The Write Circle on 14th January, hosted Ira Trivedi, the best-selling author of five books, most recently of India in Love, a seminal work of non-fiction on India’s sexual revolution, and Nikhil and Riya. Ira is a contributor to Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and several other publications where her work on gender and culture has won awards. She is the founder of the NGO Namami Yoga and most recently, she led the 1st International Day of Yoga celebrations in New Delhi where a world record was created. Ira has contributed to Walking Towards Ourselves; an anthology of autobiographical narratives by Indian women writers. Rolee Agarwal, Income Tax Commissioner, acted as the moderator for the conversation, leading the discussion through engaging avenues.
Rolee started the conversation by asking Ira about her journey as an author from her debut work, What Would You Do To Save The World?, which she published at the age of 19. The book is the sum of her experiences at the Miss India beauty pageant, and the introspection that followed it. After Penguin India published the book, which went on to be a bestseller, Ira found herself thrust into the limelight as one among the first crop of authors of commercial literature in the country.
The success of her first two books, both falling in the genre of romance, saddled Ira with the tag of being just a “chic-lit writer”. Ira’s next venture was a result of frustration at being compartmentalised as a commercial writer as well as the natural curiosity of someone from an academic background. The infamous Nirbhaya incident and the changing trends of romantic relationships in the country prompted Ira to examine the concepts of gender and relationships in India in Love. Sharing hilarious anecdotes from her field visits during the research phase of the book, Ira had the room resonating with laughter.
Talking about her NGO, Namami Yoga, Ira explained her attempt to tailor yoga as a fun experience for children, especially ones from underprivileged backgrounds. She created a series of animal characters in the form of Om the dog, Prana the frog and Moksha the elephant, among others, so as to make this experience as enjoyable as possible. Yoga, in her opinion, is open to interpretations, always flexible to be adapted according to each person’s needs. At Rolee’s request, Ira also gave the audience a glimpse into her favourite yoga postures, the Vajraasan, the Balaasan and the Pawanmuktaasan.
The conversation took a turn to discussing romance, and her latest book, an ill-fated story about two star-crossed lovers, the eponymous Nikhil and Riya. Ira explained that through Riya’s voice, she was prompted to think about many questions about the concepts of life and death. The success of the book is because of the intertwining of profound philosophical ideas and the lively circumstances of the protagonists’ school life. The audience was treated to a passage from Nikhil and Riya, read out loud by the author herself.
The event was held on January 13, 2017 at ITC Rajputana, Jaipur at 6:00 pm.
- Shree Cement is India’s premier cement manufacturing company. They are actively involved in promoting cultural and literary traditions throughout the country.
- Prabha Khaitan Foundation is dedicated to the social, cultural and educational advancement of the society. The Kolkata based NGO runs humanitarian projects across the country which includes women’s training centers, child literacy programmes and aid drives.
- ITC Rajputana brings world class conference facilities in one of the India’s most popular tourist destinations.
- Siyahi is India’s leading literary agency, based in Jaipur. They also organize literary events – from intimate readings to international literary festivals.
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