All of 25 years old, Sneha Mehta is already a published author – of not one but three books! Her latest book, called Change Your Life is published by Random House India and explores the alternative healing techniques available to Indians today. Read IndiaBookStore’s interview with Sneha Mehta. And check out her website here.
1. All 3 of your books have been on diverse topics. How do you choose what to write about?
I usually go by intuition and of course, a bit of ‘what-will-sell’. I am not very proud of my first book but it has helped me grow in terms of expressing my anger and frustrations. The idea of “21 Things Every girl should know…’ came when I was in the bathroom and a dear friend called (crying)to say that she slept with another ‘new boyfriend’ and that she feels cheated, all over again. I knew that something was wrong with HER and not with the guys she was falling for. When you have back to back failed relationships, something is missing in YOU and not in your guy/gal. I felt that all of such deep psychological concepts needed to be explained in a very simple and humorous manner, which eventually gave birth to ‘21 things…’ My third ‘Change Your Life’ is about supernatural and hidden healing therapies, most of which I have been practicing since I was 16.
2. You are very outspoken on your blog, and your quotes often seem provocative. Do you worry about offending people?
Umm…nobody has ever told me that before. I don’t write anything with the intention of provoking anything. That’s cheap. And shallow. Rakhi sawant and Mallika Sherwat have been doing so and see where they stand today – nowhere that is. I have my own views on premarital sex, marriage, formal education and value system. They are more influenced by logic and what is factual than what stands ‘politically correct’ for the society. If someone says receding hair is a sign of coming wealth, I ask whether all billionaires in the world are confronting receding hair. If someone says ‘Sex is sin’, I tell them ‘Yeah yeah…the same sin through which the God that you bow down to was born.’ I do feel that the Indian mindset is more influenced by ‘Big man- must be right’ than factual reasoning.
3. Did you try any of the strategies covered in your book – – Sudarshan Kriya, Astrology, Tarot, Emotional Freedom – yourself?
Oh, all of them! I wouldn’t write about anything without experiencing anything. And a few healing techniques did turn out fraud. I have mentioned my personal experiences in the book too. I stayed in the Bangalore International ashram for the AOL course. I met Bejan Daruwalla in Udaipur and mentioned to him straight away why I don’t believe in referring an astrologer. I practice Sudarshan Kriya and Emotional freedom technique everyday and teach EFT in the workshops that I conduct through various agencies. You can visit www.snehamehta.com to know more about my work.
4. How did you differentiate between the quacks practicing a particular technique, and the sincere folks trying to help?
The quacks would be very egoistic. You don’t say, ‘I can pick a glass’ because you KNOW that you can pick a glass. So if you have healed someone, you don’t say “I have healed” for it is well within your boundaries and nothing exceptional. Some indulged in sexist talks and I didn’t like that.
5. Coming back to your previous book, 21 Things Every Girl Should Know. In light of the horrific stories of violence against women in recent times, do you feel like adding self-defense to the ’21 things’ a girl should know? What else would you add to the book?
Let’s not presume that rape and gang-rape didn’t happen before. Just that the media is more vigilant now and so is the common man. The self defense in our society should be more psychological than physical. We women make half of the world and come on; we can’t blame men for all that is wrong in the world. Women have done far more wrong to women than men. If we can teach karate to our daughters, why can’t we teach sexual decency to our sons? India is the only country with a special cell for mother-in-laws in Tihar jail where they keep the culprits on the account of dowry deaths and harassment. It’s not just the men in the family who insists on taking the ‘third chance’ when the first two children are girls. Its women. The mother-in-law. It’s so shallow to think that your happiness depends NOT on your child but the gender of your child. If we women can’t even respect our own gender, how can we expect men to have a different attitude towards us? So you see, the problem is deep rooted, all of which is mentioned in “21 Things…”
6. With so many things on your plate, how do you unwind?
I enjoy being busy. Both I and my mum get hysterical if we don’t have anything to do. I get up 6 or 7, finish off my yoga and sudarshan kriya by 9, have my breakfast and then, make the To-Do list. Work becomes easy when you take one thing at a time and divide different slots for it.
7. What’s the best thing about being a writer? And what’s the worst?
The best thing is that you don’t become a writer for others, you become one for yourself. Because YOU have a story to tell. Whether it will be read or not or whether you will sell or not is a different story. Just telling what you have been holding in your heart lightens the weight you had been carrying for all this while. It eases you out. The bad part is the fact that you require you to sit in a cave, all alone, for a long time. I mean, look at me, I started writing at 22 and I am 25 today and I have no idea how I spent my early twenties. Which is why I don’t even want to think of penning down a book for the next two years.
8. How was your experience working with Grapevine India and Random House?
The best thing about Grapevine India is that they aren’t publishing anything and everything that is coming on their plate. They could easily fall for publishing anything but its good that they are being selective. It’s still a new house and they are getting there. Random House on the other hand is been there for such a long time. Their editing and marketing services are par excellence and everything is well structured. The other day I was talking to an author friend and he too mentioned that when you give your book to RHI, you feel that you should also include the name of the editor as a co-author for she has worked equally hard on the book.
9. Who are your favorite contemporary authors?
I don’t even read much actually. Just 5-6 books a year. Recently, I have also developed panache for ‘50 shades…’ types. I read nonfiction mostly – biographies, religion, spirituality and infotainment. But a few months back, I read ‘Life is what you Make it’ by Preety Shenoy and I liked it.
Thank you very much, Ms. Sneha Mehta, for taking time out from your busy schedule for this interview with IndiaBookStore! We wish you all the best for your future endeavors!