‘INJUSTICE THE IMPULSE FOR MY STORIES’
Delhi youngster Simar Malhotra’s recent novel is a global drama that deals with several issues
Writers often find inspiration from what they see around them. And that’s exactly what triggered a 16-year-old from South Delhi to start writing her first book called There is a Tide — a geopolitical drama about revolving around a young girl (2014). The writer, Simar Malhotra, who is 21 now, recently released her second book, Tides Don’t Cross.“For usually all of my stories, the impulse is some sort of injustice — sexism, corruption, religious intolerance — which was also the case for TDC. I was always interested in the divide between Hindus and Muslims,” says Simar. “As a person from a well-educated, globalised household, this has to change. But that doesn’t really happen, even today — I’m sent to study in the US, but it is made sure that I don’t live in a house that belongs to Muslims. So, those sentiments were the seed,” she shares, adding that her book also deals with Islamophobia and the modern woman.
The plot revolves around three central characters. Delving into the story, Simar says, “For me, personally, it is the story of Mrinalini. If someone asks me to choose — in the grand scheme of things — its Mrinalini’s story, but it wouldn’t exist if the other two characters [Ayaan and Rukmani] weren’t there.”
A student at the Stanford University in the US, Simar had based the plot of her first novel in Delhi. However, her second is set in Gurugram, and Simar explains, “One of the characters lives in an apartment complex. You have stereotypes about where people come from. I wanted to place this character and his wife in Gurugram [because] it’s more believable to place a character living in a residential complex in Gurugram than in Delhi.”
Towards the latter half of the book, the action shifts to Paris. And it is remarkable how the author has shifted from Indian words such as paneer and buaji to those from the French language and culture, for instance the reference to the Maupassant short story, Boule de Suif. “Had I written ‘Oo ya she’s eating cottage cheese’, it wouldn’t have made sense. Most of my readers are going to be Indian and I even have sentences in French. It’s about where is the story taking place in that moment… I haven’t tried to force anything,” she sums up.
I was always interested in the HinduMuslim divide, and I felt education can fix it. As a person [from an] educated household [I feel] this has to change.
SIMAR MALHOTRA AUTHOR