Dr. Niti Chopra is a dentist and management professional, but with the heart of a poet and the vision of an artist, she comes across as a ray of sunshine. Writing for her is a way of connecting with the soul; and she has been in a constant pursuit of her love for writing, and in turn writing about love, and in the process doing both. She has come up with her book “Ira Oberoi’s Pursuit of Love” which is a contemporary fiction. ‘Love-Laugh-Live’ is her breathing mantra and with this story, she attempts to rekindle the incredible power of hope in relationships. In a candid conversation with Chirdeep Malhotra, she talks about her debut book, the contemporary literary scenario in Young adult fiction, her thoughts on traditional and self publishing, and her favourite books and authors.
Being a dental surgeon, you have forayed into writing fiction. Can you tell us more about your writing journey?
I believe from the bottom of my heart that you only get one life to live all your dreams. Dentistry was a decided course of profession for me after which I also forayed into management. But writing was the path my heart led me to – both metaphorically and literally! I have always enjoyed writing and in fact wrote my first poem when I was 12 years old. Now that I come to think about it, I kind of realize that writing is connected deeply to the well being of my soul – it’s actually therapeutic for me!
Can you give a brief overview of your book “Ira Oberoi’s pursuit of love”?
IOPOL is a very simple yet uniquely different love story. Simple, because it doesn’t have too many dramatic complications and unique because it is a rare narration in which the girl pursues the boy. We don’t see that happen too much around us and I feel it gives a refreshing angle to the usual romance. In this book, the girl woos the boy and that doesn’t go down well in a generalized patriarchal society like ours and complications follow. Whether Ira is successful in realizing her love for Raaghav is for the interested reader to unfold in the pages of IOPOL.
There are many similarities between you and the protagonist Ira in the book. Is there a biographical tinge to her character? Are there some other elements or instances in the book that have been derived from your own life?
Ha! I’m surprised you ask as you have not known me long enough to draw similarities. But, to answer your question, Yes. Ira is wildly inspired by my own self. Also, it is true that IOPOL takes substance from multiple true incidents from my very own life. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that it is more or less an autobiography of my love story – one that inspired many lovers, who in turn inspired me to pen it down. I have been immensely blessed to experience a kind of love that is becoming rarer in today’s society – one that is pure, faithful and magical. Why not share it with the world and hope for hearts to bloom by relating and connecting to it?
What do you think of the contemporary literary scene in Young Adult fiction, both in India and abroad?
Well, I grew up reading Shakespeare and Bronte, which I believe were classics of all time and nothing can compare to the heights of their literary excellence. But, fast forward into the 21st century and the variety that one gets to indulge, right from E. L. James to Nicholas Sparks, is an expansive ocean for a reader to cruise through – there is so much to read out there! I somehow am inclined to foreign authors but I do feel Indian authors have a tremendous potential too, especially amongst the Indian audience.
Is getting published traditionally really tough? What are your views on self-publishing?
As I said, there is no dearth of authors across the globe and yes that does make for a tough competition to get your work published traditionally. However, I don’t think potential authors should be discouraged by the rejections from large publishing houses. ‘Never say never’ is a strongly positive motto to believe in. If traditional publishing is all you want, keep trying and I’m sure one day you’ll find yourself signing the dotted line. However, self-publishing is a great and viable alternative for many. In a world where risk mitigation has become paramount for companies and organizations, it seems like a very practical step to take the onus on yourself and go ahead and self-publish your book. It might not bring you a larger audience as maybe might come with an established publishing name, but it will still bring your book to the shelves and see the light of the day. With unfailing motivation, grit and determination, I’m sure the magic can be done to make any book a success – traditionally or self published. Everything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and have faith in God.
What are your favourite books? Can you share with our esteemed readers about the genres that you like and your favourite authors?
Honestly, I’m quite a reading addict – I can read anything and everything written in black and white! But, my favourite genre has to be romance with Nicholas Sparks being my favourite author at the moment. I have read most of his books – The Notebook, Safe Haven, Dear John, The Best of Me, The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, to name a few. These I can think of from the top of my head. I absolutely loved his story lines! I’ve seen a few film versions of his work as well, but it goes without saying that the books are far more heart warming and transitioning. Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James would make for a tough fight for 2nd favourites on my list. And not to forget, I am an absolutely freaking marvel comic fan and cannot imagine my life without Stan Lee’s fantabulous creations!
What are your other interests apart from writing?
Insta-blogging, DIY crafts, interior decoration, gardening, wanderlust, poetry, yoga and cooking…. I have so many and such varied interests that at times I wonder whether I can do it all. There is so much to do and so little time to do it! Then, I take a deep breath and remind myself of the poetic words of Rumi- “The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind”, and I’m instantly re-inspired to get out in that garden and chase my wildest dreams. More importantly, to enjoy the chase!
Are there any new literary projects that you’re currently working on?
I do have two projects in the pipeline; one is a romance while the other is still being moulded over its central theme. Changing base has been a very consuming process and a lot of my projects have slowed down because of it but I’m hoping for things to pick up pace soon.
There are many new writers there who are aspiring to get their work published. What would you say to them?
Writing a book is not a 100 metre sprint, rather a marathon. What matters is that you successfully finish what you started. It’s best to go at your own sweet pace rather than rush it through and not enjoy the journey. Believe me, the most beautiful time you’ll have with your book is when it’s all yours – pristine and untouched by the eyes of the world. But that’s not why you’re writing for in the first place so there will be a day when you release it before the world. Stay hopeful, have courage and be kind. Your success should never be a total of the number of copies sold or whether your book hit the national best seller mark. Even if you made a difference in the life of a handful, your story fulfilled its purpose. And always remember, attitude is above everything else. A positive attitude will always bring positive results.
By :- Chirdeep Malhotra