The one who kept her readers hooked- Rashmi Kumar

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The ardent followers of Stylewhack would have already read our review on the book ‘Hooked, Lined and Single’. Many of you, we are sure, would have also got yourself a copy of this book which tells the tale of a girl in search of Mr. Right. Most girls could easily associate with Alafia Singh, the protagonist, because somewhere, they found a part of their life in the book too.

For all those who fell in love with the book, we have a surprise for you! In an interview with the author, Rashmi Kumar, we got to know how she came up with this book, her inspiration and her message to the millions of women out there. Read ahead to know what she had to say!

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What inspired you to write your second book ‘Hooked, Lined & Single’?

Hooked, Lined & Single draws its inspiration from some of my personal experiences and some from what I have observed within our society. When you get at a certain age, the pressure of marriage increases–societally, physically, mentally and may I say, even spiritually at times. For me, the pressure was more internal. It was external to some extent–not because people around me forced me to get married, but because you live in a society where there is not a single dull moment. And your sense of loneliness heightens during festivals, weddings and other occasions. And honestly, I was no aberration to this.

When I set out to find myself a man to marry I came across such funny and sad incidents that they had to be shared! Of course, many anecdotes of Alafia meeting various prospective grooms have been spiced up but HLS really is a story of many Indian women and especially those who went through the pain staking process of finding Mr Right–which again, is a myth, of course!

How did you come up with the title?

It’s a pun on hook, line and sinker which of course you know means totally, completely and based on the idea of a fish so hungry it swallows the hook (the part that catches the fish), the line (the string) and the sinker (a weight attached to the line to keep it under water). The idea is that the novel’s protagonist Alafia Singh, hooks (men in this case), lines (men get caught) but in spite of all this, she is still single!

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

It would be unfair if I take only one name. Like everyone else, I also go through moments of crash and stumble. However, there are some people you can rely on blindly. You know that they are always there no matter how miserable or happy you feel. These few friends deserve a special mention: G S Vivek, Mishti Verma Thapar, Paula Reich and Mohit Roy Sharma.

‘Stilettos in the newsroom’ was your first published book and now ‘Hooked, Lined & Single’, both focus on independent and strong women? How should one rise from dependence in day to day life?

Honestly, this question is really valid to my current situation which is a complete antithesis of the kind of life I used to lead. I led such an independent and free life that at times it translated into snootiness and a false sense of self. I thought I could buy anything anytime, do as I wanted, and go where ever it pleased me! And to a large extent I was doing that. But life and time are a great leveler. After moving to Canada in 2012 I had to unlearn a lot many things–doing your own work with your hands, being totally dependent on my husband, having to be at home 24/7 looking after my son, or even adapting to the new culture and people!

But that should never be the way of life especially, if you have the desire, talent and intelligence to reshape your dreams all over again. Taking small steps towards empowering yourself and gaining independence starts from the scratch. It begins by first recognizing your need for independence and then taking corrective steps that suit your situation the most.

Many women face problems when they try to stand strong. What will be your take away note to make them stand firm on their stand?

It is most unfortunate that our society is still ill-equipped to handle strong women with a mind of their own. I personally feel, people, especially men feel threatened by women who have strong opinions and desires. But, it needs a strong man to handle a strong woman, you see, J But, if you truly believe in who you’re or what you’re standing for, you don’t need anybody. Not a man, not a society or even your parents who might sometimes misjudge you.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Like I said, I didn’t have it easy after moving here. Moving across continents to settle down is easy when you have a job waiting for you (professionally), when you move out as a student or when you have never really had a career or too many dreams to forego. In my case, I Was well established when I left India and the idea of staying at home without a career and only a husband to depend on was stifling me mentally. I actually went through a phase where I thought I was going completely crazy! So you see there really was no motivation. As a new immigrant in Canada, life has been pretty isolated and tough.

But, I think, by nature I am a fighter. I didn’t give up. Just when I got my work visa and looked forward to working again, I discovered that I was pregnant. I decided then, that was it. I HAD to fight out this feeling of isolation, loneliness, home sickness and loss of identity. That’s when I decided to complete my pending second book. I used to write so much when I was pregnant… Even after acute bouts of morning sickness. Because. I told myself that if I don’t gather myself now, I will be lost forever.

Readers would really love to read about story of a girl’s life after marriage, who was strong & independent before getting into one. Any plans for such story line?

Yes. Why not? Thanks for the idea. 🙂

You yourself had very independent and strong life before marriage? How did things change after marriage? Any special experiences to share?

I love this question. J It’s true that I led a very free-spirited life before getting married. And honestly, you don’t want to know about many things I did… At least, not publicly. J But yes, things change a lot after one gets married. Everything changes. But, then if you’re lucky enough to find someone who is willing to love you for who you are, you have hit the jackpot! And my advice to women who have a man like that in their life: Love and respect your man so so much because you have no freakin’ idea what it means to get a man with whom you have to constantly struggle to be yourself.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

My strongest and the only message from my heart is: If you want something real bad, it’s easy to chase it, pursue it and run after it! That’s where we go wrong. There is a reason why sometimes something doesn’t work out for you just when you want it so bad. That moment it is important we leave things to destiny or God. Because when we try to change the course of our life to get what we b want, it may not be the best thing for us or may not be the best thing for us at that time. For instance, in HLS Alafia so desperately wanted to get married but as life would have it, she kept bumping into all the wrong men, all the time. But, the moment she decided to let go, she found someone (Ethan) who truly cared for her but she still decided to let it go because she finally realized that it’s important she left the decision to life and God. If Ethan was truly meant for her, he would be hers any way. Even if she decided to leave the chemistry between them in a limbo.

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Buy her books here

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