The Reading Corner reviews Switcheroo

Thanks Riti Prasad, for the kind words.

When exactly does the body age? When is the tipping point? The day that you notice your body has changed beyond recognition?
For Mrs Bhalla, a woman who is body-proud and maintains her body with the utmost respect, it comes as a shock when she realises that her body has been exchanged with someone else’s. As she sits across her therapist and explains her problem to her, perhaps also trying to understand what happened to her all of a sudden, her pain and fear is evident. She feels she has the lost the very essence of herself the day some one took away her body that she had maintained with a great deal of care.
The story gripped me right at the word go and at the same time reminded me of my fears of change and fear of what lies in store.
Kiran also perhaps modernises the age old concept of our body being just a vehicle for our immortal soul and irrespective Mrs Bhalla the protagonist represents what each mortal human feels- a feeling of attachment to the temporary and outwardly. So much so that her concept of self is determined by how her body looks like. She defines herself with what her husband feels for her body rather than her and in private even feels disgust for herself when her body changes.
And until the end perhaps her fears get reflected so much in the reader that  we hear  a sigh of relief towards the end from the reader.
Read the original here

The Face at the Window makes it to books of 2016 lists….

…and I’m terribly chuffed.

From the IANS best books round up for 2016.

“Meanwhile, for avid readers, there were books galore for a wide expanse of tastes and interests.

Among those that deserve mention would, in fiction, include Kiran Manral’s “The Face at the Window” giving the “Himalayan Gothic” genre a new life beyond the Raj’s ghosts…”

Read the article here

From The Ladies’ Finger list “50 of your Favourite Books of 2016 by Women Authors”

23. The Face at the Window by Kiran Manral


A cottage in the Himalayas and a dark secret set the tone for this horror story. A Face in the Window is about Mrs. McNally, a retired schoolteacher who lives alone in a remote hill station. Haunted by her past, she struggles between revealing the truth to her daughter and granddaughter and leaving things as they are. A dangerous presence lurking in the house adds to the eeriness. A novel about every kind of fear from the supernatural to that of loneliness, this comes highly recommended by several of our readers, with @rashmikmenon gushing that it is “an absolutely soul-satisfying read”.


Read the original here


Fellow author Nishant Kaushik’s list of five of his best reads for 2016 on the Juggernaut Books Blog.


The Face at the Window
Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral provides a vivid commentary of life in a quaint Indian hill station alongside deftly describing an ageing woman’s agony as she deals with the demons of her past.”

Read the original here.

Thank you Vikas Datta, Divya Vijayakumar and Nishant Kaushik, for the honour.


For Dangal: The Girls in a Boy’s Arena

“There’s a scene in Dangal that defined the movie for me, a rather innocuous scene when one thinks back to it in retrospect. After all, there were scenes which had one sobbing tears, blowing one’s nose into reams of tissue, other scenes that had one hooting, clapping and cheering, and a scene that had the entire theatre rise to their feet with no awkward hesitation while the national anthem played in the movie.  But the scene that stayed with me long after I’d shuffled out of the theatre, nose still red from the honking, was the one where Geeta Phogat, away from her father’s control for the first time ever, delightedly touches her hair, now grown to beyond her ears from the short ‘boy’ cut she’d been forced to adopt.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Storm in a C-Cup today: For Pleasure or Procreation

“There comes a time in every woman’s life when she must confess to the offspring that he or she was not the result of immaculate conception. In my case the reverse is true. The bubble burst for the spawn a couple of years ago. I spotted an article on the good doctor who had helped me conceive. (The brat came along a good eight years after we were married, thanks to my ovaries being awash with PCOD, and I still maintain that he is the best anti-ageing treatment ever.)

“Look, here’s the doctor who helped us to make you!” He morphed instantly into a porcupine with quills upright. “Mamma,” he stated, his voice all indignant quiver. “I am not natural reproduction?”

I spent the next hour explaining mamma egg and pappa sperm being introduced to each other outside the body and then being reintroduced into the womb and how he grew inside my body from two fused cells into a strong gurgling baby. He furrowed his brow. “Don’t people do sex to have babies? Or you can do sex even if you don’t make babies?”

It was an important question – The differentiation between sex for pleasure and sex for procreation.”

Read the rest of the column here.

Bangalore Literature Festival 5.0

A lovely report, and yes, we were listening intently to the question asking gentleman at this point I think trying to figure out his question.


Right at the moment of start I was stuck by the usual fear:  “Will I get a place for parking? Even if I get it how far will it be from the venue?”.  Added to this fear was the feeling of loss as we missed a couple of interesting sessions caused due to poor judgement of Saturday Bangalore traffic. So, it was a pleasant surprise when the hotel staff offered valet parking even though neither was I going to stay in their hotel, nor was I going to eat anything dished out by their chefs.

But for some pressing personal engagements,  I would have liked to attend all the sessions of the Bangalore Literature festival held at Hotel Royal Orchid on 17 and 18 December. Then of course the events took place simultaneously at three venues. If you sat through one, you missed two others. Or, you had the option…

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The weekend: Festivelle 2016 and Bangalore Literature Festival

Its been a peripatetic weekend. Spent Saturday at the wonderful, warm, oxytocin buzzed Festivelle. And Sunday at the Royal Orchid in Bengaluru where I had three sessions with other fab writer friends. Here are some pics from the weekend.

At Festivelle.

With Sonali Gupta, and moderating a discussion on Social media and creating your personal brand on it with Gul Panag, entrepreneur, pilot, activist and Malini Agarwal, founder of Miss Malini.

women, sisterhood, orgasms, motherhood, taking charge of finances, getting back to work and more.

At Bangalore Literature Festival

Spoke on three panels, Badass women with Ruth DSuza, Andaleeb Wajib, Rachna Singh and Sajita Nair, Love me Tinder with Sally Breen and The Art of the Heart with Kanchana Banerjee, Nandita Bose and Sabah Currim moderated by Vasudev Murty. Great fun was had at all. Loved the vibe and the energy of the festival, the enthusiasm of the audience and most importantly, the crowd at the bookstore run by Laxmi and Subodh of Atta Galata.  Thanks Shinie Antony for inviting me. It was the most wonderful day.

And finally, a book signing at the Bengaluru airport Relay store for my book The Face at the Window. I need a week to recover from this weekend.





Storm in a C-Cup this week: Why women need equality of orgasms

“I was in a chatty roomful of women when I brought up the ‘O’ word. You could have heard a pin drop, clatter onto the floor and counted the echoes bouncing off the walls. You would have thought I was advocating something verboten by both society and law, but all I said was that I thought women needed to speak up and loud about their right to an orgasm. Every single time.

When the women quite recovered their breath, one piped up nervously, “But how to tell my husband?” Another came up to me later, took me aside and hissed into my ear like a dealer offering contraband, “I’ve never had an orgasm. And my husband doesn’t think I need to have orgasms.” I almost cried hot angry tears on her behalf.

Along with the gender gap in pay and opportunities, I would like to bring to the kind notice of all concerned another gender gap that we would do well to address urgently. The gender gap in orgasms.”

Read the rest of the column in the DNA here.

Storm in a C-Cup: Why we all could do with some self love

My column for DNA this week:

“In a more innocent age, we had a White Rabbit with a waistcoat and a pocket watch who went down a rabbit hole, compelling a young Alice to tumble down after him and enter a parallel universe of wonder and strange things like Mad Hatters, Grinning Cheshire Cats and the first kick-ass woman antagonist I ever met, the Red Queen.

But, in today’s Wonderland, a rabbit is not just a fluffy creature who can run over your home with infinite offspring if you have the bad judgement to host them in a pair. In fact, it is more likely to be a device with the power to make the earth move in under two minutes. For women who swear by it, it does away with the awkwardness, inconvenience and all the dim lights and soft music run-up to sex.

Before battery powered gizmos invaded our underwear drawers, women (and men) have down the aeons, been taking matters into their own hands, literally speaking. Accessories in this pursuit have ranged from fertile imagination, to a stack of forbidden magazines, to what we coyly called ‘blue films’, to the current trend of online sites which give you permutations and combinations that could overtake even the most fertile of imaginations.”

Read the rest here

Storm in a C-Cup: What lies beneath

My column in the DNA last week:

“The other day, I found myself in the warren of tightly packed stores adjoining a suburban railway station. In this hot-house of hedonistic shopping, one was assured of getting everything from festive wear to utensils to household linen and err….In the tiny shop window of an otherwise staid shop, on proud display was what they call a ‘bra-panty’ set in brilliant red satin and lace, with the strategic areas where the nipples and the crotch area would be, cut out in heart shapes.

I sprang quickly to block my mother’s eyes from this, but she was already snorting derisively. “They’ve cut out the main area that needs to be covered. What is the point?” I suspected of course, that she did get the point of it but she would not let on. After all, I still have to be disabused of the notion that I was the result of immaculate conception. It set me thinking, that shiny set, treading the indelicate balance between the coyness of a cover-up and the brazenness of a deliberate reveal.”

Read the entire article here