1.What are the three values that you got from your parents as a child that has made you the person you are today?
From my mother I got the discipline to get up, dress up and show up, no matter what the mood, the situation, the health issues. She’s a feisty thing, my mother, and if I could be half as feisty as she is, I would be happy with myself. She also taught me to always be honest, no matter how unpleasant. From my father, I learnt to be kind. I think these three values define me today.
2.Who was the biggest influence in your life to help your grow to be a successful woman?
I don’t know if I can quite call myself a successful woman, miles to go before being remotely worthy of that label. But my biggest influence, clichéd as it may sound is definitely my mother.
3.Where do you take inspiration from when writing about the characters of your book? Are they based on real life characters?
Different for different books, some are based in bits and parts on people I know, some come as fully-formed creatures in my head and need no further inspiration from real life. So I would think, it works both ways for me as a writer.
4.How do you maintain work-life balance and find time to spend with your family?
I only work when I am at my office, and once I am home I do nothing but domestic stuff and spend time with my son. I think it is important to shut oneself off from work once one reaches home, and to draw up very clear demarcations of what one is prepared to do or not. I don’t take work related calls post 6pm, I don’t work on weekends, I completely refuse to travel unless essential. All this helps to carve out time that gets eaten up from family time.
5.What are the three things that motherhood has taught you?
Definitely that I could put myself in the path of a speeding car without a moment’s hesitation if needed to save my son. Also that I can survive on zero sleep through a year of hourly feeds. And that I am infinitely more patient than I ever thought I could be.
6.You have donned so many hats? What keeps you going?
The fear of not doing enough.
7.What do you think about the state of women in India and what we must do for the betterment of women in India?
I think it begins with ourselves and extends to the women around us. We need to speak up for ourselves, for the women we come in contact with, change attitudes, call out everyday unthinking sexism, speak up when something is not acceptable at home or in the professional space.
And most importantly, we need to form strong networks of women, whether in the professional space or the personal space, we need to be, in our limited capacity each other’s safety nets. And this gradually spreads out across a community, a neighbourhood, a city, a country.
8. Any women’s day message that you’d like to give to our readers?
Women hold up half the sky, as Chairman Mao said. So don’t ever hesitate to stake your claim to the space you occupy. Be glorious, be confident, and reach out for whatever you want to be.”
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