We are delighted to have this opportunity to interact with Parul A Mittal. We have known her as the author of the hugely popular national bestseller Heartbreaks & Dreams! – The Girls@ IIT and also the brain behind e-venture Rivokids. This interview intends to take you readers deep down further to explore one ‘woman all-rounder’, ranging from a caring mother to a talent nurturer to a wonderful author. Especially for all those new upcoming writers from diversified background, here is something to know and learn about. Apart from reading and writing fiction (which appreciably includes a six hour daily exercise, to keep her imagining-n-writing synchronization intact), her interest in Old Hindi Music, Jiving & Partying and Staying fit gives us some kind of very discrete yet interesting picture of Parul A Mittal the author.
Therefore, In order to quench our thirst of knowing yet another wonderful personality, we would like to share with our readers a bit more about Parul A Mittal, keeping in mind about her second book "Arranged Love" having released few months ago –
1. Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi (1995), a pretty lucrative degree we must confess. Had it any role for influencing you towards writing, if not what was it?
The degree itself did little to influence me to write, but being a girl from IIT played a huge role in making me an author! And I have none other than the mighty Chetan Bhagat’s book Five Point Someone’ s total dismissal of the IIT Girl species to thank for the same.
2. Hughes, IBM Research and Nextag i.e. your employers, any connection among them to be linked with your genre of writing or is it completely your free-ride?
My genre of writing is light read romance so far, but this may change with my next novel. I have learnt a lot from each of my jobs. The office romance at Hughes, the number of patents and research papers that I wrote at IBM Research, and the young environment at Nextag, have in some way contributed to my writing skills I would think..
3. What is it about IIT (apart from you being its alumnus), that always emerges to be somewhere linked with your Protagonist's character one-way-or-other?
IIT is so deeply ingrained in my psyche and I am so surrounded by IITians, from husband to friends, that it seeps through unconsciously into my characters. Although having written two such books already, I will try to have non-IIT related Protagonists in my next novel.
4. You have expressed your sentiments about Young India's better-half selection process and how this gets affected by various psychological factors. What actually this big-fat Indian wedding appears to you?
For majority of India, with arranged marriage still being the norm, big-fat Indian wedding is a maximizing the match between cultural, philosophical, religious, and economic backgrounds of the bride and groom families.
5. And now, as your novel is on the verge of being turned into a film. What changes did this entail in terms of dramatizing the characters and replacing Fictional language in a 'DESI ISHTYLE' to portray?
The novel has not been accepted for any film production yet although there have been some indication of interest. With Hinglish being more and more acceptable, I hope the language will not require a lot of change as a lot of double entendre in my book Arranged Love is due to the word play. The characters are quite dramatized and very well sketched out so I don’t think that should be an issue.
6. The action in the novel evolves gradually and is very convincing, but will the film hit us in same tempo or rather being rapid & sudden?
Can’t answer this as of now till any deal is finalized.
7. One wonders how actually Marriage is viewed in America. In India, for example, the idealists never-favored the love-marriages but now they are giving-in. In US, people always tend to be looking forward even after their very first or second or third attempt to settle-down doesn't go fine. What's your take on this?
Americans are more practical perhaps when it comes to letting go of a relationship. Separating or divorcing is not such a taboo in western culture. Although, freedom is not always good and sometimes I feel Indians makes more effort to make a relationship work. What we really need is a balance in between, where you shouldn’t have to stick in a relationship gone awry because of societal expectations and yet you shouldn’t walk out without giving it the due time and efforts.
8. Well, your venture RivoKids is about nurturing kids in this fast-paced era where smart ideas can play an important role. Tell us more about its journey from ideation to conceptualization stages of development.
It was August 2011. After twelve years of corporate experience in e-commerce domain and technology, I was working as freelance IT consultant for online solutions, when I felt the desire to do something more. It was at this time that I started looking to do something that could give me scale and yet allow me the time flexibility and the ability to work from home. The first thing one needs to start a business is a partner. I was very lucky to find my business partner in my friend Ritu Uberoy, who shared the same vision and goals as me. After few months of brainstorming, we zeroed in on the one thing we were both passionate about – Raising Bright Happy Kids. We realized that we both were very actively involved parents who took a lot of effort in searching for the right books, board games and activities for our kids. As Parents, we had also experienced a strong need for an online Memory or Scrapbook to capture the MeethiMemories of our Parenting journey. Since there was really no such platform available, RivoKids was conceptualized with the tagline – Smart Ideas & Fun Moments – to HELP parents Raise Bright, Happy, Talented Kids. RivoKids, India’s first Community for Parents & Kids, was launched in August 2012.
9. From Lady Irwin School, New Delhi to Navrachna School, Baroda; Any academic personality who has been quite influential in your life and has affected you while coming up with RivoKids?
My teachers in school were my idols. I was especially fond of Math and my Math teachers. But I am unable to think of any famous personality who influenced my entrepreneurship decision. It’s mostly friends and family with whom I brainstormed before coming up with RivoKids.
10. At UMich, Ann Arbor how famous our Indian origin authors are, if at-all they are?
Not sure. My friends back in the US have read my books but I don’t think the AA campus knows about me. Maybe you can help change.
11. After spending more than a decade with the corporates, how smooth was this transition from a world full of regulations & policies to an environment of mind-free imagination?
It’s been a ride with ups and downs. I enjoy not having to travel in traffic or sit in boring meetings while I could be spending that time with my little ones. On the other hand, I miss the networking and socialization that happens when you are working in a corporate. I am a very self-disciplined person and can deliver on deadlines while working from home, despite the distractions like courier delivery and errands that exist in any home. I love the freedom but I miss meeting friends.
12. Any inspirational tips you would like to leave our readers with?
Lean In — this is my mantra as of today!
13. Do you think a writer has any role to play in situations about cultural understanding among communities?
I think writers have a very important role to play when it comes to how people perceive and understand a society or culture that they are not a part of and they have only read about. I also feel that this is a strong factor behind a writer’s drive to share his/her experience with the world.
IndiaBookStore thanks Parul A Mittal for taking out time from her busy schedule for this interview and also wish her all the very best for her next potential bestseller.