Author Madhu Vajpayee tries to unravel the devil in disguise. Let’s ask her about her take on reservation policy, about Seeking Redemption and more about herself.
Welcome to my virtual chit chat
Tell the readers about you. About Madhu, the doctor, writer, mother
Madhu – the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where I have spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed me to capture its enigma in my own words and slowly it became my passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, the book SEEKING REDEMPTION is my first journey in literary world. Having done my graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow I went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. I was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and was associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. I am now settled in Melbourne, Australia with my family, where I am devoting most of my time to writing, the passion that I couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires. When not creating stories, I enjoys reading and travelling.
When did the grave reality of reservation strike your mind?
It didn’t until I saw its ill effects myself. I was raised in an environment where we never felt any caste based division. For me, everyone was equal. Not that I want to trivialize what all bad was happening and how people were discriminated based on caste but slowly during medical school and later in the profession, I could see both sides of the story. The good and no so good aspects of reservation.
Did you get any criticisms for the theme?
Not very obvious but in subtle ways, you can say. In fact I have noticed that however much people are affected by this topic but only few people are really keen to have it highlighted, albeit in a form of fiction.
It is difficult to attract publishers for such a controversial topic. How was your experience?
You have guessed it correctly. It was indeed very difficult to get publisher for this. As it is publishing world is full of uncertainties. You don’t know what gets clicked and what goes into trash. It’s a gamble. You just have to keep faith in yourself and keep going. In these circumstances, a topic like this is not a very attractive quotient but somehow I wanted to write what I felt rather than going with popular theme or what a mainstream publisher would have liked.
Tell the readers about Seeking Redemption and Meera in particular.
Seeking Redemption is a story of every youth of the country who is trying to win a losing battle in backdrop of caste based reservation and corruption prevalent in education and medical sector. It’s their effort to seek redemption from the curse that is eating away the inner fabric of such a beautiful country. The story revolves around the three main characters. There are Meera and Aman who are deeply in love and who unwittingly found themselves pitted against the system. Justice eluded her as well as Aman in their struggle for achieving the life they dreamt, the life they deserved. But, ironically while Meera rises in such difficult times, Aman falls. She tries to help him in spite of her own dilemmas but he misunderstands her. And there is Abhay, the other man in her life, a friend but who secretly loves her and gives her unconditional support through all the ups and down.
The heroine of my book Seeking Redemption, Meera was born in those very corridors of hospital where I spent best parts of my life. She is closest to my heart. Although the story of her journey, specific events of her life, problems faced by her was not exactly mine but her principles, belief and faith are mine. I saw myself in her dilemmas, in her pain, in her loss, in her triumph against her own demons.
Why didn’t you try to give more build up into Meera and Aman’s relationship?
I am happy that you could notice that. Initially I truly wanted to build up but somehow got caught up in weaving the story around controversial issue like reservation and also the corruption.
How did Ahalya character evolve? I feel that 99% mothers are like her. Being a mother, how would you view it?
It’s quiet interesting. Ahalya’s character has got shades of my mother’s nature. It was easy for me to develop her character. But being a mother now, I know at times, it’s little difficult for the daughter to adjust to such attitude and I try not to be like her.
Do you think that backward class is exploited even now?
Although things have changed drastically but definitely at some pockets in country, it’s still an issue.
Can we expect your next book soon?
My next book Romance/Social drama/mystery is under evaluation by publishers. Hope it sees light of the day by next year.
How did doctor become writer?
I don’t know exactly when but over the years, writing slowly became my best friend. From early childhood, the wonderful habit of reading that was inculcated by my father gradually turned into writing expeditions. What I couldn’t say in words or express myself in its wholeness would find its way to paper and thus began my journey as a writer from an early age. My romance with words would transcend me to the amazing world of ideas, make believe stories and ways to assuage my pain and anxiety. It would give wings to my thoughts which would soar to unimaginable heights and with them, would also soar my spirits at least, for the time being. Being in medical profession and having a soul of a writer, it was not always possible for me to remain untouched by the happenings that affected the lives of my patients. Somehow I used to get affected by every ups and downs of their lives. I worked with patients living with HIV/AIDS and it was indeed a great learning experience. I learnt from them to not to give up in life and to flow with the current of life. And the same spirit always reflect in my writings.
What is your advice to the upcoming writers?
Never give up. We are bigger than anything that can happen to us. Write because you love it. Not because you want to become author like everybody else. To get opportunity to be a published author will just be a coincidence and perhaps also your good fortune!
How do you find the future of publishing industry?
I reckon it’s very bright. Digital books might take over physical book in very distant future but presently it doesn’t look like. A feel of a book can never be replaced with computers or kindle. With so many authors waiting to soar high into sky, publishing industry could never have it better.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity for sharing my thoughts and trivia about my books with you.
PS: I should have added in the review but I did not want to bias my review that I had similar experience