Judy Balan was in the city recently to speak about her book “Two Fates” that is a light-hearted look at life after happily-ever-after
Judy Balan never aspired to be a writer. She took writing seriously only after she started her blog, ‘Woman and a quarter’, soon after her divorce. The blog became popular and was soon followed by her first book, Two fates: The Story of My Divorce, a parody of Chetan Bhagat’s Two States . “The book was the result of a string of meaningful coincidences. My blog readers suggested that I write a book. It was the same time I saw a parody of the book of Elizabeth Gilbert. And I thought it was a brilliant idea”, said the writer at the literary meet organised by the Literary Club, Cat-A-Lyst, of Coimbatore Art and Theatrical Society, at Coimbatore Cosmopolitan Club.
Speaking about the difference between writing for a blog and book, Judy said the process of feedback was different. “When you write a blog, you address a crowd, similar to your tastes. But with a book, you wonder whether the readers out there will like it or not. I have a fear of rejection each time I send that first copy for publishing.”
Her book was a romantic comedy, she said, about a bickering couple who decides to separate. “We often associate the genre of romantic comedy with the courtship period. However, the post ‘happily-ever after’ phase is equally important. This is when both work at their relationship.”
Two Fates is a light hearted take on divorce. “I like humour and I am optimistic about love. My divorce has not made me cynical. The fact that the book about a divorce turned out to be a romantic comedy is proof enough.” She was quick to add that while divorce was a terrible thing to happen, it was not the end of the world.
Speaking about the stereotypical aunties featured in her book, she said that they represented a mentality. “I have come across a lot of 25-year-old aunties, with prehistoric ideas about relationships. I have faced curfews from many of them after the divorce. All these experiences contributed to the book.”
Most of her characters were inspired from real life, she said. “However, when I write, I play with the characters, adding more features to them. You cannot write about specific people. ” Elizabeth Gilbert inspired her, said Judy.
“She is honest. When you read her you feel she is having a conversation with you.” Judy then read an excerpt from her book. She has sold the rights of the book for a Malyalam movie.
Judy advised aspiring writers to publish their writing. “A blog is the best platform for this. You can see the immediate feedback. As a breed, writers are insecure, and the responses give them that high and excitement.”
Speaking of feedback, one of her readers got back to her saying he got back with his ex-wife, after reading her book! “But the funniest feedback I received was when I was asked if I was Chetan Bhagat’s wife!”