KarmicKids, and other funny parenting memoirs, in the Open Magazine.

Given that one wrote the blog KarmicKids for over ten years, and shut it three years ago and then made it into a book, last few months is a bit of stretch for this particular book of mine but, it is always nice to be considered fashionable and new. 🙂


“THESE MEMOIRS, part of a flood of fashionable new mommy lit in the last few months—including Shivangi Sharma’s I Made A Booboo (Rupa), Madhuri Banerjee and Rohini Tiwari’s frothy The Flaky Mummy (Rupa), Kiran Manral’s witty Karmic Kids: The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You (Hay House)— indicate a provocative, shifting narrative in parenting discourse, one that publishers are keen to catch. Expert-led parenting books are still being churned and consumed, but intimate, personal stories are all the rage today. Can a book by a child psychologist prepare you for an exasperating situation in the middle of a park? Seldom. You’re never, even after a dozen parenting guides, fully prepared for what parenting throws at you. But you can, with a mug of (reheated) coffee, chuckle over a familiar conundrum another mother narrates, all embarrassing details intact, in a memoir that could seem creepily similar to your baby-filled days. ‘There is an increasing need for mothers to express themselves. Societal expectations for mothers are much higher, and also the need to have the space to vent,’ says Trikha.

Mommy wars on parenting style continue to rage, but this much is agreed upon: motherhood has never been more complex. Or more confounding. Or as controversial. Or as overwhelming. With mothers straddling more roles than ever, with one foot in and one foot out of the house, never quite fully here or there, complexities are aplenty. I found it especially refreshing that some mothers are now willing to write openly about their own lives, warts and all, with honesty and without fear of judgement. They are tipping the balance from baby- centric parenting tomes to narratives that focus on the identity of the mother.

The blood, the blood! It was a miracle I didn’t pass out from the sight of this little creature they said they’d pulled out of me

‘Did I really make this wailing ball of flesh?’ Begins Kiran Manral’s Karmic Kids, busting the myth that a mom’s first look at her baby must be a magical moment. ‘So when they placed him on my stomach, I recoiled. The blood, the blood! It was a miracle I didn’t pass out from the sight of this little creature they said they’d pulled out of me.’”

Read the entire article here

Column 2 Storm in a C-Cup in the DNA today. Of Crossing 40 inappropriately.


Bridget Jones, the character, is perhaps the Peter Pan of my generation of women. Back in the 90s, when she was young and so was I, we were both on a mission of self discovery and validation, a journey that she is still growing through. I, on the other hand, have settled, like dratted tea leaves, into blissful domesticity.

“So,” I asked a friend, “What did you think of this new Bridget Jones movie?”

“Making out in a tent must be darned uncomfortable. And what if it rains, I wonder if the ground gets slushy!”

She’s a practical one, this friend. She could go out to a romantic candlelight dinner and she’ll wonder if the restaurant has fire extinguishers handy.

At 43, Bridget Jones was getting more action that some absolutely fabulous 20 somethings I know. And them with body parts still unjiggly, and yet to begin the pitched battle with gravity that Bridget Jones and us 40 somethings deal with on a daily basis. (Of course, I deal with it by studiously ignoring it, thanks to sloth.) But then, this is a movie. Real life is another beast.

“She’s getting pregnant in the movie and here I am wondering if I’m hot flashing!”

“She’s obviously never heard of the morning after pill.” And so it went on.

If anything, we 40 somethings are rather matter of fact about sex, if we want it we take it by the horns. Not for us the furtive gropings of the early youth, unless we are hit by paroxysms of passion that would make us overlook minor inconveniences as no appropriate and comfortable surface to take said passion to its natural conclusion. We are more sure about what we want, and are not averse to directing the proceedings if required. We are often done with the reproductive function of our gender, and I speak for myself here, have no desire to go through another pregnancy. We are also closer to menopause, and struggling with unmentionable in public things happening to parts of our bodies which are also unmentionable in public. Some of us have smarmy tweens and teens to deal with. We’ve been there, done that, and are still wearing the t-shirt.

Down the ages it has been believed that once women hit their forties, they would do well to curl up and shrivel on the shelf because their reproductive capabilities were now on the point of downing the shutters and putting up a “Shut for Business” sign. In fact, in the 19th Century, women over forty were even prescribed medication like camphor to reduce ‘unbecoming’ sexual urges. The idea that reproductive ability should run parallel to sexual pleasure for women needs to be dumped, and quickly at that. If a woman crossing forty has a loss of libido, and is comfortable with it, that is completely acceptable as another who reports no such loss, but is now finally comfortable with her own desire for sexual pleasure and reaches out for it with both hands, and perhaps other accessories.

Read the rest here

At The Feminist Conf organised by SheThePeople.tv and UN Women

The good folk at SheThePeople.tv, Shaili Chopra, Meghna Pant and Amrita Tripathi, and the very fabulous Nishtha Satyam of UN Women put together a powerpacked evening of panels for the very first The Feminist Conf. held at NCPA on Oct 17th. I was honoured to be part of a panel on Feminism at Home, with Dolly Thakore and Aditi Mittal.

Here are some pics and a report about it.

Messages At Home Perpetuate Gender Stereotypes: Feminist Conference

Shethepeople.tv hosted India’s first feminist conference, empowered by UN Women India, in Mumbai yesterday evening. Discussions revolved around whether Feminism is now considered the ‘F’ word, whether it is important to include men in the discussion, and whether feminism can often start from the home.

Veteran actress Dolly Thakore, comedian Aditi Mittal, author Kiran Manral and founder of SheThePeople.Tv, Shaili Chopra, discussed the ways in which men and women can be given different messages starting from their childhood. The messages children are given can sometimes perpetuate gender stereotypes, the panelists agreed.

Aditi Mittal said that while she was growing up, she wanted to get married and have children. She said she didn’t know any better. It was only a few years ago that she realised that there is a ‘whole other world out there’.

Dolly Thakore recounted her fascinating and uncharacteristic journey. She comes from a family in which women held power, and the men were more subdued. She says she learnt to be independent because of her hard-working grandmother and mother. She also mentioned how campaigning for the feminist cause was different when she was growing up. She said that bra burning was in fact the first thing she heard of when it came to feminism. Even though many wrongly associate feminism with those kinds of symbolic acts in today’s world, at that time the needs of the movement were different, and those acts were important, she said. Indeed, the place women are at today is because of the women who fought for our rights years ago.

Thakore should know, she has interacted with legendary feminists like Gloria Steinem and Erica Jong.

Kiran Manral spoke about her experiences with her pre-teen son. She said that the idea of understanding what consent is should start from a young age.  She has taught him that everyone has full rights to their own body. If he doesn’t want to hug or kiss someone, he doesn’t have to. ‘My body is my space,’ and ‘no means no,’ she tells him.

Read the original here

On Chetan Bhagat’s “One Indian Girl” by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose

Honoured to be mentioned as one of “the modern writers to consider who are questioning, portraying, and contributing a significant amount to the conversation about who is a strong woman and what can be construed as woman power are,” by noted literary consultant Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, in her essay on One Indian Girl here.

She says, and I quote:

“In fact much of the progressive interpretations of what constitutes a strong woman (whom some may interpret as a feminist) is being explored in fiction published nowadays — available in English and in translation. Most of these stories depict an ordinary woman negotiating her daily space thus defining herself and by extension living her feminism whether they chose to acknowledge it or not.

Some of the modern writers to consider who are questioning, portraying, and contributing a significant amount to the conversation about who is a strong woman kiran-manraland what can be construed as woman power are:  Chitra Bannerjee Divakurni, Sremoyee Piu Kundu, Kiran Manral, Ratna Vira, Kota Neelima, Sowmya Rajendran, Sakshama Puri Dhariwal, Trisha Das, Vibha Batra and Ratika Kapur write in English. In translation there are a many who are now being made available such as Malika Amar Shaikh, Ambai, Lalithambika Antharajanam, K. R. Meera, Bama, Salma and Nabaneeta Dev Sen. This is a list that can easily be added to and it will be self-evident how far women writers have evolved to depict the ordinary…..Ironically many of these women writers would fall into the same category of fiction as Chetan Bhagat of being commercial fiction writers and yet, there is a chasm of difference in how they view and portray women.”


A lovely review of The Face At The Window on Kaffeinated Konversations

Book Reviews


The Face At the Window *Book Review*

When you live your life with whatever you had and then suddenly you are confronted with dealing with the past that you never understood… what would the future hold? This beautiful book by Kiran Manral strings all the 3 phases of life – Past, Present and Future into a story that weaves an emotional web around the reader and also gives frights from time to time.

This book could be put in one quote by Haruki Murakami:

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”

Kiran has done a fantastic job of blending ‘pahadi’ (mountain) ghost stories that she heard from time to time into a story that grips the heart strings for two different reasons . The emotional core gives the story a push while the paranormal aspect keeps it hauntingly going.

Read the entire review here.

You could order your copy here.

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