Meet Jhoomur Bose – blogger, social media enthusiast, former journalist and now the latest writer on the block – whose debut novel Confessionally Yours published by Penguin, India hits bookstores in a few days. Her written work has appeared in various print and online publications in India, notably ibnlive.com, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Maxim and Good Housekeeping. Jhoomur blogs extensively on women’s issues and rights on her personal blog – Twist in the Tail (http://twistingthetail.blogspot.com). She lives in Melbourne with her partner, daughter and cat, and is awaiting her second child.
Bookadda caught up with the debut author about the release, what she thinks about Indian men and how blogging is different from writing a novel.
Bookadda Blog: The obvious – Are there shades of personal life anecdotes in this book?
Jhoomur Bose: There are inspired-by-personal-life observations but if you mean, “Is it really you in the sex scenes?”, then no, I’d be sharing something like that personal on a more personal space, like a blog, with paid subscription. Make that heavily paid subscription and then you’d have to answer a questionnaire before you can subscribe, and then there would be really tough captcha…But there are observations from personal life – the maid and cup incident, the cows in police station incident, the horrible office coffee…
BB: Your protagonist is constantly the victim till she finally decides to stand up and take harsh decisions. Is it something to do with her being a small-town girl in Delhi?
JB: It’s more to do with her being a typical good Indian girl and they are everywhere irrespective of town/city size. This good girl doesn’t want to upset the apple cart, she wants to please everybody and she often reacts to things rather than being proactive. She doesn’t even realise she’s being a victim; she thinks she’s doing what she needs to keep peace/maintain status quo and because it has been drilled into her that that’s what good girls do.
BB: What’s your advice to small-town girls who move to bigger cities to pursue a career?
JB: Look after yourself because no one else will do it for you. The community that surrounds/cocoons one in small towns is not there in the cities. You cannot rely on ready-made cushions for the times you fall. You have to be strong, you have to be vigilant and more than anything, you have to be a little selfish in wanting to look after yourself first. Because, no one else will do it for you.
BB: Do you really believe in the adage that you’ve quoted – “Get them by their balls and their hearts will follow”?
JB: Yes. Do try grabbing someone by their balls – literally or figuratively – and please do note how their hearts, minds and limbs usually follow. It’s an excellent strategy.
BB: You’ve been blogging for so long now and parts of it appear in the book as well. What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between writing a blog and a book?
JB: A blog allows for quick entries and exits – make your point, get out. A book you have to plan the entries and exits…and ensure that the in-betweens are not yawn-inducing either. Also you can blog anonymously.
BB: There’s an uproar in India about the safety of women especially after the Guwahati incident where the video was circulated. What do you think is the biggest problem with Indian men?
JB: He (as a collective) thinks he can get away with anything. His mother has usually shielded him, lied for him and justified his vileness… As an adult he expects the world to do the same. Unfortunately in India, the political and legal systems seem to have become surrogate mothers for the shit (men) of society. Each time these men do something – sexually harass a woman, burn a bride, kill a female infant, rape a girl – the political and legal system quickly rises to defend him/them in every possible way (usually by blaming the victim). Remove that safety net, punish him, beat him, make him suffer/pay for his fallacies and watch the Indian man/men change.
BB: In your novel, almost every male character is negative. Does that mean nice men don’t exist?
JB: Nice men do exist and thank god, else it would be a very boring world. As for my novel, not every male character is negative, most have shades of er, purple (grey is trite now). It’s just that the protagonist is at a stage in her life where she needs to meet the nasties before she can truly appreciate the good ones.
BB: An orgy of an office party! Have you ever been to one?
JB: Oh, I’ve been to many office parties…only to find out there had been an orgy about a year later.
BB: Finally, 5 books that you were reading while writing your book or 5 books you suggest to our readers.
JB: These are the books I was reading while writing the book:
Buy CONFESSIONALLY YOURS by JHOOMUR BOSE here –