Fiction” – that’s the genre I’m most comfortable with (as of now). Later I might do a bit of travel writing since I’m an avid traveler.

Touching the other aspect of your life – the radio show – tell us something about “Heart of the Matter”.
Every Thursday evening I’m on air – 102.6FM (Rainbow India in Delhi) with the show – Heart of the Matter. It is a request based show that touches various topics like office gossips, sibling love/rivalry, anger control etc – basically anything and everything under the sun. Listeners call in to talk about a certain issue/concern and request a song of their liking.

We would also like to know about the NGO that you are a part of?
Sumaitri is a crises intervention center for the distressed, depressed and suicidal. People from different walks of life volunteer as listeners who counsel people in distress / depression. We befriend our callers, hear them out and guide them to the best of our capabilities. I dedicate five hours every Saturday to this cause.

What are you currently reading?
Eat, Pray, Love. It seems like a great read. I can somewhat relate to it.

Your favorite author list would include…
Khaled Hosseini, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Amitav Gosh, R K Narayan.

On a relaxed, lazy Sunday afternoon –who/what keeps you company?
My Pillow!

Three “good to know” facts about Rashmi –
•    When tensed or stressed I eat a lot. It’s my stress-buster!
•    I’m a completely hopeless romantic at heart. And since this is a “fading out” trend, I feel out of place.
•    And I wish to build a house by the sea-side – enjoy the sun-rise and sunset each day and spend time in the sand…



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