Insight into the drama of life

Insight into the drama of life

Book Talk


wearer of many hats, ranging from KFC cashier to backstage dresser, waitress, advocate of multi-culturalism, house painter, union organiser and community organiser, she brings her special brand of insightfulness and whimsy to the pages of her book.

Born in Delhi, moving to the United States at 15 and relocating to Delhi again with her partner and three young children after 20 years, Mridula finds her characters everywhere. Precise details flesh out the stories even as she refuses to over explain or simplify her plotlines or stories.

“I trust my readers to add their intelligence to the book giving it an added dimension. I don’t wish to transport them to another place through my stories by giving them neatly
finished endings but rather engage them in here and now,” she explains.

Her first story The Good Mother is the tale of a woman returning to Delhi from
Manchester after her two young sons are killed in a car accident. She is no longer a ‘mother’ in the true sense of the word as her children are no more. The story goes on to describe her aborted attempt to immerse her sons’ ashes in the waters of the Ganges.
She then returns to Delhi, takes on a young French lover and in the confines of her claustrophobic apartment (described in almost painful detail) disposes off the ashes over the balcony.

“Little bits swirl back and stick to her lids and lips,” she writes as the reader is left to picture the horror of the act itself and ponder its implications, which are not apparent in the foreseeable future.

Another story POP deals with three generations of one family, while Companion is about an old woman and her nurse/companion, who turns out to be a talented monkey she rescued from life on the mean streets of the City. 

“I write most of my stories in coffee shops and it is amazing to watch life in Delhi swirl by and enact itself in a haze of colour and energy. It contrasts sharply with my time in
Portland, Oregon as a house-bound mother where the only other person I saw was the postman making his rounds for days on end,” she laughs. Mridula is fascinated by life around her at many different levels. Whether it’s the well-heeled middle class with whom she shares a superficial social life and a friendship of sorts or the working class with whom she interacts with constantly probing and observing, she is a story-teller caught up in the inherent drama of human existence. Mridula demands a lot from her readers but in return brings a compelling honesty to her work.