Featured in DNA

 

Searching for love in crisis

Saturday, 2 May 2015 – 6:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna | From the print edition
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Vani’s debut novel tracks the story of an Indian IT professional during recession and his adventures to find his ‘perfect partner’

When Vani decided to quit her journalismjob and become a full-time writer, little she knew that what she had learnt while writing for newspaper was much different for writing a book. In her own words she had to ‘unlearn many thing’ but the outcome has been quite satisfying. Her debut novel The Recession Groom is getting positive response from her readers. Here are excerpts from an interview

How has been the journey from a journalist to an author?
Journalism nurtured my creativity and gave me a platform to express my ideas. After all, journalists thrive on uncertainty, not knowing one day from the other and yet, they always manage to stay ahead of their readers. I drew heavily on my journalistic skills and instincts when I started writing my first fiction novel, The Recession Groom. However, I soon realised that writing ‘fiction’ was a different ball game altogether. By the time I finished writing the final draft of my book, my imagination had completely taken over. In a way, I’m glad I made that effort.

Did it help that you came from media?
I was more confident about my writing, since had spent a few years in journalism. My dictionary was also made up of words that common people used and understood. The only change being, in a newspaper organisation, I worked with a team of editors who were always there to help and guide me (perhaps, correct my flaws, too). Contrary to that, when I started working on my novel, I was my own guide and it was my decision what to include in the story. No wonder, I spent many years working on it, writing multiple drafts and carrying out several revisions just to ensure this was the best I could do.

How did the idea of your book came up?
I left the comfort of a full time job and went to London in the year 2008 to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University. It was here that I witnessed first-hand how global recession affected the Western economies. When I read that top multinationals were declaring bankruptcies and handing pink slips to their employees, I thought about how these macro changes would affect the little world of an average middle class Indian and his or her chances of finding happiness, of living a wonderful life and finding a perfect partner. My situation and circumstances prompted me to write an international story and give it a uniquely Indian flavour, with its underlying theme of ‘arranged marriages’, a concept which I knew had long piqued the curiosity of readers.

Are there any similarities between the characters of the book and people you know?
Many authors borrow heavily from personal incidents and real life characters. I do, too. But it is imperative to be creative, otherwise one might feel stuck after one or two novels. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and use my imagination to the hilt. To get into the skin of the characters, I did a lot of internet research, aside the help from friends and family members who were in the IT industry. For the rest, we all have nosy Aunts, bossy sisters, and doting grandparents in our families who always believe that ‘our life is their business’.

Was it written keeping NRIs in mind?
The Recession Groom is an international story with a strong Indian flavour and an important foreign female character. In that sense, it is of great potential interest to the NRI population, IT professionals and their families. My novel is a light-hearted take on the Indian family value system and I have made every attempt to ensure that it engages readers from multiple cultural backgrounds and social milieus, quite contrary to popular authors some of whom present a hard-hitting satire on the Indian society thereby commanding a more mature readership.

Do you plan to write more?
I have given a very uncharacteristic ending to my first novel and it was by choice. I am currently writing a sequel to my first book.

Who are your favourite authors? What are you reading these days?
I love so many authors, it is difficult to name a few. Jane Austen, JRR Tolkien, John Green, Ray Bradbury, George RR Martin, Stephen King, John Grisham, J K Rowling, Ernest Hemingway, Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi, Ravi Subramanian, Amitav Ghosh. Alice Walker is also a favourite and I simply love her book, The Colour Purple. I am currently reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

But, today’s youth can’t read so much!
To be honest, that’s what it looks like. Attention span of most people has reduced drastically because of multiple distractions like apps, games, TV and social networking. People are also much busier in their life than before, working ten to twelve hours a day. Where does it leave the time for leisure reading? However, if the book is really good, you may be able to hook the audience early on and then it doesn’t stop; A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin is a case in point.

And that’s why fast-read is becoming popular?
That’s definitely a trend the world over. The book may have an enticing cover and blurb, but if it is not firmly plotted and slick in narration with an interesting cast of characters, a reader is most likely to leave it mid-way and never read that author’s book again. In that way, readers love ‘fast fiction’ just as they love ‘fast food’. However, this does not mean that an author cannot write a beautiful story in as many pages as a modern reader prefers.

What about ebooks? Are they a threat to publishing industry?
I am quite fond of e-books but equally so of paperbacks. However, that’s just me as a reader. The world over, e-books have expanded readership, cutting down on intermediaries and institutional bottlenecks of distribution. It is bound to have created some impact on the bottom lines of traditional publishers because of their pricing and maybe they have been forced to reconsider their business models. But at least in India there is no immediate threat. Not many readers here have e-readers and the culture is still heavily skewed in favour of paperbacks.

What advice would you like to give to first-time writers?
Writing is hard work. Be committed and write daily. Cut down distractions in your life. Write first, revise later. Discipline helps. Patience helps much more.

 

Source : http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/interview-searching-for-love-in-crisis-2082378

 

Featured in The Hindu

 

Chances of finding happiness

NIKHIL VARMA

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Vani’s book is a fictional account of how the global recession affected lives

The recession that stuck the world economy in mid 2008 spurred Journalist tuned author Vani’s debut novel, The Recession Groom. She says, “It is an entertaining story that tracks the fascinating journey of a young Indian IT professional across the period of global credit crisis and his adventures to find his ‘perfect partner’. It took me two and a half years to write the book. I talked to many IT professionals and have made an attempt to incorporate their lifestyle and work issues in the book.”

The book happened because Vani was bored of writing business stories. “I initially began writing a chic lit novel, though it did not work out. In 2008, I left my full time job in India to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London and witnessed how global recession affected the Western economies. As redundancies, bankruptcies and foreclosures became everyday stories, I often thought about how it would affect the life of an average middle class Indian and his chances of finding happiness. “

I decided to write the book from the perspective of a male IT professional in search for a groom. “It was tough to write from the male perspective. My male friends helped me a lot. I hope that I have done justice to all the characters in the book.”

An avid reader, she enjoys reading the works of Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Ravi Subramanian and Amitav Ghosh. She adds, “Alice Walker is also a favourite and I simply love her book, ‘The Colour Purple’. I would love to emulate her style of writing.”

Vani is planning a trilogy.” I have already started to work on the second book in the series and began to lay the groundwork for the third book as well.”

Keywords: The Recession GroomVani

Souce : http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/chances-of-finding-happiness/article7161946.ece

Khaleej Times :

Novel way to get the better of recession

Nithin Belle / 3 May 2015

Vani’s debut romantic novel The Recession Groom talks about an average middle class Indian who was hit when the credit crisis griped the global economy.

 

When Vani, who prefers using only her first name, was in London in 2008, pursuing an MBA degree from Kingston University, the global recession struck the West. Her dreams of landing a plum job at Canary Wharf with a Deloitte or a McKinsey lay shattered. But she was not alone — there were thousands of young Indians in the US, Canada, the UK and other parts of the developed world, who suddenly saw lucrative careers disappear.

A former business journalist, who was also influenced by writers including Jane Austen, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Ravi Subramanian, Amitav Ghosh and Alice Walker, Vani decided to come out with a debut romantic novel. “It took me two-and-a-half years to write the book and I had a tough time training myself to be patient,” Vani told this correspondent.

Several drafts and multiple revisions later, her book, The Recession Groom, was launched recently. On Saturday, Vani launched the book at Kitab Khana in Mumbai. The book has been published by Mumbai-based Leadstart Publishing. Vani has given her work a uniquely Indian flavour, with its underlying theme of arranged marriages.

It is about Parshuraman Joshi, a 27-year-old IT professional, who “is single, available and settled in Canada, which makes him hot on the Indian wedding market”. Unfortunately, the credit crisis grips the global economy, and his world begins to fall apart.

“As redundancies, bankruptcies and foreclosures became everyday stories, I often thought about how it’d affect the life of an average middle class Indian and his chances of finding happiness,” recalls Vani. “That’s what prompted me to write my first novel.”

Born in Libya, Vani grew up in Chandigarh did her master’s in economics and also a programme in mass communications, before entering business journalism.

In 2008, she went to London to pursue an MBA. Writing the book has been an interesting journey and she has learnt a lot, she admits.

“There are multiple rejections and staying positive is the key,” explains Vani. “Keeping your finger on the pulse of the reader works well because literary agents/publishers are often looking for novels similar to what people are reading. Sustaining oneself financially during this struggle period could be a big challenge.”

Source : http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/international/2015/May/international_May72.xml&section=international