A Conversation With Rashmi Kumar

BLW: Let’s welcome the renowned and successful author Rashmi Kumar of Hooked, Lined & Single to Book Lover’s World.

Rashmi Kumar: Thank you for the generous words and a wonderful welcome ☺️

BLW: Congratulations on getting published your second book. Tell us a little about yourself.

Rashmi Kumar: Currently a full-time mother to my two-year-old son, I am enjoying every bit of this phase of my life where I see my little boy grow up right under my nose, right under my care. I thank God for motherhood despite its many challenges.

Before moving to Canada three years ago I was a journalist and worked with many established newspapers and magazines in India. My last job was with Deccan Herald as Features Editor. Other than journalism I also dabbled as a part-time Radio Jockey with 102.6 Rainbow FM and worked as a voice over artist for several ad films. And other than partying very hard over the weekends, I devoted my Saturdays as a volunteer with an NGO for the mentally distressed and suicidal.

BLW: We know that you are one awesome writer. Tell us about your book, what it means to you, and how it all started? How long did it take to write this book?

Rashmi Kumar: Thank you again ☺️. Hooked, Lined & Single draws its inspiration from some of my personal experiences and some from what I have observed within our society. When you get at a certain age, the pressure of marriage increases–societally, physically, mentally and may I say, even spiritually at times. For me, the pressure was more internal. It was external to some extent–not because people around me forced me to get married, but because you live in a society where there is not a single dull moment. And your sense of loneliness heightens during festivals, weddings and other occasions. And honestly, I was no aberration to this.

When I set out to find myself a man to marry I came across such funny and sad incidents that they had to be shared!

When I set out to find myself a man to marry I came across such funny and sad incidents that they had to be shared! Of course, many anecdotes of Alafia meeting various prospective grooms have been spiced up but HLS really is a story of many Indian women and especially those who went through the pain staking process of finding Mr Right–which again, is a myth, of course!

It took me close to a year and half to complete HLS.

BLW: Hooked, Lined & Single is significantly based on ‘Women in India’ and society’s perspective regarding marriage. It’s a sensitive issue you took. We would like to know if there is any real life incident that inspired you to write this book?

Rashmi Kumar: Like I already mentioned, this book germinated in my mind right at the moment I set out to “find Mr Right.” That’s the problem with authors, they see a book in everything and everyone–or at least I do :-/

BLW: Is there a style of writing you prefer? Would you be sticking to the same style and genre?

Rashmi Kumar: Well, I am mostly comfortable doing a style that’s not too literary and yet not too colloquial. While I write for the masses, I also write for the classes. I prefer any writing style that’s real, unpretentious and forms an instant connection with its readers.
No, I would like to keep experimenting and trying out new styles.

BLW: When do you write the most? Is there a favorite place at your home or office where you write the most? Any props that you feel lucky to keep with you when writing?

Rashmi Kumar: There’s no fixed time when I write, but when I do get inspired to write, I do it like someone possessed. Unless you’ve that drive, you can’t do justice.

There really isn’t a particular spot that acts like my “creative hiding place,” (thanks to a two-year-old!) but I would certainly like to retreat in a natural surrounding with just the nature and me for my future writings. Like for HLS, I went on a break to Jim Corbett for many months just to finish the book.

There definitely is something interesting I do before I start writing or before I set of to do any work. I make an air cross across my chest and surrender my thoughts, words and actions to God.

BLW: What are your inspirations? Do you like writing a real story or a fiction story?

Rashmi Kumar: People inspire me. In the past my travel experiences had inspired me a lot. That’s why I give much prominence to places and vivid human characters in my books.

I am neither a stickler for fiction nor for non-fiction. Although, I am most comfortable doing fiction, as an author, I feel the need to be open and adaptive to anything that’s real as well as not real.

BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?

Rashmi Kumar: I have been deeply influenced by the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Having read almost all his literary works, I wish I can emulate his style of writing, but I know that’s only a dream 🙁 The other book that has me gripped is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?

Rashmi Kumar: Currently, I am crushed between two choices. And both are works of non-fiction but have deeply changed me as a human. First one is a chronicle about my motherhood experiences. I am trying to present this in a short story format with tips to new mothers. My second endeavour is something more spiritual. This would be about my journey from India to Canada and the catharsis I went through along the way.

BLW: What other secret skills do you have?

Rashmi Kumar: I have taken on to cooking big time. In future, I might even do a book on some recipes. I am also a trained Hindustani classical vocalist but I don’t have the desire to ever perform publicly.

BLW: To be a good writer, one should be a good reader. Do you enjoy reading books? What are the best books you have ever read? Name any five.

Rashmi Kumar: Of course, I love to read. Without reading well, you can’t write well! My top five books are: Love in the Time of Cholera and Memories of my Melancholy Whores both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Life of Pie by Yann Martel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and of course Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

BLW: On a personal note do you like the author Rashmi Kumar from the person Rashmi Kumar?

To be a good writer
…one should be…
a good reader

Rashmi Kumar: I love ’em both 🙂 Both are incomplete without each other. Both draw inspiration from each other and both thrive on that hope and inspiration. But yes, generally, I am not a very disciplined person. You could even call me lazy! But when I start writing, I am different. I am more focused, more disciplined and definitely a better manager of time. Other than that, I am pretty hopeless in these areas!

BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?

Rashmi Kumar: Write, write, write. Don’t stop no matter what!

BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!

Rashmi Kumar: My strongest and the only message from my heart is: If you want something real bad, it’s easy to chase it, pursue it and run after it! That’s where we go wrong. There is a reason why sometimes something doesn’t work out for you just when you want it so bad. That moment it is important we leave things to destiny or God. Because when we try to change the course of our life to get what we b want, it may not be the best thing for us or may not be the best thing for us at that time. For instance, in HLS Alafia so desperately wanted to get married but as life would have it, she kept bumping into all the wrong men, all the time. But, the moment she decided to let go, she found someone (Ethan) who truly cared for her but she still decided to let it go because she finally realised that it’s important she left the decision to life and God. If Ethan was truly meant for her, he would be hers any way. Even if she decided to leave the chemistry between them in a limbo.

Thank you so much for your time. It’s our pleasure to chat with you…

Book Review: Hooked, Lined & Single by Rashmi Kumar

This book is an insight of India’s custom regarding ‘Marriage’ and ‘Women!

The Blurb:

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask God, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night…’

So you’re a woman, you’re 30-something and living in India? So what’s the big deal about it? Well, if you’re all of the above and still unmarried or married previously and you just don’t seem to find the ”right” man, you suddenly acquire a tragically special status as being cynical, demanding, impractical and chronically single or ambitious.

In Hooked, Lined & Single, Alafia Singh meets a similar fate on her journey to find a husband using somewhat more traditional methods.

Excerpt:

Before leaving the room, Ram did something unexpected. He clicked a quick picture of me and said, ”You do look very pretty in wet hair.” I smiled as the door in front of me closed. Ram was out of the room and I was left wondering how two lovely people can talk so amicably about separation and why is it that they fall short of expressing their concern, if not love, equally amicably?

But then there was no concern and no love. What Ram and I were doing was basic civility and this gesture transcended to the court room, as we hugged each other tightly to exchange goodbyes forever. Why didn’t we ever hug each other with such passion while we were still married? I wonder, but never get the answer.

About the Author:

Rashmi Kumar is a professional journalist who worked for leading newspapers in India before moving to Canada in 2012. Here, she was chosen as the Writer-in-Exile in 2013 to showcase her Indian literary work to the Canadian audience. This is her second book after Stilettos in the Newsroom.

My Review:

Hooked, Lined & Single is a story of Alafia Singh, a 31 year old woman who has been divorced. Her marriage with Ram had no values of love, attachment and concern. It didn’t last long and they happily part away. While Ram gets married to someone else Alafia starts her search for Mr Right. She and her family try every possible way to reach out eligible bachelors through newspapers, marriage portal website and family functions. On one side Alafia is attractive, confident and mentally strong while on the other side she is emotional, sensitive and naive. She easily get to believe in almost every man she meets. They hook for some time, get lined on the bed even but due to one or the other reason they get separated. One after the other emotional trauma Myra, her best friend uplifts despondent Alafia.

This book is an insight of India’s custom regarding marriage and especially when it comes to the marriage of a woman. Alafia’s life become hell after her younger sister, Anushka’s marriage. Her relatives and everyone else start taunting and blaming her alone for the fault in her marriage and because of her grueling she is still single. The search for her Mr. Right leads her to a psychologist. From there she realize a need to find herself and exact reasons for why she wants a man in her life. She do find reasons to her desire but will she be able to find her Mr. Right? Read the book to find out.

The narration style of the author is smooth and convincing. Book has been edited very well. At a few places I find the story losing its grip and repetition of same story line makes read a bit boring. The emotions have been displayed rightly. At many places author has left readers imagination to assume. Apart from that, book cover is awesome!

Rating:
Blurb: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Excerpts: 4/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Book Details:
Title: Hooked, Lined & Single
Author: Rashmi Kumar
Genre: Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Language: English
Pages: 188
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 150 Rs.

Buy: Paperback
Follow on: Facebook | Goodreads | Author Page

Beautifully narrated, Emotions filled, Wonderful Book. Hooked, Lined and Single, is a beautiful display of emotions that kept me hooked till the end. A ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Book, Recommended for all the Book Lovers, No Second Thoughts!

This book was given to my by author in exchange for an honest review. I am glad to read and review it. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a four-star rating on Goodreads and FlipKart as I felt nothing less than that would be fair.