Books and Beyond with Bound

5.10 Rehana Munir: Bookstores. Bombay. Romance.

March 14, 2023 Bound Podcasts Season 5 Episode 10
Books and Beyond with Bound
5.10 Rehana Munir: Bookstores. Bombay. Romance.
Show Notes Transcript

Uncover the realities of running a bookstore through Rehana Munir's book "Paper Moon".

Tara and Rehana sipped on hot coffee, as they talked about Rehana's book. A book that can only be compared to a warm hug. This is a coming-of-age story of a young bookshop owner, navigating through relationships, and building a new business from the ground up, after her father’s passing away. 

Tune in to find out how running a bookstore inspired her to write a book on her own, and the secret to getting your book noticed by Harper Collins!

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Books & authors mentioned in this episode:

  • Joan Didion
  • Susan Sontag
  • 84, Charing Cross Road
  • GQ India

Produced by Aishwarya Javalgekar
Sound edit by Kshitij Jadhav

‘Books and Beyond with Bound’ is the podcast where Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D’costa uncover how their books reflect the realities of our lives and society today. Find out what drives India’s finest authors: from personal experiences to jugaad research methods, insecurities to publishing journeys. Created by Bound, a storytelling company that helps you grow through stories. Follow us @boundindia on all social media platforms.


Welcome to Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara Candela.


Michelle D'costa  00:09

I am Michelle D'costa.



And in this podcast, we uncover the stories behind some of the best written books of our time,


Michelle D'costa  00:18

and find out how these books reflect our lives and our society today. So tune



in every Wednesday to enter a whole new world with a new author. And a new idea. Yes.


Michelle D'costa  00:30

And after three years and 2 million listens, we are back with a fall back to season



five, with hard hitting questions and life changing books.


Michelle D'costa  00:40

So let's dive in.



So much for coming. And I'm really excited to do this episode of Books and Beyond and my cheesy Cafe, which is one of my favorite cafes with an author that I really, really love. I read a book last year, there's all people. And it's about, for me, it's about books, and it's about romance. So what can get better than that?



Thanks. Thanks. Thanks for having me. All right, Main Street. It's also my favorite cafe. The coffins are to die for. I'll try and not get sidetracked by all of that. I apologize for my voice. I lost it somewhere in the elements. I sort of regained it to some extent, and which is why we're also using mics, apart from the fact that we want to record this. Thank you all for coming on a Saturday evening. There's lots of stuff happening in the city. And you chose to come here some time.



Yes, so. Okay. I really, really liked the book, because it's about this young girl who is 22 years old. My name is Rita. And while the father has deployed an inheritance, and his last wish to her is that she used that inheritance and start a bookstore in Bandra. Disney. And she does that. And then when I was there, and I started researching about you, you actually ran your own bookstore in the 2000s in Banda.



So we all coincidence



normally should take a book. So would you tell us,



you know how I know. And, you know static doses of caffeine. What was sort of the conception so



so quite obviously, I ran a bookstore, it was called the readers shop. One of our participants here, Abhishek, he's visited the store. The thing is, when you write fiction, as I discovered, this is my first book, you kind of in some ways, try to rewrite your life. And I must say this, in hindsight, it was not something that I went in thinking, Oh, you tried to do it right, the next time around. I was very young when I ran the bookstore. And I wasn't yet 24 When I set it up. I wasn't as lucky as visa. There was no big inheritance from an absentee father. But it was that there was this opportunity to run a store and I had studied English I'd studied in St. Xavier's and I had done a master's in English literature and all of that. So I probably love of books, like anyone else in my class would have a class at the classroom. But yeah, coming back to why, why that premise, because of course, Iran was quite for this such an opportunity also, to write a book that falls in literary fiction can entail writing sometimes takes itself so seriously, which can be a good thing. But in some cases, it can be an impediment. We're always trying to impress, and trying to kind of follow some kind of golden standard, rather than sometimes write something that is light, and yet meaningful, significant, it would be uplifting. I think Indian literary writers, fiction writers are very afraid of being delightful. Very tough. And you must be have this cloud hanging over you. And the sad beauty of the world has to be a material. My second book is about the size of beauty. The first one just came out like this. And yes, there's a lot more to say. But I guess your questions will address that.



So yeah, I really, I really love that the book also was like it was a it was, you know, it felt like a warm blanket. And you know, you have so many interesting themes like this young girl coming of age finding love, you know, trying to sort of get ahead in her career. And I really like the explanation of the book industry as well because you see her going to Frankfurt Book phase if you're dealing with you know, hiring your first employee is the kind of books that she wants to sell and that actually like nitty gritties, of building a bookstore, which can imagine isn't easy at all. And you do that, but it's basically a real life experience. So I want to know a little bit more from you about how to start this store. In other words, what was your experience how long you've done it for



make two houses the bookshop was called the readers shop. And it was in if you're familiar with the suburbs, then it was in Santa Cruz, but that aeroplane Park is so the road that connects as we rode with Lincoln Road, the police station road, I don't know why I'm going into geographical detail. That was where it was. I had, it was a very mixed experience. Now if someone who reads Paper Moon will obviously get a very edited a very kind of, fictionalized version of it. I put in the things that are interesting to me as a much older person. But at that time, I found it to be who was also fresh, everything was so new. I was very bright I, you know, you feel like you are an entrepreneur. And you go into this business, thinking about books, but you actually sometimes forget, it's a business. I'm sure Gary has this experience trying to test you, you know, you love killing a quick love steak. And when you realize it's about coyotes, and it's about honoring this and doing that as electricity because of all the prosaic things that could come to your mind. So my actual lived experience of it was like any youngster was ready for it was exciting, it was challenging. It was also in some ways overwhelming, we were discussing this before we went on my, this was the pre social media days. So simple thing like organizing an event would mean it was word of mouth, or you send an email, you know, somebody Innovation Group, again,



dear reader this evening, or whatever



it is, we get through it quite quick, I got the word quick, a lot from people bouquet, they will compare it to Meg Ryan, if you've got was very flattering the first few times and then I was like, I don't feel like at all. But it was anything that you would think of. But mostly, you have this song, you know, you're you're very anxious about making rent. And you're luckily for us, we own the space, the the owner of the bookstore, I just ran it for him. That's an essential difference between Frieza and I, I've never owned these bookstores, I was just running it for somebody else. And years later, I thought, what if what if this young woman gets this sudden kind of windfall, and the father in the book is completely absent. So the premises that she's never known her father has been a complete absence from her life. And when he dies, she gets this inheritance. So she's completely caught up about it. She doesn't know this man. He's abandoned her mother and her. And now there's all this money that's coming over here. So one of the big conflicts in the book is how she reconciles with this man's absence, and then this very generous gift that has come home with us to him. Again, these are like real life problems. But I think taking it with this fantasy setting of bush.



Yeah, there's mixed emotions also that she doesn't know her father. And then like, sort of, you know, that you notice get and then there's these expectations. And this is like a fantasy setting. Because these kinds of things they see more glamorous than they actually are. So even, you know, as an editor, I know a lot of people tell me that, Oh, you want to read books. Of course, she is also like flip side and strangled me like that as well. But as Bombay, she you said that this was before the social media. And there's a lot of nostalgia for mark the, in the book as well as Bombay change having experience of, you know,



lamingtons bookstore change.



So the bookstore was just this three or four years. And it started in Santa Cruz, and we took over the little bookshop at Brookfield. And there was no crossword student at that time. So we saw an opportunity and this opened up to bookstores and students as well. So it was all kinds of emotions and thoughts at that time, but converting it to this extreme experience of writing a book which would have happened in I think I wrote the book between end of 2018 and early 2090. And I was fortunate that I got published a public talk almost instantly the the editors at the literary publisher HarperCollins read it, and I think they made an offer in two or three days. So I'm aware of how are you know, I must have a privilege that case. Especially now that I've written my second book, and I realize the pandemic completely, you know, I don't know if it was writer's block or The human livers block. I couldn't get anything that in terms of creativity. I've completely forgotten your question. Yeah, and Bombay has changed so many times over. Since the time I ran the bookstore to the time I wrote this book, and that anguish by the nostalgia element, right? I mean, there's so much I find for in the Bombay that I grew up in, I've lived my whole life I was born in the 80s began looking at one. And now I'm 41. So already, I'm thinking about the 80s and 90s as the golden era. And the book captures that and I know you're very unapologetic. I'm aware of all the different kinds of ways in which one can capture nostalgia, and the nuances and the complexity, perhaps that comes through my second book. This one is an open letter to Bombay, and Bandra, and Colaba, and I'm, like I said, I'm doing unabashedly clips, it's happening on purpose. I have so much fun to do that, you know, why can't we have fun? While being literary, all while being significant or artistic? Sometimes we lose that element of play in trying to be taken very seriously by for awards, a certain kind of acclaim. I don't think I was impeded by any of that, but writing this so it's come up like



Oh, I think I'd really like reaches readers like yeah, we don't want to also feel good. And I really like nostalgia. Bombay, I love copy books, you know, there's been so many and this was just fantastic. Because it was also an explanation of Bandra, you know, Banda, the iconic neighborhood and you set the bookstore in this beautiful bungalow in Manda. So I wanted to know, what is the significance of the setting and how did you bring it alive in such a wonderful way in the book.



So for those of you who may not have read the book, the man who she's referring to is just the beginning end of your ronelle Making her back cogent florist, if you look, there's a flower shop and bandstand. And there used to be a lovely old bungalow, there's I went to school right there, to convert to economists we call apostolic convent, and my sisters and I speak one person's job to go and get an automobile incarnate. So we used to walk up to that place. And I whenever it was, my turn to look for the Ottawa would be standing there by St. Andrew's church, or looking at this bungalow, and actually, you add your name as a child, how it would make perfect bookstore. So these are very obvious things that come back to you later, of complete wish fulfillment and fantasy. And as a writer, you get to do this, you know, you get to live these dreams. Now, of course, funnily, as soon as I wrote the book, the Rotterdam, and it's now being built into some type of building. Building will come up or whatever, or but it's sad. And so a couple of people mentioned that this extra now you have a recall, you've kind of documented it, it's there for all time to come.



You know, there's a lot of interesting Bombay personalities also that show up in your book. So you don't hit the bookstore. We have been visit the bookstore, you have industrialists, there is a there's a character that's modeled on Yunus this was our who was a famous writer who was a professor de vos. So could you tell us a little bit more vivid anecdote about some of these interesting bombing actors, or even places that you've incorporated



into the book? So you this this was I was fortunate to have my professor, she taught English and she's the head of department for many years, three decades, actually. And we were very close as professor and student. In fact, this book is dedicated to her and my older sister. So Jonas is very much a presence. In this book. She's called Francis the behavior. She's one of those iconic figures. She was an institution as one says, very acerbic and very sharp, but by the time she was my professor, I was, I think, the last batch of sound like a cookie. So yeah, she she was among the law students, and she had really mellowed down significantly. So we weren't that terrified. We were friendly. And you know, I would ever go visit her in a house in Santa Cruz. In fact, she says, wrote two lovely novellas, one is called angel group, and one is called David Zimmerman. And in some ways, Paper Moon kind of takes after that kind of novella, which is a fictionalized account of a life limb, which now gets sorry to segue into another point, 


very often, and this happens with the fiction that women write, or anything that women write. It's Skype diminished. I'd seen as journaling, or every time I get questions like you asked me about my experience training, but none of that was diminishing yet, right? Very often if you draw from your own life, and it's very obvious, you get the criticism. So what you know, you just woke up one day and you wrote into it. But especially the age of social media, you see that all of us are doing it, but only some of it counts as you know, anything that other people would want to read, or something that is long enough to fill up a novel of any word. So yes, anyone can write a diary and journal. But in fact, the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Andy or no, this year, the French writer and all her work is this. It's her life. She's unapologetic of putting her life into the books. It is all biographical. Soon as Joan Didion's work, or Susan sontag's work, but we need to get over this self criticism also. Which is why, you know, I found it unnecessary to have veils between myself and Fiza Khaled, for instance, the question I get is, was that your boyfriend row where you were in love with that character? And I laugh about it? It's of no interest to me that as clipped if you don't, that's fine. I'm not here to kind of, you know, defend her as a purely made up character. I don't think there is anything as a purely me. We constantly drawing from life. And we need to stop being so apologetic about it. I feel. I guess this applies to any gender, but in my experience, I see it with women writers.



Yeah, I really liked the love triangle.



asked me if it was mine.



So then octagonal screen, you know, it is it has appointed and then there's an older man in Powell, who's also in the picture. And through the running of the bookstore, we have lots of incidents with these two men. So I want to actually ask you, how did you construct the character of design come up with this sort of love story?



So yeah, the two major relationships, romantic relationships are between Pisa and truth, who's this classic college boyfriend who is nothing wrong with him, but you know, get over that. And then this is, again, the classic, you know, artists kind of died, who's going to seduce you with his poetry, or in this case, or the poetry, while could cause and sort of, you know, a very global outlook and all of that. So, yes, in some ways, the types as much as we are all types, but what what distinguishes her romance with both of them is that she's not her life is not just about the moments, you know, whether she was with through, or whether she's considering the relationship or whatever it is, I think all situation is, these days, we get banged up, it's not granted in life, which is, you know, again, my my experience tells me that your love life is not your entire life, like your career is not I feel it shouldn't be, you know, you're missing out on so many shades. And very often if you see romance in a book, especially your romance in a woman's centric book, it takes over all the other aspects. So if you if you are interested enough to read through the end of the book, you will see that it's not what you find and that's a little bit different from what we usually see it picking someone or dreaming of someone or leaving someone that's going on in our life, but like about that. So



yet, yeah, I love sort of like the relationship he has with our staff and just sort of like, you know, the intricacies of running a business I found that very interesting. And I always wanted to know how of its life is not so in all and also envious of people who study AIX, actually, in the age of Amazon, and online works is so you actually buy from independent bookstores. But I would ask you if you had to run your bookstore today, how would you run it? What would change? I would



absolutely wish but I wholeheartedly recommend trilogy bookshop and Bandra It's my absolute favorite 100 mental you'll find better, you wouldn't find better people who want to run a bookstore. So yes, any independent bookshop. Kilohana is just a small database that I love all of them, we would advise to no I wouldn't, because I know I'm not business minded just to promote a book takes so much out of you and I don't even think I've ever gotten it right. So you need to be a certain of a certain temperament you need to be working in a certain way. I am not any of these things. I am not an example to it. dictation every aspect of my life, people could do it far better. Yes, no to answer you, I wouldn't. But now in hindsight, I would tell my younger self, how to do things better. To just be more realistic about it isn't just about the literary merit of the books that you're stacking up. It's just a public facing business it was you need to be yourself out there a lot more than I think one needs to be quite hard nosed about it in certain ways.



Yeah, and it really is the best post in there, I think. I never even thought about this yield Barnes and Nobles. And basically Barnes and Nobles, America was shutting down. They hired this new CNC. And the bookstores actually started monitors opening in the last few years and back sales are going up. And everybody's really driven by this, especially, you know, in the way that book sales are going and people are reading ebooks, buying online comm people are buying physical books from Barnes and Nobles. And then an article is researching an article and it said that basically, they hired a guy who really loved books, and he really loves curation. And he just wasn't putting sort of anything for the heck of it. Because then obviously, there's a business aspect, but it was a passion. He put in like interesting events, programs, things to attract people to bookstores, he got sort of a lot of heart inclination, and when people started seeing, not just in the generic sort of store, but something that they can really add get value in. And I think that's what I was up to Nikita. So that time they just think about bookstores, in terms of Bombay, you know, I think what is Bombay simplify to you because you don't even try, you've been born brought up in one visit about on the column, as well as what is commonly signify to you and what are some common toggles are usually like,



I think typical Bombay Valley, it's, I can't think beyond. Again, it's difficult for me to answer because I've not lived anywhere else. I once briefly tried to move to Bangalore many years ago, I couldn't for reasons for circumstances change. And then I tried to go out again, and I just feel it's not for me. It's nice to visit different places, but the kind of independence and freedom. Again, these answers we get to me are all cliches, but they're all true of Bombay, you get the kind of diversity, the space, the stimulation, the challenge. It's all there. And I'm I can't look beyond like I'm thrilled to be audited, especially in the area. Not to sound smug or really, you know, kind of diminish any other piece but as a woman in India Why would have to I'm still comfortable in my authorizer in the morning, even though I sleep at 930 in the night if I wanted to. And that means a lot to just this the idea that I can so I go and I do mystery plates. It's It might sound funny, so to flip it, but I worked that it makes me feel safe. Of course the air right now is the end right now it's up on watercolourists mighty we have daily psyche, but then I wouldn't betray this city and this life or any of that I don't have any revolutionary answer for you. It's all the reasons why people want to live in it just allows you to read metaphorically, not literally. My favorite books but this purple one but of course you mentioned America is America Malays mill teeth wonderful set in Matanga. Again, retro book, retro innovative movies retro Jean Borges is Bombay, my child, which is set in South Bombay, to a migrant community wonderful. In fact, the three of us did, a lot of promotions were taken up was out and I used to call us the America Anthony of Bombay books, because they represented the three major communities. Back I recently joined the pandemic. I read the Rohinton Mistry is such an old journal and I found it to be again, a minority. The Parsi community are very middle class arts experience, which very often we miss out on if we're just reading the general press and media. This was exceptional in its attention to detail. And yet I found the women's voices to be underrepresented and cycling. I would have wished for them to be better To protect these books so Robin and Eddie, Cara and other girls who chose a decently Registered Education of URI, and and the big movers a big favorite. I think this book captures not just Bombay, but that mother's son relationship with the mental health team beautiful. So,



so much too slowly. So be able today to come as well. My Apple TV will be mine, it will be back to sleep tight. So when it happened, Barry, and it took outside. I need to see other lights on outside the house. Anyway. So yeah, the book is also a bookstore. I love books about books. One of my favorite books about folks is My silent prayer, which is about it's lovely to know who this was in a literary agency in New York. And she is basically the person who gets all the letters, fan mail for JD Salinger. Really, really lovely book. So I wanted to ask you, what are your favorite books about books?



I think one is ready for Charing Cross room, which is lovely. It's about correspondence that this one has, I think, neighbors, the writer, her correspondence with the bookstore and my correspondence with the bookstore in Charing Cross Road, and in London. And it's beautiful, because it's just that relationship that you can only have with a bookseller, between the reader and the bookseller, and to see whether it's sort of like an episodic novel, anytime is one of the things I had in mind when I would take the lightness of truth and touch, which very often our books liked by our books, and indeed writing in English. So there's such a space for it. That I think is a book that I really like about books. What else nothing else is jumping to my internet filters have come up with?



Yeah. So that your journey, one of my questions is the journey to getting published. So could you tell us a little bit more about how the book came up in two days? And you know, how long did it take you? Did you have an agent? What was that journey?



Like? No, no, I was lucky. I like most of us here. And I've been quite active on social media. So for many years, I've been posting this on that on Facebook, and I an old school media, we didn't say school friends, but it's fun being with the art director at HarperCollins. And she said, Is there anything you'd like to write for us because I've been reading your posts on Facebook. And that's what triggered the spark for the book. It was not like I was dreaming of writing, or it's been a long cherished dream or ambition at all. Somebody asked me, because that's how laid back and unmotivated. If there's no paycheck at the end of the day, don't do that. And as a working writer, very often you need to have these things in place. And it's quite practical. But Juanita was she's a wonderful, she's the art director of HarperCollins. She's not any more recently on. But she asked, and she said, Is there something to write and there was an article I'd written for GQ India, because I've been writing for many years now about running a bookstore. So the thought just occurred to me that there was that article and one very good response. So I think maybe I can flesh it out and develop it into something longer. And I just started writing this, and I realized it's writing itself in some ways. Again, this is not a boast. And don't be arrogant. That was my experience with the first book. The second one was so very different. Very talk about the second. Oh. So now that you asked, actually. So that second click No, is expired, because I don't think I can write about anything that's been inspired from somewhere in real life. And I'm not going to make any excuses for it. It inspired from my grandmother's life, my paternal grandmother. So the book begins at the 40s in a Linda, which is a small university town in North India, her family, my father's side of the family, they come from there. So she spent so begins with her teenage years in a leader and then moving to Bombay sometime in the 60s. So the book spans independence to the emergency. So it's sort of a, I like to call it coming of middle age. So it begins with this set with the protagonist who I currently called Zara. I may change the name later. I'm very bad with titles and names because I don't think about it. Just put in anything so I should be more careful. Have begins with Zara as teenage years and she has a literary bent of mine, much like my grandmother was and very much an iconoclast. So she had a life that broke many of the social convention rules, rules to do with love, and marriage and career and everything. And being a mother, in all of these relationships I fields around has a lot to speak to us today, especially in terms of progressive Muslim character in post independence in there. I think that's always a voice, we need to help minorities that kind of surprised you with how different they are, rather than conforming to norms. And it's everywhere really, you know, we keep saying minorities in differences. If you look at real life, people will always surprise you. It's, it's just a very comfortable narrative to have for politicians and other people with sinister agendas. If you already have your grandmother's or any of them who are account, they all have lives that will surprise and kind of astonish and inspire their ways. Nobody is just a stereotype. My grandmother certainly was.



Amazing can't wait to come out. And yeah, one of my last questions is that, you know, you guys looking long column for HP? And obviously very different. I think that we need new personnel. I mean, so can you tell us a little bit more about the difference between sort of writing column and experience that I can call? And also, how do you think of, you know, topics week on being for your product? The topics are really quite interesting and fun.



Thank you. I'm so flattered that you read read this column? Yes, it's something over five years, it's, he branched into my column of, I think you waited to hit the nail on the head, that's the phrase. Sometimes I get it, I get it the other way around. Is the topic is, is the tough one. So it's almost like you're writing a case for me now. It's like a fall. And if you have the doc that you have the title in the subject, I will have sort of the headings for the other subsections in trying to set okay, this is not aggregates, I'm just saying how important it is to get your team right in your head. And then of course, you draw from your life. It's very easy for me to write about my own life, and yet, I'm constantly changing it or tweaking it or fictionalizing it. So it's difficult when people tell me is that I do if it's because some part of it is visa is definitely not me. And I think all of that is irrelevant. Do you find it engaging, you find it interesting as a piece of prose of poetry. That's all that matters. I think this biography, fiction nonfiction genre, are offered other people talk about when you're writing to strike.



Yeah, and be with you. And it's about sort of, you know, finding needles and, and maybe your story. Okay, so do we do you guys have any questions?



Yeah. So I'm interested to know your book writing process for both the books. So how can we obviously understand that the first book coming out after the GP parliament? Director, but what was your process? Like? I mean, in the sense, how we come about, and especially also the second book, because it's based on a time, some very efficient for the second book, but first of all,



thanks for your question. So the process for me was sitting at a desk, this first book, right, because very differently. The first was was Yeah, so sitting on a desk, or I can eat, okay. Whenever I sat down to write work on my first book, I would sit down and write 1200 words. And that just literally happened. Because I started I said, let's see how its flowing and how long it takes for me to stop writing with ease. The whole thing for me was ease was very important for the first inform any theme and content in every way goes with free work with absolutely any Liping actually, I've never had a format I've never had an Excel show you the school posted salon, nothing. So it isn't the heck, again, this is not to say that I am autodidact or anything. I find procedures and routines to be a limiting and it's it's boring for me. So I take it as it comes. But I think the process that you're referring to for me it was actually sitting there writing it all at once. It came in one floor 1200 words at a time. But it's not like I was writing Monday to Friday or anything somewhere it would be Monday, Thursday, Saturday, one week I didn't write then all the days of the next Within one week, I didn't write, when I wrote, I realized, well, what was like the sweet spot in the middle of the back? That was to me the thing. And I just kept doing it and it kept building in front of my sweat chronological novel. So I could do that. It was not experimental informed. So there are other kinds of writing that require you to be a replan plan kind of human beings. Neither am I that in my writing. Second one, same thing, 1200 words, but something very interesting, and a bit worrying also happened. Paper one came out just before the pandemic, which is quite disappointing, because you know, your best time will all come go able to go and do your tours and do signings and you realize everything's shut. And it's a book about a bookshop. So it needed to be seen in bookstores rather than being ordered off Amazon or whatever. So that happened, and I immediately started writing my second. And I finished say about 75% of it before the site, so I wrote the book. And then there was some time before we got published. Then in that period, I began writing the second one, when the pandemic hit, I was done with around three quarters of it, because it came very quickly under the pandemic, and lockdown happened. And Burgess, I stopped writing altogether. So I stopped mid sentence. I could not write one more word. This is very odd. It's not like I was personally or anyone very close to me was afflicted with COVID. Thankfully, no one but it was too much. I found the lockdown and what was happening everywhere to be too much. And I could only then take it up again when the word opened up again and finish. But I realized I had stopped literally mid sentence. So when you say process, it's it's there's no real kind of blueprint for me. It has so much to do with how one is feeling and what space one is. In other words, a wild ride to the world is not going to change with my book about anything. It's not a cure for cancer. It's not para judo, or whatever you want, which is a book of fiction, it is meant to be leveraged for totally entertainment delight. So one needs to be in that space. Okay, and I'm sure a lot of other writers are speaking to somebody else who said she found that she had all this time that she invested in ranking, although you couldn't actually Yeah, so a lot of my writer friends and they give you a complex right because you have all this time you're either making your banana bread that was making banana and doing for God and writing books. I was not nothing. Just feeling very very sad all the time. Yeah, this is the third book and I'm really itching to write a children's book now.



So maybe that will be an altogether different experience. Any other questions?



So I set up being here today but she said I have to ask you it so I just graduated from Xavier and she's still at Xavier. So she wants to know about your experience



I want to know what your experience



because I graduated in 2001



Like I said before I was lucky I had you missed this visa English by Chapin still no so



when I was in second year Sheila okay sorry this is a very local psychology and it will be similar in



the hearings



so yeah, your sister asking how it was to be easy. This was excellent. It was you know, it's very fashionable now to this your convent school upbringing. But I had a great time in my Bandra convent life. I wasn't abused by nuns or anything.



12 years of being there. And then I went to Xavier's was another Jesuit institution. Again, there was no trump. It was just a very bizarre opening up of the world in many ways. The first two years to your college I found was a bit of a just throw you out into the deep You know, I come to a girls school and yeah, so do you go to a bar Look at it Okay, close enough



in your school Oh, there's always a good word. So yeah, the first Junior College I found to be thrown with the book because like 100 people in class and you're studying six subjects that you haven't necessarily chosen, but senior college to me was oh my god, it was just breathtaking in what was made possible. Again, unlike my other so I I'm the middle sister we had three sisters, which is an essential difference between these are higher than I, I wrote a character who's a only child to a mother in Bandra none of these recipes and your green card then grew up in her family, middle child of three, and my sisters are such a, you know, essential foundation of my life. We all went to the same school in college as well. So the reason I brought up my younger sister Maria is that she has such a different experience Xavier, she's the kind who would sign up for everything, you know. There's a social service League. So one day she's donating blood day one blood one day, she's going to build roads in some village and she's joining some volunteering and hiking and trekking and Indian youth group. You know, we sit in that img mostly when they're too early because of the music and so she did all of that. While I used to wait for that 113 of one o'clock my lectures will be in the 113 at church yet for God because honourable woman sleep I was exhausted. So I feel I didn't even make use of everything that Xavier's offer and yet just being there something to be said about that, you know the Gothic Revival though everyone talks about the architecture. I had professors and they knew this was a life changing professor you know, I learned how to read and write in school but I really learned how to read and write thanks to Uranus went way way too early, but also I think she'd done everything she wanted to. So yes, I My advice to her she's still in college, do more, you know, more even if she has a boyfriend or girlfriend or anything do more because years later you could think of those things I personally like in Bandra Auntie but just get into it but you said she's already the guy in Intuit visa. I



didn't do it. I'm caught so even using Zapier but COVID hit in our setting and so we got the last three months of third year and the whole first year



that's very sad



Jodean who did you have? Then you



that's yeah so you can easily assist them in spend more time I think down in the evenings you post to go back to the suburbs there's so much to do around here



Okay, so I have like a few rapid fire



Okay, so writing columns or writing books,



or both, both



books thanks, call. It's everything.



Okay, best piece of writing advice.



Don't I think I'm going to steal this from Stephen King who writes we're not here to paraphrase and, you know, what does he What does he say very kindly. Life is not a support system for art artists a support system for life. So you know, don't isolate yourself into a cabin in the woods in the Arctic or Antarctic. You know, life should go on while you work.



Absolutely. Okay, your favorite comfortably



every day thanks to social media you know Instagram not everyday thing. That's the biggest change you've seen involving



good, you know, post pandemic and I'm gonna say this very optimistically. Yesterday I was in a Sufi concert and comparisons TeamSTEPPS a few weeks ago, I don't know because he said rapidfire speaking


Michelle D'costa  45:02

they should come down



so postponed music concerts, open air Symphony Orchestra have added something in manual photos. Therefore, there was a band called bonus waiting game. I think free open public space events. Oh, my glasses. Absolutely access for all enough of this stuff. We just just ncpa kind of thing. Enough of that already. We don't because we have more than three and a CP. And we've seen that now post pandemic, so very proud of that. Bad let's get a bad idea.



Forget it. Yeah, there's so much going on. Yeah, I'll be so mean so much to do. So amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much. Any last quiz?



So, you know, you spoke about the Bombay books back already? What is it that you think is still missing, because contrasting presumptions have been because I'm not that well read and write whatever you think of might already have. But what I would like, let's say I think of a demographic that's older. You know, we read a lot this way, like Romanian mystery. And I think the book that I'm writing now comes from that space, middle aged and older women, you know, their narrative of the city, because I feel particularly Bombay is a city that's amenable to that demographic more than any other city or metro. Mike, my grandmother lived through the late 80s. So independently, that's only by yourself at home, you know, very good cotton Sally's doing our own shopping and cooking for myself, my choice. And I think those stories are every social and economic strata. I would like to hear those stories. There's a lot about us and a lot of men and a lot of young couples, and we'll get out of that. But I think older women's voices from Bombay from Bombay, let's I love to read



so on that point of directing, but older women and you mentioned that in your second year. You talked about writing that the decade like the T's and C's, how do you research and write that? Well, well.



You know, it's well before my time, but in a way it feels oddly President current. And I think because the popular culture of that time still kind of permeates or we live today. Whether it's the Beatles or it's Kishore Kumar, you know, or even like the sandwiches, we get in clubs, the chicken sandwiches at all, it's all a remnant of that post independence, still colonial hangover of clubs and markets and you know, cities and prominence, I think we have a very strong makeover of that, which is why we still seem to Missouri's and should we still have so good house in our heads with those appliances anymore? Right. We're all, you know, all rats in some ways, but I think I don't think it's because of storage that our grandparents and our parents, for example, the music that brings me comfort as the music that my parents are under. I think we all would agree with that. Right? If it's whether it's alcohol, or Simon and Garfunkel or other people being ordinal, enter whoever it is in any language or any ethos, it is our parents nostalgia, that becomes our code. So a lot of it is just kind of history and it's integrated through one's lived experience. And but yes, there was some amount of researcher found to be very enjoyable. So there was one trip I made just before locked down to a leader. This is they have this exhibition called literally the mind of which kind of attracts a lot of people from those towns zero like no other I mean, all of those sorts of very, again collected nostalgia and sold to the iPhone. So you know that they had the the Haleem and the Bihar and Miki T and you know, they've had a tradition of women dancing through the night and all of that, which is now seems to have stopped. So I did make a few trips so many times that my book so again, it's great for a writer to have these holidays and call it research. I did a lot of that, but much of it comes just from other people's experiences and composition.



Can't wait for the second book. I thank you so much for talking to me and all of us about Paper Moon.



Excellent. Thank you guys. Want to find up?



So here we are, where the end of yet another journey into the many worlds of Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara Knievel.


Michelle D'costa  50:11

I'm Michelle D'costa. And this podcast is created by bound a company that helps you grow through stories. Find us at bound India or all social media platforms.



So tune in every Wednesday if you live, eat and breathe books and join us as we discover more revolutionary books and peek into the lives and minds of some truly brilliant authors from India and South Asia.


Michelle D'costa  50:37

And don't forget to keep your love for stories alive for books and beyond.