We all welcome Bhargavi Balachandran…
Your real name and pen name?
Both are the same .I don’t believe in hiding behind aliases or writing something that I would be ashamed of later. Which is why even the romance novella that I published first was published in my name.
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
We moved around quite a bit around the country when I was a kid, as my dad was in a transferrable job. I must say I was lucky enough to see and experience different things at a very young age.
About your education
I did my Bachelors and Masters in Management. I was a science student in school , but decided I had had enough of Amoebas and vernier callipers and Hydrochloric Acids and decided to take up management.
What career did you plan during your education days?
I remember wanting to get into the IITs. But that phase didn’t last long and then I wanted to do my MBA. I did end up doing an MBA and working for random companies for 7 years, but Literature and the Arts have always been my twin passions.
What languages you can speak and write?
English, Hindi and Tamil. English happens to be the language I think in, so I am not great with the other two languages when it comes to writing. I am pretty ashamed of this and am forever in awe of people who can manage to write in several languages.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, every single day. I don’t think I can name a particular person.
What hurts you most in this world?
Hypocrisy and excessive negativity.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve faced any challenge of earth-shattering magnitude till now. But I did go through a period of self doubt when I had trouble getting my book published. After almost five years after I wrote my first draft , this book has been published I firmly believe that the universe has a way of sorting the kinks out and all we have to do is keep swimming- keep swimming even when our limbs scream out in exhaustion. So , yeah going with the flow and trying harder was my way of handling it.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I live vicariously through the protagonists of my novels. It would be lovely to get into the skin of anybody else and get to know him/ her only to find out the deepest darkest secrets residing inside another person. I have always wondered about what made Hitler do those evil things that he did. So maybe I would want to spend a day as HItler, just so that I can understand what made a human being hate another life so much.
What is your favorite genre and why?
I like humour – on legs and in books and that would be one of my fav genres. I also like reading chick-lits, crime/ psychological thrillers and literary fiction. I hate pretentious books and feel that anything that doesn’t entertain me / make me think is not worth my time even if it happens to have won the Bookers or some high-brow award.
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
Twenty years back, a friend and I scribbled a few stories on chart paper and tried to sell them to unsuspecting souls and that was probably the first book I ‘published’. However, I started writing seriously only after I started my blog in 2008. MY first book was written sometime in 2009.What started as a catharsis is now a need. I’ve realised that I have too many stories brimming inside my head, waiting for an outlet and only feel better once I’ve written them out and breathed life into characters that live in my head. It almost is like a mad hatter’s party with the characters waiting to crawl out of my head. The purpose is to tell stories.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
I started freelancing for magazines and newspapers in 2008, but my first book was published in 2012. It was a romance novella titled Seven Across. My second book (a full-fledged novel) was published a few weeks back. Here’s the synopsis of The Crossover Year
“Meet Sri Anuprabha, aka Anu, a twenty-nine year-old banker who is terrified of entering her thirties. She dreams of quitting her job at the bank, sporting yoga pants and traipsing around the world. Her world turns upside down when things go awry and she is faced with the prospect of spending her days watching Tamil serials. She comes up with a five-point plan for reclaiming her life back before she hits the big 30. But things are never as simple as drawing up a flowchart in real life, are they? Especially with a ghastly recession rearing its ugly head…. Anu bumbles through the corridors of domesticity and travels on a fun filled roller coaster ride in a bid to discover her passion in life. Along the way, she meets new people, experiences crazy new things and learns some hard lessons in marriage, friendship, parenting and life. The Crossover Year is a funny, yet heartwarming story of a woman in search of her identity, and a chronicle of her hilarious quest for discovering her inner mojo. Bring out a platter of cookies and a steaming mug of chai, and join Anu on the ride of her lifetime.”
What are your forthcoming writings?
I have 4 more manuscripts in different stages of completion. With a toddler and a business to run, I don’t have enough time to write or read as much as I would want to. The next book mostly will be a crime fiction which I have been writing for the last three years.
What are your future plans?
I don’t believe in making plans and I feel that the best laid plans always go awry. So, in essence there is no Plan A or B. I take life as it comes, one day at a time.
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
When someone spares a few hours from their busy life to read your book, I think it is essential that the book make them say ‘Paisa vasool, yaar”. What I do ensure is to make sure that I proof-read the manuscript several times ,so that it doesn’t have any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
The last thing you want is for your book to be tossed aside because you spelled ‘Animal’ as ‘Animales’.
Your dream destination on Earth?
I love travelling, so to me the prospect that I could choose any country on this planet makes me feel like a kid in a toyshop. But dream destination..umm.. Greece, maybe
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I am an Indian by birth. I’ve lived briefly in the Middle-East and Australia, and have visited 5-6 other countries. Needless to say, my bucket list is fairly long!
Your favorite time of the day?
Evenings and Mornings (Maybe because I abhor getting up early, but love sunny mornings.)
Your zodiac/ sunsign?
I am a typical Gemini.It certainly feels like I have a Mr Jekll and Dr Hyde inside me 🙂
Your favorite color and why?
I love colourful stuff. But my favs are white and black. Nothing can beat the classic elegance of that combination.
Your favorite book and why?
Again, Kid in a toy shop problem. It would have been easier for me to give you my top 100 list :). Some of my favourites are The palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee , The Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandana and Angela’s Ashes by Frank Mc Court. The first two books are lush, dreamy and poignant works. the third one is the funniest memoir I’ve ever read.
Your favorite celebrity and why?
My current favourite is Jerry Pinto . I read his book ,Em and the Big Hoom and could think of little else for a while. Then , I saw an interview he had given and couldn’t stop myself from saying”What a rockstar!” to my friends at every opportunity.I think intellectuals with a passion for life and their craft easily impress me..
Your favorite food?
Out and out foodie . But give me anything with cheese or chocolate and I’ll gobble it up. Favourite cuisine would have to be Italian.
Some quickies: Sun or Moon,
Laughter or Smile
Morning or Evening
Coffee or Tea
none , but Tea if forced at gun-point 🙂
Mountain or Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive
Silence or Conversation
Water or Fire
Air or Earth
Mars or Jupiter
Moon or Sun
Tulip or Rose
Red or Blue
Left or Right
Glance or Stare
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Make lemonade when life hands you lemons.
The last line of your autobiography would be…
“And she lives on”