Authors

Author Nirmala Govindarajan talks about her latest book, style of writing and what inspires her

Nirmala Govindrajan is a familiar sight where most of the city’s creative minds congregate; with her latest book Taboo, she pretty much has earned herself a place in the sun with them.

Nirmala began dabbling with writing as a college student and went on to become a journalist. Today, she conducts reading and writing workshops when she isn’t travelling.

Though her books fall under the genre of literary fiction. Nirmala’s subjects are usually serious and deal with issues of trafficking, exploitation and child labour. Heavily laced with allegories and metaphors, presented in a stream of consciousness style of writing, Nirmala’s latest book Taboo is doused with subtle humour and takes a satirical dig at snobs, despite its grave content.

“Most of my characters are based on the memory of someone I may have seen sometime,” says Nirmala, adding it could be their name, mannerism or just the way she remembers them that triggers her imagination into fleshing them out in her books. While both Hunger’s Daughters, her previous book, and Taboo deal with pressing social issues in a stylistically similar fashion, Nirmala is quick to clarify they are not factual documentation stemming from real life exposure.

Author Nirmala Govindarajan talks about her latest book, style of writing and what inspires her

“I can only write on issues that draw my attention and what I feel about them,” she says, adding it is her hope that her work will inspire others to take up the narrative.

Nirmala who grew up on a steady diet of good, old-fashioned literature says she loves the English language for its use of ‘loan words’ and admires Shakespeare. “So many of the phrases he coined are still in use even today.” Taboo is peppered with words borrowed from Tamil, Spanish and a smattering of Sinhalese that adds a sense of the lyrical to her work.

Nirmala who plays the piano and violin admits that she is deeply influenced by music and that her travel experiences become part of the literary landscape in her books. She believes that despite its underlying tone of mystery, Taboo deals with a serious issue that requires one’s undivided attention.

A self-confessed creative gypsy, Nirmala says there are more books in the pipeline, including a series for children. A portion of the royalties from Taboo will go to the survivors of sex trade at Freedom Firm and Ruhamah Designs.

Jerry Pinto and Antara Dev Sen launched Taboo which is available online and in bookstores.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:46:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/where-memories-meet-stark-reality/article30644182.ece

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