Tag Archives: divorce

Interview with Judy Balan

 

As I walked in to the bookstore for the launch of Judy Balan’s debut novel, Two Fates: The Story of my Divorce, I was greeted with a sweet smile and a hint of a rollicking time!
I managed to get Judy’s time and attention before the launch and indulged in a candid interview.
On enquiring about the ideation of the story, she was quick to respond, “I happened to be in a store   and noticed Drink, Play, F@ck, the parody of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. The author of the    parody had managed to sell film rights to his book and I thought, “Wow! You can simply rip off a  best seller and do wonders!” I was reading Chetan Bhagat’s “Two States: The Story of my Marriage”,  and I thought of doing a parody of the book.
I went home, and posted this incident on my blog and asked my readers if they thought it was a good idea. And most of them reverted with a “yes”. Would you believe it only took me about less than three months to wrap up the book!” smiled the author. Continuing her part of the story, she said, “And it was a wonderful experience. I was surprised as to how quickly I even found publishers willing to launch my book. It truly felt like a Cinderella moment…”

So do we see glimpses of her life in this book? “No no! This is definitely not the story of my divorce,” Judy responded quickly. “In fact the only thing common between me and the character of Deepika is the job (as a copywriter).”
“Oh and the aunties of course! The ones who keep coming up to me or my parents enquiring about my age, and they seem to be obsessing about my marriage and my divorce more than my folks. It’s hilarious (now) but it is so true!”
Digging a bit in to her professional background I enquired about her decision to be a “full time parent”.
“Well, even after those five and a half years in the advertising agency as a copywriter I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t satisfied doing what I was doing. I was scared to quit initially as I did not know what I would do next. Quitting was not an option but when my divorce came through I knew I had to dedicate time to my girl. The ups and downs of divorce were terrible. I took up freelance writing and of course started blogging ardently.”
So how was life at home? “Very different. It was mundane, yes. It took me about a bit to adopt the sedentary lifestyle. There was a drastic change in momentum. But it gave me time to spend with my daughter and write. It was the best thing that happened to me.”
Ask her if she would plunge in to a marriage (or love) again and she chirps, “Why not! I’m a die-hard romantic. A million times bitten and still not shy sort of a person. Divorce hasn’t made me cynical. I’m the incurable optimistic who still writes letter to “the one”. If life gives me a chance to fall in love, I’d dive!”
As the focus shifted to her writing and her blog, she confessed “Blog writing gives you almost instant gratification. Your readers revert real quick. Writing a book, a fiction, needs commitment. It is hard work.”
For those who don’t know, Judy also writes scripts for plays. Her shyness prevents her from being on stage, but off-stage she seems to be the “queen of the written word”. “I would love to have a column someday, though my blog sometimes serves more like a column,” smiled Judy. “But writing an epic adventure series (like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series) is one thing I look forward to. I know it’s a long long way yet, and for now I will focus on light fiction about relationships and break-ups.”
Humor and comedy is one key ingredient Judy feels that she cannot do without in the books she reads and pens. “If you’ve read Two States, you’d get all the jokes in my book”, confessed the author sheepishly.
“I do love romantic comedies. Nothing can quite beat Erich Segal’s Love Story and Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult’s works. I also like reading books by Candace Bushnell and Marian Keyes and Elizabeth Gilbert.”
Getting to the juicy part of the conversation, we asked Judy to share an exclusive detail about her as a writer and she confessed, “My writing will always precede the love of my life. I think I devote more time to my writing than anything else.”
And Judy as a mother? She quickly said, “I’m forever obsessing over the fact that I’m not good enough. Trust me, all that art and craft and wonderful things parents do for their kids, I’m bad at all that.”


Over more smiles and jokes I enquired about her next book and she said, “It’s wonderful how I’ve already signed the deal for my next book. It is again a light fiction. But I can’t give out much on it. You’ll have to wait a bit!”
For sure we would look forward to her next book, since her first one has definitely got us hooked!
It’s true all good things definitely come in small packages. And this package is amongst the best!
I’m sure she captured more hearts and readers with her smile and her book that evening.

 

Grab a copy of her book before the stores run out of copies! You will definitely enjoy the read.

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Book Launch Of “Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce”, By Judy Balan

Book Launch Of Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, By Judy Balan

 

As I walked in to Landmark for the book launch and reading session of Judy Balan’s debut novel – Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, I looked around to see if I could spot her. Amidst the crowd she easily passed off as a kid…alright a teenager! Yes, you read me right. A teenager. A young, chirpy one (and I’m tempted to add bubbly too) at that. Her smile, definitely infectious…and her book – oh! So lovable!!!

 

The session had an equally excited young moderator interacting with Judy. Answering the volley of questions with ease, Judy let us on some fun facts too. “This is more of a parody on Two States: The Story Of My Marriage, by Chetan Bhagat,” she confessed. 

 

“Yes, I’m divorced but this is not my story at all. The story of my divorce would turn out like one of Stephen King’s novels!” she laughed.

 

Taking digs at the typical character traits of some of the South Indian aunties she has come across in real life, Judy spoke about her experience of penning the novel and how things somewhat fell in place within a short frame. “It feels like a Cinderella moment, honestly.”

 

Judy read out about a page or two from her book. And I believe no one spaced out. In fact, I am sure, people who heard her read out the passage must’ve run to get themselves a copy of the book. The staccato writing style, I noticed, is one major factor that brings alive the fun that the auhtor intends to present to her readers.

After the interactive bit, she signed a few copies for the eager audience and of course smiled for the shutterbugs. 

  

Thankfully I had enough time to interview her, which you all will read soon. But for now, let me confess, I had a great time at the launch interacting with this fun spirited cherub. And her book is a must read for everyone!

 

P.S – there is no compulsion in wrapping up the book within two hours, really. Though many have done it.

(*Pic of Judy Balan by Siddhesh Kabe)

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Book Review of “In Pursuit Of Infidelity” by Sujata Parashar

In Pursuit Of Infidelity

By Sujata Parashar

 

*spoiler alert*

Infidelity nowadays is as common as a headache. It can happen anytime. And it really isn’t as weird. Or so people say/think.
People write/talk about what they observe. Looking at the number of stories being written and published on this subject (of infidelity) it makes one wonder about the changing times of today.

In Pursuit of Infidelity by Sujata Parashar is one such story about Sheena, a busy professional, happily married (or so she thinks) to Gaurav. Both are trapped in the worldly woes of a professional life in Delhi, trying to make for a better future for themselves and their son Krish.

Sheena does not really feel the love towards Gaurav, but it’s her commitment to marriage and family that keeps her going. That is, until temptation comes calling. She bumps into her long lost love/crush- Nikhil and when he too confesses of being in love with her, Sheena faces the eternal dispute between her conscience and her heart.

Her work takes her to Mumbai and she ends up giving into her heart’s desire with him. She decides to walk out of her marriage. But when she returns home, it’s time for Gaurav to leave for Singapore on business. She decides to hold on till his return. But what happens in Singapore doesn’t remain in Singapore.
Gaurav ends up being attracted to Anita and one drunken night sees them breaking all inhibitions. Anita realizes their mistake and requests Gaurav to never contact her or be in touch with her.
Back home, Sheena stumbles upon Gaurav’s deed and feels cheated. She then walks out on him and demands a divorce.
What happens next is something I leave for the readers to find out.
(Yeah, it would be too bratty of me to give out the entire story here –albeit I’ve marked the spoiler alert!)

The narrative is quite smooth, yet captivating given its decent pace. The characterization is quite relatable to. But there were some points that ticked me.

Sheena was anyways set to call quits. So why did she feel so hurt and cheated on Gaurav’s infidelity? Ego hurt you say? Well, I don’t quite seem to agree with that. It was quite selfish on her part. Just because she wasn’t “caught” being unfaithful she put the entire “fall out blame” on him. Super selfish!

Secondly, all of us have moments of weakness. In this case, Nikhil happened to catch the right nerve and press it hard. People, especially girls/women, need to be the ones in control of their lives. The moment you show that you are vulnerable, people prey on you.

Also, being dissatisfied with (married) life doesn’t give you the license to cheat. You better be brave enough to own up to things.
And what about the sacred vows couples take during their marriage ceremonies? Why marry at all then? Why not just live in the moment with “no strings attached”?

Sheena is scared and worried about societal pressures and anxieties that come along with. But why doesn’t she think about them while indulging with Nikhil? Yes, there is no such thing as right or wrong, and sometimes everyone gives in to the moment…then why does she not come out clean with Gaurav? Why is he made the scapegoat who ends up carrying the entire blame!?
Well, to each his own.

Coming back to the writing, the “bedroom scenes” have been crafted very subtly. The mellow version of passionate love that the characters indulge in is quite concise. She could’ve explored that a bit more.

The author has well presented a hard-hitting fact/reality of life. It is a perceptive story that makes you think about the on goings in your life. Quite deeply. Overall, a good read.

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