Author Shilpa Gupta on Spinning Tales in the City
A chemical engineer from IIT Roorkee, Shilpa Gupta holds a post-graduate degree in management from IIM Ahmedabad. After working as an investment banker for thirteen years in Mumbai, she relocated to Pune in 2007 and quit her corporate career a couple of years later.
Her debut novel ‘Ananya: a bittersweet journey’ is the story of a modern teenager. In a generation brought up on Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Ananya’s story emerges as a source of inspiration for gen next Indian teenage girls. Pregnant at seventeen, the novel highlights a young girl’s introduction to patriarchal constraints; the breaking of a ‘safe’ bubble and the journey down her discovery of a flawed, extremely biased and prejudiced society of apparent ‘well-wishers’. It deals with the various complexities involved in teenage lives.
Your book ‘Ananya: a bittersweet journey’ is set in the city of Pune. What made you choose Pune as the setting?
Being based in the city, Pune as a setting was something that came naturally to me. I wanted the story to be set in something that was in between a rural and a metro, a contemporary setting and hence chose Pune. From the bungalow culture to the swanky neighbourhoods in different parts of the city, the story covers it all. I have tried to get all the aspects of the city life into the story through my characters journey in the book
What attracts you to the city?
Firstly it’s the people of Pune that are really nice. The other aspect of the city is the culture. The music and art festivals, exhibitions are also something that defines the city and that appeals a lot to me. And lastly Pune being an educational hub with a large number of educational institutions and students from across the globe is also something that I like very much.
How do these aspects inspire you to write?
I draw my inspiration from real life. By nature I am a keen observer and a curious person. Life provides me with a very rich and fascinating canvas of people, emotions and situations. The people in the city love to read and the libraries in and around the city are a wonderful example of that. The culture of the city is another inspiration for writers as we get a lot to see and can come up with more stories to tell.
How has the response been to your debut novel so far?
The best part of the journey has been the warm reader reviews and feedback. The book has been received well with encouraging reviews from bestselling authors and celebrities such as Dr Shashi Tharoor, Mainak Dhar, Ira Trivedi, Ahmed Faiyaz and Milan Vora.
What’s next in line for you?
In terms of writing, I have finished writing my second book. The story has a female protagonist and deals with the underbelly of the stock markets.