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‘More power to single moms and their ilk’

‘More power to single moms and their ilk’
What prompted you to write a book on such an unconventional subject like a single mom in a metropolitan city?
Going by the popularity of the new Tanishq ad, single parenthood and remarriage are no longer considered taboo subjects in our society. I think it’s time we accepted this social reality and not treat it as something unusual or unconventional. Let’s not forget that in the India we live in, there are even unmarried single moms and LGBT pride parades. So it’s quite cool that my protagonist, Ira, is a divorcee and a single mother. More power to her ilk, I say!

How much of the author is actually reflected in Ira’s characterisation?
I would like to believe that I was able to inject a great deal of realism into Ira’s character by virtue of being a proud single mother myself. But otherwise, it’s a work of fiction all the way.

Did being a mother yourself help when it came to establishing the bond between Ira and her son Abhi?

Absolutely. It’s only because of my own experiences as a mother that I was able to confidently tackle the mom-lit genre and narrate Ira and Abhi’s story.

You have also dealt with DINK (double income no kids) couples in your book. Do you think you have been able to do justice to what they feel about being childless?

Again, Priya and Jonathan’s choice to remain childless reflects the rising DINKS phenomenon in our society. While I don’t know anyone like Priya personally, I read or hear about them all the time—women who exercise the choice to remain childless.
Ultimately, Mom in the City is about the choices women make, even if it means marching to their own drum beat. The idea was to create relatable and identifiable characters, so I reckon the DINKS track should strike a chord with readers.

You have been particularly harsh on ‘Page 3 moms’ and their lives. Have you succeeded in covering all aspects of their motherhood?

Let’s face it: every society has the well-heeled mommas who are keenly scrutinised by their fellow mothers—and the media, in the case of celeb moms.
It would make for a bland mom-lit if all the mothers were cut from the same cloth. We need moms of all types to hold the story together and spice it up a bit.
More than ‘harsh’, the novel aspires to be a non-judgmental and wickedly satirical take on contemporary Indian moms.
I feel the biggest joke is on our plain Jane heroine, Ira, who has a tough battle ahead of her in the story.
I’m not sure what is meant by ‘all aspects’, but, yes, I did try to get under the skin of these women and present their most vulnerable side to the reader.

How smooth was the change from dealing with The Tambrahm Bride to dealing with a Mom in the City as a writer?
The transition was smooth enough since Mom in the City
came out five years after The TamBrahm Bride was published. The intervening years had given me a peek into various parenting issues, and, therefore, I was that much more mentally and emotionally equipped to try my hand at the mom-lit genre.

You have written on issues largely related to women in both your books, do you plan to break free from this genre and experiment with something else in your next endeavour?
Like they say, write what you know. It’s not that I consciously chose my books’ subjects—they happened largely because of the credibility I could lend to the storylines by virtue of my gender. I don’t think I would
ever move away from writing fiction seen through a woman’s prism. It’ll be interesting to attempt a male perspective for a future book. Let’s see how things pan out.
Vandana Singh

Vandana Singh

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