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What was your childhood like? Any incidents form your growing up years that shaped you as a person?
My childhood was quite interesting, we moved homes a lot so I guess that set the stage for me turning to books and becoming an introvert because it was increasingly difficult for me to keep making new friends. And all that reading has now stood me in good stead.
When did your journey as a writer/poet begin?
I think I’ve always been writing, ever since I was a child.
Do you have a muse? If yes, who or what acts as a catalyst to your writing?
I don’t have a muse per…
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Hello Kiran, thank you for being a part of IWI’s Incredible Women Writers of India 2016, and sharing your journey as a writer. How would you define yourself? I am a Type A person hidden within a T…
Source: Kiran Manral
I earned my first rupee when I was still in school. In the primary section. It came from having no pocket money and a whopping collection of books. I created a home library, where I carefully catalogued the books and lent it out to other kids for the princely sums of 10 paise per comic book, 25 paise for a proper paperback/hardbound book, for a week. And yes, I’d factored in late return fines as well. The model worked pretty well, and my natural parsimoniousness and burgeoning entrepreneurship made the library a hit in a one horse suburb public bank staff quarters where parents thought buying their kids books was an indulgence best done without.
This was start up entrepreneurship before start-ups became the hot stuff they are today, and the money I earned from running the library kept me on Phantom cigarettes, Pepsicolas (not the carbonated stuff you get these days but flavoured ice-water packed in transparent plastic tubes) and gold coin chocolates. I had then tasted, if you please, at age seven, the pleasures of earning my own money and not being answerable to anyone as to how I chose to spend it.
My entrepreneurial bug was on permanent itch since. I became the de facto agent for IYF, a penpal matching outfit based in a Scandinavian country, this in the pre internet era, where I collected the application fees plus commission from school mates to do the documentation and the thankless job of visiting the post office, standing in queue and posting it.
A little later, by Grade 9 and 10, I began scouting round export surplus streets, picking up clothes at discounts on the already cheap rate by begging and pleading and would sell them to friends in school and the building at a decent mark up. In college, I was giving tuitions to smaller kids and earning my pocket money. I began working when I was 19. I’d always earned my keep.
And then I had my baby. By this time, I’d been a journalist, quit to start my own content supply firm, closed that when the first dot com bubble exploded rather nastily, started an advertising boutique firm with the hubby, where I handled the creative side of the business, and continue freelance writing and editing industry specific magazines.
When the baby came along, work-life-balance went for a toss in the initial years. I did have wonderful support at home with my mother-in-law to watch the baby, but getting back to full-time work was impossible because it was tiring for an ageing person to take care of a hyperactive baby who insisted on scooting all over the place all the time. I did continue work, writing the occasional freelance article but those were few and far between, and the payments delayed for months, and when they came, puny enough to be laughable. For those years, I was completely dependent financially on the spouse.
For someone who was used to earning her own money all her life, these years were a trifle tough. As the child grew, and freed up more time for me as he went into nursery and then big school, I upped my working hours. Working freelance, but there was an income, humble as it was, and it was mine. It made me a happier person to have around when I had money in the account that was mine to spend with zero guilt. But having said this, I acknowledge that I had the luxury of choice. Something that most women in similar situations don’t.
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I saw ‘The Face In The Window’ on my colleague’s desk and the book’s cover lured me instantly. Is that face in the window, looking back at me? Now, I am a brave reader, and the fact that my colleague is not is what has led to this review.
Mrs McNally, is a retired schoolteacher and lives alone, in a cottage on a remote hill station. She loves living here, spending her time writing and chatting up with the people around. Her daughter, a social worker lives abroad, but she has a granddaughter who lives and studies at a boarding school nearby, and she visits her often.
However, such bliss can be a myth, and Mrs McNally knows that best. Life has been long, and has left her burdened with memories of failed relationships. She wants to unload that burden, but can’t, afraid that her past will affect the present for her daughter and granddaughter. But then, memories are like ghosts, and they turn up when least expected.
‘The Face At The Window’ brings out a similarity between the ghosts of both the past and present. The story builds slowly, noting details of events and characters, and then takes off to focus on the subject. The author has been attentive to introducing and establishing each character: Mrs McNally who was abandoned at childhood, led a full life but now wants to live alone and peacefully. You will also meet her granddaughter Nina, the teenager, who has a crush on a doctor double her age and is not clued in to the reality of life. Then there is Sumit, who is on a sabbatical to write a book.
The characters and story seem very real and made me stick to the book till the last page. I got a bit emotional reading about the life of a woman, whose name was also a lie. She has never seen a relationship blossom in her life and is not even attached to her own daughter. Such detachments and emotional turmoils happen in real life too, but not everyone admits to it.
You try to find happiness in the little things, but do run the risk of getting trapped by ghosts of the past. The Face In The Window’ is a gentle story, about the lack of identity and the eternal search to find yourself. It will give you goosebumps at certain points, but you will continue to read till the end. And perhaps, let out a sigh, when you reach there. This one is a must read!
Title: THE FACE AT THE WINDOW
Author: KIRAN MANRAL
Available on Amazon
Thank you Yamini Jay Singh, for the kind words.
So, when you’re busy focusing your attention on the newborn, and the toddler, who is already potty trained and out of solids suddenly demands her share of attention again.
An unexpected and delightful reader review for Once Upon A Crush on Amazon yesterday.
A book lover’s delight, 15 June 2016
This review is from: Once Upon A Crush (Kindle Edition)
The cover design of ‘Once Upon a Crush’ with slightly smudged heart and red-coloured lipstick, sets the mood for the fun, light-hearted pleasure that this book is.
Rayna De is the main protagonist of ‘Once Upon a Crush’. She’s independent, about to turn 30 and has not love life. Her parents are after her to get married.
She has a crush on Deven Ahuja – Rayna compares him to Edward Cullen and Mr Darcy. Oh, and he has cheekbones comparable to Benedict Cumberbatch.
The stage is thus set for the emotions and the insecurities of being attracted, of getting to know someone. The hesitation of not asking a question frankly, and then looking for answers in gestures and random statements.
And especially our minds making mountains out of every molehill of gesture, statement and even silence.
The choice of not marrying, yet the insecurities of being alone.
I was hooked when I read Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings mentioned in the same sentence. Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Fifty Shades of Grey, Phantom, When Harry Met Sally, Twilight Saga, and many more make this book a reader’s delight. Even the Queen of sarcasm and outspokenness, Aunty Acid finds a place.
The way the author plays with words is fascinating.
The book is great for easy reading with lots of humour thrown in.
There is not a moment of boredom reading this book. The story may not throw up any great surprises, but the words are strikingly expressive.
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Kiran Manral has written a cracker of a story in her delightful style and it’s full of everything a desi girl could want — a vulnerable, heartbroken heroine, a too-good-to-be-true hero, a vamp, an aunt that everyone wishes s/he had in his/her family and an exotic Mediterranean cruise replete with dazzling locations. You tell me — what’s not to love?
And even though you know that Rhea and Kamal are destined to be together, you can’t help but push them together with the power of your thoughts. Anything to bring a couple together!
I actually see this being made into a film one day…ooh, dil dhadak raha hain!