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Humour in real life
She writes to make people laugh but beneath her humour lies social commentary. Pink Lemonade catches up with Itisha Peerbhoy to discover more about her latest book Half Love Half Arranged and writing mantra.
- Tell us about Half Love Half Arranged.
Half Love Half Arranged is a funny take on Indian society and how people pressure women for marriage. It is a reflection of crazy relatives and friendships.
- When and why did you first think of writing this book?
The activity began a few years ago following an argument with my former boss and friend who said men wrote better love stories. We challenged each other to write a short story. I set out to write a book that was uplifting, relatable, and aspirational. I began writing and it turned into a novel. However, my friend is yet to pen his (laughs).
- What was the thought behind calling it Half Love Half Arranged?
I realised women have a problem admitting to their arranged marriages. The general perception is that an arranged marriage is old-fashioned. They usually call it ‘part love, part arranged’ and that triggered the name.
- How much of the book is influenced by real-life incidents?
It’s all real. The incidents reflect the Delhi mindset I saw during my vacations. In contrast to Mumbai where I grew up, girls in Delhi are constantly evaluated. Fat, dark, and short girls are given unsolicited advice by one and all to compromise and settle for unsuitable grooms.
- Is the book female-centric?
Not at all. But the pink colour on its cover seems to give that impression. In fact, I have more men writing to me to say how much they enjoyed reading it. It’s a book that will appeal to anybody who enjoys a good laugh.
- You are also a business storyteller. Is fiction writing different?
There are supposedly only four kinds of stories to tell. In the case of business storytelling and fiction writing, the technicalities are the same. They use insight and search for pain points to convey their messages through distinct voices. In both approaches, you need to be empathetic and close to your subject. While they deal with different kinds of facts, their techniques are the same. Like fiction, business storytelling is also full of drama – what with cut-throat competition and dissatisfied customers.
- What are your storytelling tips?
Find a distinct voice, be true, and don’t follow a genre because it’s popular. Reflect reality as you see it. Don’t be afraid to get into details – the big picture is overrated.
- What next?
World domination (laughs). I am working on two more novels and they should be out next year. You can look forward to a lot of humour. I have realized that nothing is so big that it can’t be laughed off.