Reflecting on social taboos
25 October 2018
Dr Nikita Lalwani considers herself married to writing and is very happy in this relationship. She authored her first book Live Life…Stop Analyzing it at the age of 16. Her last book 2 Peg ke Baad won great appreciation by its readers and critiques. Swimming, spirituality, reading and movies are other important aspects of her life. Nikita currently works as an advertising professional in a reputed ad agency in Mumbai.
In this interview with Swetha Amit, she talks about the inspiration behind her books, why certain topics are taboo and her love for the genre of short stories.
2 Day Down is an interesting read which deals with socially taboo topics. What inspired this book?
When I was studying medicine, I came across something very shocking. Almost all the girls in my hostel would consider themselves impure during their periods. They would practice and encourage the taboos around it, which made me feel that there is a need to talk about it openly, more so with respect to the more educated class of people around us.
Writing about such sensitive subjects can be met with some resistance. Did you personally face any challenges with regards to this?
I was quite clear in my mind about what I wanted to deliver through this book. So not while writing, but the real challenge is now on how people receive it.
One of the stories in your book deals with the concept of homosexuality. Considering Section 377, which has been decriminalised, do you think people in India will be more accepting of this?
I am not sure. The problem with our society is that our support only makes it to social media platforms and not beyond that. So, I hope if not now, may be a few years from now people become more acceptant towards it.
One of your stories talks about a working woman who shoves away her daughter and considers herself untouchable during her menstrual cycle. Despite education and exposure why do you think they are stuck to old beliefs and superstitions?
I call it the aisa hi hota hai syndrome. When it comes to women, there are so many things that we continue to practice despite much modernisation. It’s because we’ve been conditioned to believe certain things. The book talks about all those issues (parallel to periods) we deal with just because we have accepted it that way.
As a follow up to the previous question, during their menstrual cycle, women are forbidden to touch particular food items. Do you think this stems out of superstition or is there some science behind it?
I have heard 10 stories. I haven’t read one study. Why should I believe in it?
Your book showcases working women who are progressive and financially independent. Yet they still tolerate and willing to put up with unhappy marriages. What do you attribute this to?
After a point, you find it easy to give up and live peacefully. This holds for conforming even when it comes to taboo practices.
Your previous book is also a collection of short stories. What draws you to this particular genre?
As a reader, I enjoy short stories very much. It allows you to put a point across in less words. Also, for a topic like this one, I wanted to reach out to people who aren’t avid readers. Short stories make that easy.
Any more books in the pipeline?
Yes, I have started working on the next one. It’s in romance genre, and I hope to have it on shelves by the end of next year.