Deepali Junjappa believes that the twenties are the years of exploration and experimentation
She stumbled into writing—literally. Deepali Junjappa, author of The Twisted Twenties had applied for a marketing role in a well-known newspaper and found herself in the editorial hall instead. A chance encounter with the features editor of that paper saw her entering the world of journalism,
“By becoming a features writer I got to do interviews, fun write ups and restaurant reviews. I met people from different backgrounds and cultures who shared their wonderful experiences with me. My first article was titled At the cross roads which was about being confused as a 20 something. That could possibly be the first seed that fed into my novel,” she says.
The novel, a lost and dazed account of being in your 20s has autobiographical underpinnings says Deepali. “I did wander a lot in my 20s and jumped course, careers and relationships and now looking back I am glad I did everything as I feel I have lived my life to the fullest with zero regrets and still wanting more. I believe it is healthy to explore and experiment in your 20s as it gives you perspective on life, relationships and career. The 20s aren’t easy years, especially in India where we are programmed to do certain things as 20-year-olds get a cushy job, buy an apartment and get married. It puts a lot of pressure on a 20-year-old who wants to explore, travel and experience the world.”
Besides this novel, Deepali has also written two others, Alamanda, a coming-of-age story of four youngsters growing up in Shillong during the days of insurgency and BitchWeed a psychological thriller about two sisters getting caught in a web of trance, horror and performance magic. Both these are in the process of getting published. She credits her stint in Australia where she pursued a Masters in Creative Writing as being instrumental in her putting pen to paper. “Alamanda was part of my M.A thesis program. Doing that MA helped me discover my voice as a writer and hone my skills. I think till then, I was merely writing and not ‘expressing’.”
But fiction isn’t her only forum for self-expression. Celluloid is another love, she says , “I’ve been a screenplay writer for the past eight years and I hope to direct a movie some day,” she says adding that the transition from one form of writing to the other was not as challenging as it seemed. “Writing on screen is very different from prose. In a novel there is a lot of descriptions involved while in cinema you show, not tell. One thing bleeds into another and that changed my style in a way—my writing is very visual,” she says.
Perhaps what also helps her writing is her ability to remember her dreams, “I believe in dream logic where certain stories and situations come to you in dreams. I dream every night and my dreams are very vivid and colourful. Sometimes while writing I get stuck about a character or a situation, later it all comes together in a dream.”
Deepali also dabbles in stand-up comedy, “I've always been a comedian of sorts and have participated in a few amateur sketch/nights in New York City and a few private gigs and parties. I’ve always loved and participated in theatre until writing took over and my antics were captured on paper instead. However friends have been telling me to take it up professionally so maybe I’ll go live by the end of this year.”
On future plans, “I’m writing a fantasy titled Aurang the Wicca boy. I have also co-authored a fantasy graphic novel soon to be published with my director Shakti Chopra,” she says.