Frontlist | Shobhaa De opens up about her book ‘Srilaaji’
Unabashedly vocal and unapologetically breezy; author Shobhaa De often goes to great lengths to resonate with her loyalists. And, well, she almost always gets it right. Her latest release, Srilaaji is no different. The book mirrors the vibe of the millennial Indian woman – flawed and proud! De navigates a dicey path with this offering, as the protagonist owns her life in its entirety – sexuality included.
Speaking about penning Srilaaji, De says, “Srilaaji has ‘lived’ with me for a while…but it was in the process of writing about her that details began to emerge- like pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Srilaaji came into my life like a tornado, and swept me away. I refused to catch my breath or pause to ‘over-think’ her uniqueness. I just kept writing and writing till the story was done and Srilaaji was pleased! She is unique and unfettered — a woman of today, who owns every aspect of her life — including her sexuality.”
While the book has been garnering rave reviews, De says, while reading the book, “Take Srilaaji to your heart! You will love her! Srilaaji is so much her own woman, she makes you smile…and cry! If only more of us had Srilaaji’s indomitable spirit!”
Lockdown kept De busy. When the whole world was hunkered down and confined to four walls, she came out with a series of books — set in the backdrop of the coronavirus-induced lockdown — giving people something different to binge on other than web series and virtual concerts. Called Lockdown Liaisons, the book contains 24 short stories (in the months of June-July De digitally released four short stories each week). Each story has a different theme and explores different emotions that resonate with the COVID-19 times.
De has a strong social media presence. Known not to mince words when it comes to expressing her opinions, De says, “We all need a voice — particularly during the pandemic. The feelings of isolation were so overwhelming, initially. It was important to be able to reach out to others feeling equally desolate and start conversations. An exaggerated sense of claustrophobia had gripped the world. Twitter became a vital bridge that kept so many of us going.” Then in such a scenario, what about the trolls? Do they affect her? “Trolls? What trolls? They exist. I exist. It’s all cool,” De laughingly adds.
Giving parting advice to young writers De says, “Read voraciously and write hungrily everyday of your life.”