Photograph: Ravindu Patil
With the recent release of her new book, the author and filmmaker gets candid on the brutal honesty of her writing, her process, and her unfiltered thinking
Author, filmmaker, mother to a seven- and a nine-year-old… much more. Of the many tags that might be used to describe the effervescent and sharp-witted Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, we think she prefers ‘woman’ the most! “I am loving the role I am playing in my real life which is of being a woman! I am just so glad I get to be this beautiful gender,” she tells us when we chat about her latest release, her new book – The 7 Sins Of Being A Mother (Juggernaut).
Reflecting her unfiltered personality – and her way of thinking, speaking, and writing – the book is a refreshing and brutally-honest account of her experiences of two pregnancies, the accidents by which they happened, and of becoming a mother. From trying to snatch moments with “her boy” to have sex postpartum to her breasts leaking in public the one time she decided to go out with her girlfriends and enjoy herself, she has bared it all.
“I feel very claustrophobic and chained when somebody tries to filter my thoughts, which is why I don’t make my family read my books.” – Tahira Kashyap Khurrana
“I feel very claustrophobic and chained when somebody tries to filter my thoughts, which is why I don’t make my family read my books,” she reveals. “Yes, most of the time, it has boomeranged and I have upset many family members.” She is often uncertain about how they will react to her series of adventures being out there in public.
But take our word for this: once you start reading, you will not be able to stop, nor hold back your laughter, and there will be many, many bouts of it. Kashyap Khurrana has also penned a few cathartic life episodes that she’d like to forget, because, during her process of writing, she does not think of boundaries.
“The fact that many of us have to juggle work, home, kids, everything just goes to show that there is a lot to change about our society and about the way we perceive women.” – Tahira Kashyap Khurrana
We are also sure anyone who has remotely seen a new mother juggling things like those described in the book will nod at everything s/he reads. In her attempt to show solidarity with her readers, Kashyap Khurrana navigates the experiences of a woman in a patriarchal society by keeping the narrative lighter, and poking fun at it. The deeper meaning of the chapters, the many levels, are not lost though. “Perhaps it is solidarity, but it was not intentional. All of us have had a unique journey, with not too much in common. The fact that many of us have to juggle work, home, kids, everything just goes to show that there is a lot to change about our society and about the way we perceive women,” she states. She’s clear that being a multi-tasker is not something she wants or will take as a compliment, since, for many, it has become a way of living – and not out of choice.
Some of the intimate incidents she touches upon in the larger scheme of things include talking of self-love – how essential it is to understand the need for it, something she also explored in her short film released this year, Pinni. Kashyap Khurrana admits that it has taken a “very, very long time” for her to even understand the existence of the word ‘self-love’, let alone the meaning of it. For some, she says, appreciating themselves comes naturally. “I have come a very, very long way and I have a long way to go because there are still days when I indulge in self-criticism or am too harsh with myself. The difference between before and now is that there is a quick self-check,” she says. When she knows she’s dipping and needs to bounce back, she has a pat to offer her own back.
“They (her children) have been wanting to read both my books and I have kept them away. It’s way too embarrassing!” – Tahira Kashyap Khurrana
Writing comes quite organically to her (though she enjoys the process of filmmaking equally). When it comes to her process, she does put pen to paper (figuratively speaking). “I let the idea brew within me for days, weeks, or even months, letting it develop at multiple levels. When it becomes a part of the everyday thought process, I start charting out the characters, story, plot, setting, the starting, perhaps the ending,” she says.
The fruit of her labour (pun intended) will also be read by her children – someday. Does she think they will cringe? “They have been wanting to read both my books and I have kept them away. It’s way too embarrassing! One day they will, but perhaps with the sensibility of young adults. They might cringe, but they’ll see through that and perhaps have a perspective,” is her hope.
“Never give up on your dreams. At a younger age, we are meant to dream big, have lofty goals, and fulfill all our purposes.” – Tahira Kashyap Khurrana
The thought she has for women who are thinking about motherhood (or not) is to celebrate individuality. “Motherhood is a wonderful experience, and a very gratifying one. At the same time, I want every woman to cherish their individuality irrespective of being a mother, daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, best friend or neighbour.” To the young readers chasing their dreams she says, “Never give up on your dreams. At a younger age, we are meant to dream big, have lofty goals, and fulfill all our purposes.”
Your favourite book
Many. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. I like a lot of Murukami’s books, the latest one that I’ve read is Men Without Women. Strange Library, again by Murukami.
An inspiring quote you go back to
“I am a sinner and I do not feel ashamed.”
Your favourite food or beverage to have when reading a book
A nice butter toast with masala chai.
An author who inspires you
I really like how Murakami functions and how abstract he is. I also like Elif Shafak. Women are always an essential theme in all her books.
Your favourite Bollywood movie
I might be judged for it, but it’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. It’s my go-to film when I am down and out.
An actor you want to work with
I enjoy working with new actors who come with a fresh perspective, sense of being, who are ready to observe and jam.
Also read: Kalki Koechlin’s ‘The Elephant In The Womb’ Is A Book We All Should Read!
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