Go Trotting! with Madhuri Banerjee
Madhuri Banerjee is the author of the national bestselling novel `Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas’ that has sold over 40,000 copies already. She also manages her own production house, writes poetry when it rains, contributes to the IBN blog regularly, travels like a nomad, tweets endlessly and drinks pots of chai! She is also a mother, an ad film director and writes film scripts. Phew!
How does travel influence the work you create/write?
Travel is extremely important for a writer or any creative person. It enables your mind to explore different regions, people, cultures, languages, history, food and traditions. And within the wide tapestry of the new land you find stories. Stories that inspire, motivate, educate, encourage, and bring solace to your own life. I personally get the travel bug every week and need to get away from the minutiae of daily domesticity to be able to write clearly. Even if I don’t go off on an expedition, I try to get away for 24 hours to a quiet place where my mind can be free. For longer vacations I plan a trip with a girlfriend or family.
Have you been to any place while traveling where the people made a distinct impression on you?
Turkey. I loved traipsing through the wild contours of Cappadocia and meeting people who would talk about their land with great pride. I fell in love with Istanbul where the people welcomed you into their homes and culture with great affection. My favourite place on this planet however is Barcelona. My book Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas has the protagonist finding her true love in Barcelona. The love that emanates from the people in that city is like an electric vibe that you can feel the minute you land at the airport. I am also greatly fond of Rome and the Italians. Their unabashed manner of expressing love and the deep sense of family and tradition is something that Indians need to imbibe.
Can you think of any books that have influenced the way that you view a city or region?
Maximum City by Suketu Mehta describes Mumbai in all its grittiness and vulnerability that a city needs to have. I had been living in Mumbai for over a decade having shifted from Delhi. I knew I loved the city of Bombay but I could never put my finger on why. After reading the book I felt like I was a part of the whole system that Mumbai depicts.
What is your idea of a perfect holiday?
A perfect holiday needs to encompass a range of things for me. I would love to stay in a city that allows me to explore the nuances of its place to its full extent. My ideal day would be warm sun beating down on me, sitting in a caf © sipping deliciously strong coffee and writing for several hours. Post that I would get a massage, meet people and share stories, go shopping in the local bazaar for trinkets, explore the history of its sites, enjoy the nightlife and wake up to an iridescent sunrise, and start the day all over again. That would be an ideal holiday.
What was your most recent travel experience?
I went to Kerala and took a houseboat for a day. It was a world-class experience. We had a chef that made the most awesome breakfast, lunch and tea for us while we went through the backwaters of Kerala soaking in the tall palm trees. There were two air conditioned rooms that had crisp, white cotton sheets and a toilet that was immaculately hygienic with products galore. The soothing sounds of the boat as it maneuvered its way through the waters helped us take a much-needed siesta. A truly glorious experience. Everyone in their life must try it at least once.
And where do you want to go next?
I want to travel to Greece and Egypt. Their history is beckoning me and despite the global meltdown, the large expanse of blue waters, the grand kings of their past and the mystery of their people seems to make me itch to book a ticket immediately. I am hoping to be able to travel during summer of 2012 since I am a complete warm climate child; cold climates and vacations do not excite me in the least bit. So the ice hotels of Iceland can wait!
What do you always take with you?
I always take 1) A notebook and a pen to write. 2) A few books to read. 3) Plenty of sunblock that suits me. 4) Good pair of walking shoes 5) A decent camera. 6) A nice shawl to wrap yourself, in case it gets chilly anywhere.
Your best piece of travel advice?
Be open to change. Even if you have planned for things, while traveling situations take their own course. And even if you don’t check off all the things you’ve done on that list, enjoy the moments to the fullest.
What is your book about?
Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas is about a woman named Kaveri. She is thirty, single, knows seven languages, is an interpreter by profession, has read all the books about men and how to get a date. Yet, she has not been able to decipher the language of love. Since the right man has eluded her for thirty years and might never show up, she decides to take matters into her own hands. On her thirtieth birthday she makes a resolution”for love or not, she is going to lose her virginity. A decision that, she later realizes, is more difficult to implement than she thought. After a spate of disastrous dates, Kaveri is ready to give up on men. But just then she meets ‘THE ONE GREAT LOVE’ of her life. He has Greek-god looks, intelligence to match her own, charm that makes her go weak in the knees, and is as much smitten by her, as she is by him. Life however, being greatly fond of irony, has other plans!
This is a story of a spirited woman who plunges into a rollercoaster ride filled with ideas, ideals and adventures”each new day competing with yesterday to make her rethink and re-evaluate life and love.
You can order it from Flipkart.
What else is happening on the creative front?
I am writing a sequel to my debut novel. It is called Mistakes Like Love and Sex. I have an IBN blog and a personal blog where I write. I also contribute to the Asian Age bi-monthly as Kaveri Love Guru where women write in about their issues and I try to put in advice as how my character Kaveri would say.
I am also active on twitter where you can hear my daily thoughts on love, life, motherhood and travel.