Bombaywaali with Sonal Holland, Master of Wine

I must confess, anchoring Bombaywaali has been a most inspiring journey for me. With every speaker, there is something to learn, takeaways that jolt your brain and make you think and enthuse you to keep following your dream. This month’s Bombaywaali by had me chatting with the only Master of Wine we have in India, one of only 369 people in the world, Sonal Holland. Sonal’s is an unconventional journey. She began in the corporate world, and shifted to making wine her life mission on an impulse. And that she’s reached so very far in this journey is not just commendable but an inspiration to every single woman who has ever toyed with the idea of reinventing herself mid-career. And more than everything else, she’s warm, she’s real and she’s got a fierce work ethic.

Some brilliant takeaways I got from the conversation:

Build your tribe. Ask for help. And take all the help you can get.

An idea is only yours when you act on it. Until then it is floating around in the universe for anyone to grab it.

Make your work your life’s mission.

After every great failure is great success, but only if you have the courage to keep going on.

Mommy guilt is real and terrible, but you need to deal with it and get on.

For more about this wonderful conversation read this:


And here are some pictures from the event.


Story & Style: A Review of ‘The Face at the Window’

On ReadWriteInspire by Archana Sarat

Kiran Manral weaves a web of intrigue, conjures up an atmosphere of dread and brings to life characters who will haunt us long after we read the last page.

After reading 100+ books every year for the last few years, I have realized that what I look for in every novel that I read is a good story. Don’t get me wrong—I love language; it is what I breathe, caress, memorize, underline and write down in my journal, but it all vaporizes in the absence of a good story. Opinions differ, and I know many readers who can sacrifice the pleasure of a good story just to be enchanted in the arms of beautiful prose. That’s not me! However, if you give me a book that has a unique plot narrated by a master storyteller in the most delightful language, you turn me into a fan of the author. That’s exactly what I found in ‘The Face at the Window’—a grasping tale told in stunning prose.

‘Memories are the kind of elusiveness that shift, change form, and remodel themselves by the second.’

‘Smiley face icons cannot hope to replace words thought out carefully in order to put a smile on the other person’s face, the sharpness or the laxity of the handwriting telling stories about the frame of mind of the writer, the smudges on the sheets of paper telling their own stories, blotches where tears might have fallen, hastily scratched out words where another would have been more appropriate, stories that the writer of the letter might not have intended to communicate.’
Read the rest of the review here.

An interview on Bookaholicanonymous

Thanks Smita Singh for the kind words.

‘I don’t think I decide my characters, they decide on me. They pop up in my mind as fully formed flesh and blood people and demand to be written down’ Kiran Manral

Bookaholicanonymous is delighted to present this exclusive interview with Kiran Manral. She is a prolific writer, writing books across genres. Her book ‘Saving Maya’ which was earlier launched on an app, is all set to be published in print by Bombaykala any day now. She is someone I admire and would love to accomplish half of what she has achieved till now.

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published seven books across genres till date. Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, TheDailyO, Scroll, Buzzfeed, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, People, Sakal Times, and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017. Phew! Is there anything she hasn’t done?

Read full interview:

An interview on ReadWriteInspire

Thanks for the kind words Archana Sarat.

A Conversation with Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral is a renowned Indian author, TEDx Speaker, columnist, mentor and feminist. She has written books across genres in both fiction and nonfiction.

 One thing that you cannot miss when you meet Kiran Manral is her warmth and humility. The literary world is filled with people who claim to be much more than what they are, but Kiran is one of the few persons I’ve met who are silent about their accomplishments though they have so much they could brag about. When I read ‘The Face at the Window’ last month, I was blown away; the beauty and lucidity of language that she exhibited could only come from the calm confidence of someone who has absolute power over the language. How did she become a wordsmith? I decided to ask her…


1) What would be one thing you wish you could undo in your writing career?

Nothing actually. Everything has happened when it did for a purpose. And I’m glad it did.


2) The first thing that struck me when I read ‘The Face at the Window’ was the beauty of your language. It was evident that it was penned by someone with a love for words. So, when did that develop? Did you take any conscious efforts in becoming a wordsmith?

The only thing is the love of reading. One reads and one loves language.

Read the rest of the interview here

An interview on Bossgirldotin

Quite enjoyed doing this interview, thanks Madhavi Mukherjee

If “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” is the bible for your ten months of pregnancy, then Kiran Manral’s Karmic Kids is a definitive guide to the time thereafter. What Kirsten Bell says or does in ‘Momsplaining’ today, Kiran said it much before on her blog ‘Karmic Kids’  which today is one of the popular books in parenting experiences. Considered among the most popular blogs in India in it’s time, Karmic Kids was a lowdown of what to expect as a parent and trust me, no one said it better than Manral 🙂

Here’s a peek into Kiran Manral’s life, best and most lucidly put by the author herself. Go on, read up and get inspired :-

1.  So popular knowledge – you moved from advertising to feature writing with a leading publication, then freelance journalism and then a very successful blogger and now a respected author. Do elaborate the journey for all my readers. Would be great to know from you 🙂

Well, I never had a plan. I just wrote. My first job in advertising came about quite by default. My then boyfriend now husband was working in sales at a white goods company. He’d visited one advertising agency and in the course of casual conversation, it cropped up that they were looking for copywriters. I went across the next day and landed the job. I quite hated advertising, I must be honest. I was there for a year or so I think, and then moved into journalism. Journalism was my career for the longest while, and then came motherhood and I took a break from a regular job, going freelance. So it has just been a series of default options that happened as life happened to me. But I’m glad I went freelance, because I then discovered blogs where I could write what I wanted to write and through those blogs, I found a readership who became my biggest cheerleaders when I finally bit the bullet and wrote my first book.

Read the rest of the interview here

In The Married Feminist this week: Who takes charge of the birth control?

One of the hairiest topics in modern marriage is perhaps not who brings in the bacon or who takes charge of changing diapers, or perhaps who loads the washing machine. It is this. Who takes charge of the birth control. More often than not, it falls to the woman to ensure that she is not likely to be saddled with an accidental, unwanted pregnancy.

Kiran Manral The Married Feminist SheThePeople

The Indian man, according to latest research figures, is not one to volunteer for a vasectomy, no matter that the procedure is minimally intrusive, and often even the bait of a monetary reward does not tempt him. The family planning programme in India, therefore, is almost completely dependent on the women of the country.

The male versus female ratio for sterilisation in 2016-17 stood at 1:52 according to latest data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. And more tellingly, the most popular contraceptive method used in India seemed to be female sterilisation. According to data 36% of married women opt for sterilisation, 6% use male condoms and the pill.

To quote the NFHS-4 report, “Female sterilization remains the most popular modern contraceptive method. Among currently married women age 15-49, 36% use female sterilization, followed by male condoms (6%) and pills (4%). Among sexually active unmarried women, female sterilization is the most commonly used method (19%), followed by male condoms (12%). More than eight in 10 (82%) women who got sterilized underwent the procedure in a public health sector facility, mostly a government or municipal hospital or a Community Health Centre (CHC) or a rural hospital.” The Indian government funds approximately 4 million tubal ligations per year, more than any other country in the world.

Of course, surgical sterilisation of women does not come without risks, after all, it is an intrusive surgical procedure, often performed hurriedly, under less than ideal conditions in government health centres. Deaths, complications are not uncommon. A huge price to pay for the simple decision by a woman to limit her childbearing.

Read the rest of the column here

#TheMarriedFeminist this week: Infidelity & Adultery : The Elephant in the Bedroom

Perhaps it is time to address it, that elephant in the bedroom, lying on the marital bed, covers neatly tucked under its chin, snoring complacently. Adultery.

Defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse, adultery though increasingly common across all segments of society, is still socially reprehensible. In India, it is criminal, punishable by a jail sentence. But there’s a caveat, the punishment for adultery is applicable only to the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife. And therein lies all that is problematic.

Kiran Manral The Married Feminist SheThePeople

The law on adultery in India is rather archaic, and was drawn up over a century ago, remaining unchanged since, though attempts have been made to do so.

The law on adultery in India is rather archaic, and was drawn up over a century ago, remaining unchanged since, though attempts have been made to do so.  According to section 497 of the IPC, a consensual-sexual relationship between a man and a married women is prohibited if the woman does not have the consent from her husband. The law punishes the man for adultery only if the husband files a complaint. If an aggrieved husband complains about a man having consensual-sexual relations with his wife, the offender can be imprisoned for up to five years. Interestingly though, if the husband commits adultery, there is no similar recourse for the wife to seek redressal.  He can only be charged if his paramour is married too, and her husband files a case against him.

This gender bias in the law is skewed in favour of women, and unfairly so. This bias, though comes from the place of patriarchy, which dictates that a wife is the husband’s ‘property’. The woman gets away scot-free even though she is equally culpable of having committed adultery. Thankfully, this outdated premise and law though, is getting a much-needed re-look with the recent announcement last week that a five judge bench of the Supreme Court will now deliberate about whether women should be punished for adultery. According to Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, men are solely treated as perpetrators and women bear no onus for adultery.

Read the rest of the article here


As someone who has been writing ever since she was a little girl and has now, by age 46, written nine books, several short stories, columns for various publications, been on several panels and won awards, Kiran Manral still managed to get “rather chuffed about” being shortlisted for the Femina Woman Achievers Award for Literary Contribution in 2017 “because I was in stellar company”.

But it is precisely her woman-next-door candidness and approachable public persona that has attracted her 50,000 social-media followers and fans.

Writing has been both journey and destination for the Mumbai-based TedX speaker, who is also an outspoken votary for women’s rights, and champion for social causes such as protection of children from sexual abuse. And like good wine, she is only getting better with age – both in the nuances of her writing, and in the self-awareness of her opinions.

Kiran at the Hindu Business Line Women Achievers Conference 2017. Photo credit: Fariha Farooqui

Read the entire interview here

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