Komal Shahani is a banker and writer, who published her first book, ‘Different Shades of Love’ in 2018. She wrote this book for over two years, and her process of writing is truly one of a kind. Unlike some authors who require a peaceful environment to write; Komal Shahani wrote most of her book in a cab on the way to work. She doesn’t need a calm environment, as writing itself is the calm to all the chaos around her.
Through this fascinating interview with Storiyaan, Komal Shahani elaborates about her purpose behind writing her book, her views on romance and realism and much more. She also speaks about an exciting future project she has in store for her readers.
Questions and answers
What was the driving force behind you wanting to write a book?
I think it was the movie “Two States” which inspired me to write. The conviction with which the protagonist says that he wants to write a book motivated me to write my own. Before that, I used to write poems and blogs, but this movie made me believe that it’s okay to take a path less travelled.
Do we find any autobiographical undertones in your book? Which are the sections where it is most prominent?
It’s not my autobiography; however, people often ask this question since it’s my first book. It’s also because the protagonist, Megha, is shy and an introvert, much like me. I believe that since Megha is a product of my imagination, a certain amount of resemblance to me is undoubtedly present.
Most romances are sombre and have an elevated tone. How did you manage to invoke humour as a component in your narrative while also incorporating realistic and sensitive elements?
Anything that is presented humorously is guaranteed to leave an impact, like satire. I think humour and sarcasm come naturally to me.; so, my style of writing has humourous and sarcastic tones in it. Regarding being realistic, one has to keep in mind that a book may be fiction, but characters should be real; otherwise, people won’t connect with it.
How did you merge the two genres of romance and realism into a lucid narrative?
I wrote what came naturally to me, because the most important thing at that time was to write and complete my novel. I wanted to write something simple, realistic and funny. I like to read simple things too, so it was clear that whatever I wrote had to be simple and relatable. The purpose of your writing should be clear to you and also to your readers, that’s something I follow closely.
Your book deals with the topic of toxic masculinity that prevails in society and is often fanned by certain societal customs. What in your view can rectify it?
To fight this menace, society’s mentality needs to change. People need to teach their young boys to respect girls, treat them as equals, express their emotions, and much more. Also, young girls should be educated about their rights and should be taught to stand up for themselves. The younger generation needs to know that our roles in society do not depend on our gender.
How did writing develop into a form of meditation for you? How did it help you grow as a person?
Writing is like meditation for me because it brings me peace in this world of utter chaos and negativity. I cherish every part of my writing experience, right from weaving a story to putting it on paper, everything excites me. Apart from making me happy, writing helps me to clear my thoughts and calms me down.
Tell us a bit about your blogs, and what is the purpose behind them?
I like to read a lot, and I always have an opinion on everything so, I started writing blogs during my college days because I thought it to be an excellent platform to share my views about things. There was no agenda; I just wrote whatever I felt like writing, for example- double standards in Indian society, rape culture, confused millennials, and much more.
Could you provide us with a sneak-peak into any new project you are working on?
I am working towards some short stories with the aim of publishing a short stories book soon. I have never tried my hands at them, so it’s taking more time than expected. I have written two stories as of now, and am working on the rest; I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.
You have said that you believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. What is your take on yellow journalism and the current Indian political scenario regarding the Farm Reforms of 2020?
I believe media needs to report news in an unbiased manner, without influencing anyone, but in the current scenario, it seems to be doing the opposite. Regarding the Farm Reforms, in simple terms, the government wants to bring private players into the market so that farmers can directly sell their produce to them. However, there needs to be a balance to ensure that private players do not harm the farmers, and that these reforms are beneficial to them.