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Interview with Rohini Paranjpe Sathe – Author of being good enough.

Rohini Paranjpe Sathe is an author of the book Being Good Enough published by Locksleyhall Publishing. It’s a journey of Jyoti who lives in Mumbai, hiding from her past who inexorably catches up with her. Why is she hiding? From whom she is hiding? Witness the journey of Jyoti whose life has not been less than an adventure.


Why this genre? If you have to write in some other genre what that would be?

I write mostly about ordinary, everyday people because I am drawn to them. Their emotional personalities, their interactions with each other, the societal conditions they are bound by, the challenges they face, overcoming or succumbing to them, it’s all extremely fascinating. There is enough drama in everyday human lives, enough material to explore and write about, I doubt I would move to writing about anything else.

Your favorite part from the book?

There are quite a few, really, but if I were to pick one I’d go with Jyoti remembering and reflecting in the Lodi Gardens. Watching the sun set there, feeling peaceful, as if her life were finally sorted and that her struggles had borne decent fruit.

Tell us about the idea behind the book?

It’s hard being a woman, even today. In this 21st century modern world, women are still oppressed and violated, sometimes blatantly and brazenly and sometimes in covert, insidious ways. There are so many of us who are still denied the right and/or the power to make our own choices, whether it is about the work we want to train for and do, the person we want to be with, the way we want to live, the socio-political conventions that we may want to step away from, new ones that we may want to embrace etc. And for many of us who nevertheless follow our own will and live our own lives simply as we see right for ourselves, there are costs that we are called to pay, sometimes brutal costs. They are the costs of patriarchy.
That continues to disturb me. And it is that which forms the central theme of this book.

How much time it took in the process of writing?

It took a little less than a year to finish the first draft, that too because I didn’t write continuously. I would wait for the story to develop on its own and then write it. A while after that first draft, I revisited it, and rewrote parts.

What did the process of writing this book teach you?

That being able to feel another’s emotions, joy and pain, fear and hope, love and loss, is a human privilege, one that comes from our power of empathy. We should cherish it, nurture it, celebrate it.

What inspired you to write this book?

It was very spontaneous, the way in which the story came to me, its lead personalities, the twists and turns, the movements through time. So I can’t pinpoint an exact source of inspiration as such, but I could say that the story is my response as a creative writer to the times we live in, the issues we face as a society, and the power of ordinary individuals to struggle and triumph fired by their own undying resilience.

5 books one must read in lifetime

Why just 5? There are so many!
The last book I just finished reading is extremely powerful, superbly insightful, it should be prescribed reading for everyone, I believe. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. 

A book that had an impact on you, which helped you in writing this one?

Again, I can’t pick one. Everything I’ve read over the years must have impacted me, both in the questions that have been asked and the structure of the art of story-telling. But while writing Being Good Enough, I stopped reading everything else. I did not want my voice to be influenced by another’s.

Tell us about your publishing journey in 5 words.

Hard, until I met Suhail (Mathur).

 A quote, para from the book that inspires you?

 Not inspiring exactly, but I feel it’s very true and, unfortunately, relevant. Jyoti, the protagonist’s words: “But then the world as I’ve seen it is extremely cruel. No, infinitely cruel. Your own people have a capacity for that cruelty, an appetite for it, that is what I’ve learned.”

Tell us about your future plans? Planning a new book?

Yes, I’m writing it actually. It’s a novel and it revolves around men and women belonging mostly to the field of Indian music, gravitating towards each other and then pulling apart, about the ties of family, their fragility and strength, and again the challenges that women particularly face.

What is literary success for you?

If a reader connects with what I have written, I have succeeded. My stories come from my churning of ideas, emotions, experiences, all fuelled further by my imagination, and they may not exactly reflect the world that the reader is personally familiar with. No matter, as long as the reader accepts that the world I am writing about is also real, that its issues are valid, and that the questions I have raised are worth reflecting over. Then my job as a writer is done.

 A message for all the readers.

Don’t ever stop reading. That book in your hands connects you intimately with the writer, with the worlds and people she has brought to you, all seen through her lens, and with her heart and soul poured into it. Savour her words, hear her thoughts, understand them, reflect over them and if you accept them, allow them to seep into yours.

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