Ekta Kumar on her book 'Box of lies'
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How did you start writing ?
I am not sure if I know exactly when I started writing. I’ve always loved to tell stories, and as I grew older, I started to put them down on paper. And over time I realise, that writing for me, is not just limited to stories. It has become a form of expression, feeling, conversation and creation – all of it.
As a journalist and a TV anchor, I would write down what is happening around us. And I learnt, when it comes to television, time is limited and attention wavers. So, when you’re writing the script for the news bulletin, the challenge is how to use words effectively. I write a newsletter called Strange Ordinary Days, where I try and combine words with art and visuals, and have them tell the same story, together. For my opinion pieces, there is an informal word limit and there is a certain restriction on context as well. These are typically driven by news, social trends etc. The writing is different. And of course, there is the book, Box of Lies which is a longer format of writing. You can take your time to develop the characters and the plot and hope the reader is interested in what you’re saying. Poetry is perhaps the only area where we are free – to say anything, to write anything, and choose whatever structure we want.
So writing in itself for me takes on many shapes and forms. And I enjoy all of them, knowing they are all in some ways linked to who I am as a person. And that what really matters is that I continue to write everyday.
What has been your journey with box of lies ?
Very interesting. Up and down. And then maybe slide down a little more. And when you hit the floor, you come up again.
I started Box of Lies a few years ago. The story twisted and turned and took many rounds before it said, enough. It’s done. I think it was followed by a huge sigh of relief, I thought it was all over. The writing is done. I can celebrate. Of course, it wasn’t meant to be. Writing, I found out much later, is the easy bit. The hard part comes next. Editing. Designing. Publishing. Marketing. Reviews. Social Media. It’s non-stop dance. Dancing is great fun, but it is also exhausting.
Tell us a little about the book ‘Box of lies’
Box of Lies is set in the middle of twentieth century India, when the cry for freedom was echoing across the country. It was a tumultuous time, full of hope and fear. The British were leaving behind two bloodied nations. Leaders were bickering and people were dying. Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos of partition, a silent haveli in an old forgotten town, was churning deadly secrets of its own.
The story begins on an ominous note with the discovery of the skeletal remains of unknown persons at the bottom of an abandoned well. It moves back into the past to bring to life a fiery courtesan and a melancholic bride, both grappling with a sense of alienation, and searching for answers in their own way.
From furtive rounds of sex in cold, damp basements, Raseeli rose to be one of India’s earliest radio stars. On the other hand a young and nervous Sitara, struggled under the weight of an onerous family name, forever torn between her own desires and what was expected of her.
The book explores the complex entanglements of love through bits and pieces of an arranged marriage and a hopeless affair. The lives of the two women weave into one another, and bring us a tale of greed and lust, and a strange madness that sometimes accompanies all of us.
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