Source : The Hindu
Sadiqa Peerbhoy’s latest novel is a family saga set during the Mumbai riots of 1992
When Bengaluru-based author Sadiqa Peerbhoy was in class three, she decided to become a writer. ” I grew up in a family where everyone loved to read. I chanced upon a book, How Green Is My Valley, when I was in class three. Though it was not a book meant for kids, I loved it and read it about eight times, ” she chuckles.
Sadiqa grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton novels and started her career in advertising, then shifted her focus to writing columns, short stories and novels. “I think Enid Blyton was a huge influence on people my age. I feel she used to write a novel a day. I found her books very relatable.”
Her latest novel, House of Discord (Readomania, 298 pages) chronicles a dysfunctional family and is set in the backdrop of the Bombay riots of 1992-93.
Sadiqa says, “My earlier books were humorous. I decided to make a conscious effort to write a serious book. The novel deals with a dysfunctional family and the impact the riots have on the family.”
She adds, “I am not making any political statement with the novel. It is a work of fiction set in a period that changed Mumbai forever. I feel that the riots and the subsequent bomb blasts in the early 90s changed the ethos of Mumbai. I love Mumbai and feel that the Mumbai I grew up in was very different and much more cosmopolitan.”
Sadiqa points out, “It is not a book about the riots. The story is inspired by a family I knew, where the mother and the elder son had a running tiff. The main reason for this tiff was the fact that the mother was a very strong woman, while the father was in his own world, and concerned more about his books and newspapers. Thus, the girls have a strong role model and boys in the family did not. This is the basic strand I have expanded on in the novel. The riots happened in the backdrop and does influence the story and the manner in which the characters behave.”
Humour, Sadiqa maintains, is her forte. So, was writing a dark novel like House of Discord a tough ask? “I write a humour column and did not face any issues when I was writing Marry Go Round, my earlier novel that was set in Hyderabad. This book has more layers and a larger cast of characters. It took me about eight months to finish it.”
Sadiqa was so invested in the characters she created that she could not bear something terrible happening to them. “I rewrote a chapter to make sure that something terrible does not befall one of the principal characters in this novel.”
In Sadiqa’s novels, the city it is set in ends up playing a very important role. She contends, “I feel deeply for the cities I stay in and feel that it is important for the stories to be set in a time and space that makes it relatable. For instance, if I shift the family in this novel to Bengaluru, the local flavour of Mumbai would go missing. I feel that placing my story in cities adds more depth.”