Authors

This is the rhythm of romance

Milan Vohra

Milan Vohra   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Set in Bengaluru, Our Song tells the love story of musician Ragini and strong and silent Andrew

Following The Love Asana, India’s first Mills and Boon novel, and Tick-tock we’re 30, Milan Vohra’s latest offering (six years after her second book) is Our Song (HarperCollins). Though a romance, Our Song weaves in various themes including Hindustani Classical music, child sexual abuse and consent. The story is peppered with quintessential Milan Vohra wit, but there is intensity too without overstating emotions.

Music of the spheres

Our Song revolves around Ragini, a struggling, yet talented musician who pushes her boundaries of creativity; and cool, suave, logical, head honcho of a pharma company Andrew, aka Andy Zot, who cannot understand all the fuss around love. Ragini is a foil to Andrew’s character. Ragini’s creativity knows no bounds while Andrew reigns in his feelings behind a steely reserve. Ragini turns out to be a voice of courage in the novel.

“Andrew and Ragini meet at a point when Ragini has dealt with her challenges. And she has managed to figure out what is important to her,” says Milan, when we meet her for a chat over coffee in Langford Town.

She points out that romance novels is not just about love stories. The author, who has worked with some of India’s leading ad agencies says: “What bothers me is when people say the book is ‘a light and breezy read’.

“It bothers me that they assume romance is frivolous. When you say ‘light, breezy read’, it is what you think is publicly acceptable. On the other hand, I have received sincere feedback that touched me.

“I went for a Kalinga Fellowship, where I was put in a group which was discussing trafficking and women. When I introduced myself, suddenly a girl in the group recognised me.

“She had read Our Song. And later, the conversation turned to the challenges we face as women... Our Song also has within it issues of child sexual abuse and patriarchy in classical music. She held my hand and thanked me for writing the book. It made me feel good. I realised, through her the role romance plays. The book also gives you a sense of joy.”

Started with a song

The idea for the novel came to Milan when she created a song for Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s Biocon. A little known fact is that Milan has consulted in the development of communication campaigns across government, UN, and private ad agencies in the area of social communication such as the HIV/ aids initiative. Our Song is set in Bengaluru.

“This is the first time I had the courage to write about Bengaluru. I have desisted till now out of fear of getting it wrong,” says Milan frankly.

You can visualise the characters, and Milan says she puts in a lot of work to it. “I work on the characters till I get a good sense of them. I need to form the physicality and their back stories, and the moment you start writing, it flows, then your imagination takes over. Also, it is important to figure out each character’s relationship with each other. ”

Milan still writes on paper, in long hand. “I have all my manuscripts all piled up,” she laughs and adds: “Once I finish writing, I key it into the computer.”

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:29:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/this-is-the-rhythm-of-romance/article30503918.ece

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