Mridu Shailaj

As an avid foodie, I have been mentally processing food since I was 8 and then reproducing it to the delight of my family and friends. Recipe books are the product of this fixation.


Sun Sign


Three things people don’t know about you?

I am an open book so no mysteries surround me. However I have stepped on all of the 5 continents – with a bit of cheating though, for I have equated New Zealand to Australia

What’s your greatest fear?

Being dependant on others – financially or physically

What is your greatest achievement?

For 4 years managing a school for children from the slum communities in Dhaka

High point of your life?

While bringing up 2 children, at the age of 40 and 46 I got my BA & MA degrees

Low point of your life

When researching for the book ‘Our lives Our Hopes: Beyond Statistics and Reports’ about children living in poverty, I visited some of the children in their homes and saw the depravation and dire poverty they live inat close hand and then came back to my upscale apartment in Dhaka. The unfairness and injustice bothered me then and still troubles me.

Which living person do you most admire?

Vandana Shiva – for her ground breaking work in agriculture and her ideology of ecofeminism

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Shuruti Kakkar (BBB) – she is cleaver, confident, determined and an achiever yet grounded. But she is also fallible, made aware of it and therefore prepared to compromise

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

None – but I do admire bank robbers!

Who are your favorite authors?

Edward Said – his book Orientalism is a must to understand colonialism and the colonised Zadie Smith – Her range is tremendous and a touch of humour makes the stories more real

What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

Mahabharat – never ending stories within stories My family and other animals – seriously funny A suitable boy – each family has its own sagas and intrigues Ecology as politics – written in 1980, the ideas are still valid today Blood sympathy – black detective, his cat, his aunt and his friends all so plausible and amusing

Is there a book you love to reread?

Mahabharat - and reread

What are your 5 favorite movies of all time?

Pyasa, Guide, The producers, Well Done Abba, Women at the edge of nervous breakdown

One Superpower you wish you had?

See my readers enjoy the books I have written

Your epitaph would read? /Last line in your biography would be?

She died eating - heaven!

If you had a time machine to take you back to any country and any time period, where would you choose to be for your childhood, adolosent , adult life and silver years?

Go back to Baripada (Orissa) – if it is still the same green, tranquil place and not a concrete jungle. I had some carefree years there surrounded by my grand-parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

Turn my thoughts and ideas into eloquent writing

Which book you wish you had written ?


When and where do you write ?

Mainly in the morning at my desk

Silence or music?

Excuses, cups of coffee, aimless walking

Do you have a writing ritual / superstition?


What’s your guilty reading pleasure?

Tucked in bed - daytime or night

Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

Tucked in bed - daytime or night

Mridu Shailaj Thanki was born in India and lives in the UK. She raised her two children while working in the public and voluntary sectors at a senior level. Her passion for cookery goes back to her childhood. Mridu’s extensive travels exposed her to diverse cultures and cuisines while honing her culinary skills. She has run cookery classes in different parts of the world and has appeared on British Television. In 2009, she published her first book on vegetarian food, Feasts of India. She has also co-authored a book on children living in poverty, Our Lives and Hopes; Beyond Statistics and Reports (2006).

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