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‘Lost when not writing a book’

By October 9, 2018No Comments

Source : The Pioneer

Marked by the Twinkle Khanna brand of wit and uninhibitedness, Pyjamas Are Forgiving is both hilarious and thought-provoking, writes UMANG AGGARWAL

Twinkle Khanna has done it again — with Pyjamas Are Forgiving, she has given her followers a fresh taste of her sharp writing style, which is coupled with her humorously self-critical approach to life. This time, it comes along with dollops of ghee as the novel is set in an ayurvedic ashram where Anshu, the protagonist, finds the cure to her physical ailments as well as the emotional ones when she bumps into her ex-husband, who comes there with his second wife. In a chat with us, the author talks about her writing schedule, her most dedicated readers, and the genre of her next book, which she is already in the process of writing.

The mother and the sister in your book… to what extent is your description in the book close to your own mother and sister?

I don’t think the mother is anything like mine at all. Although like Anshu, I too have very strong bonds with my sibling and we talk to each other every day.

Preparing for a role that you play onscreen and preparing for a book you write — how different have the two processes been for you?

Haha! I don’t think I have ever prepared for a role onscreen. I don’t think I was part of movies that ever demanded more than dancing around trees with a big fat bow on my head and I wasn’t even particularly good at that. Preparing for a book is a long-drawn process. I usually start writing something completely different altogether, and half way through, I drop it and begin again. Different books need different sorts of preparation. My last one, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, was based on characters from small towns and villages and for that I had to do a lot of research. I went to Madhya Pradesh to assimilate bits of the culture, spend two weeks in Kerala, watched a lot of documentaries and had to interview many people. With Pyjamas Are Forgiving, I had already been to a stringent ayurvedic retreat and had undergone Panchkarma, so I was familiar with the basic premise, but I did have to read multiple books about Ayurveda and do a lot of research on all sorts of sleep disorders.

You have said elsewhere that you write every day and start writing as early as 7 am. Does this kind of discipline come naturally to you or is it something you picked up from your husband?

I like to write early in the morning just after my children leave for school. I have always been an early riser and the rare occasions — usually only because of jet lag — when I get up later than 8.30 am, I barely get any work done; I feel like I have wasted my day. I think it’s the morning silence both within the house and the phone just laying there as a corpse that helps me focus a lot more.

How difficult is it to write and deal with the interpretations of readers when both you and your husband are public figures?

I find fiction easier in that context as I have many layers to hide behind. With the column (in an English daily), I have a larger task at hand with regards to readers’ expectations.

Has your love for reading and writing rubbed off on your kids and husband?

My husband doesn’t read aside from my columns and that is also because he wants to see if I am not writing my way into a hurricane. My son does have a flair for writing; he can string a few decent sentences. But my daughter is an absolute bookworm like me.

The title of your book is rather unique. How did you come up with the metaphor that connects pyjamas with forgiveness?

I was struggling to zip up my jeans after a few weeks of festive indulgence during Diwali. Standing in front of my closet, the entire line popped into my head: “Pyjamas are forgiving, but it’s jeans that know how to hold a grudge!” And I went waddling off to quickly jot it down.

Do you already have a topic in mind for your next book?

A lot of people feel happy when they finish a book, but I feel lost. So, I am already toying with the idea of an Indian dystopian novel.

What kind of research went into writing this one?

I had already spent weeks at a retreat with similar stringent rituals, but I did have to spend large amounts of time researching Ayurveda doshas and other details about that world extensively.

Within the family, who is your most dedicated reader?

I think my most dedicated reader is Lord Ganesha! Each time I have a book out, I give it to my mother to read and when I seek her feedback, she says she has placed it in front of her Ganpati. I have a feeling that she waits for His review before deciding whether it’s worth reading after all.

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