Yasmeen Premji pens it down

Aug 28, 2012, 06:18 IST | Shakti Shetty

Yasmeen Premji is notoriously media-shy. But her debut novel set in colonial times helped shed that image to a certain extent as she was in the city for its promotion.

As a former assistant- editor of a leading design magazine, she’s well-versed in ways of the print world but the wife of business tycoon and philanthropist Azim Premji, Yasmeen took more than two decades to pen her first book. “My next book might happen in next life,” she quips. In a tête-à-tête with CS, she speaks about her love for storytelling, generation gap and a lot more.

Yasmeen Premji
Who: Yasmeen Premji 
What: Talking about her debut novel

From Bombay to Mumbai
I’m not comparing the Bombay I grew up in and the Mumbai we have today. There’s nothing to compare. Though the central character in my book migrates to Bombay in pursuit of his dreams like many others, the city itself is a pivotal character on its own. People come and go, the city remains. It’s important to note where the change lies.

Going with the flow
I’m terrible at taking notes and coherent episodes don’t come up that easily. You have to be chronologically accurate as it’s set in a fascinating period. There has to be a tangible hold to the entire story without resorting to stereotypes. There are no hard villains, just differing timeline. It’s an attempt at yarning a beautiful story. And while writing I realised that I’m not a pen person so a lot of pencils got sharpened away (laughs).

Surprise, surprise!
Azim didn’t even know that I was writing a book. But being a curious person that he is, he used to ask me what I was scribbling! I was very secretive as I was writing for myself, not fame. I told my family about it only after the publishing deal was complete. They were pleasantly surprised!

On my bookshelf
I’ve read Sudha Murthy’s books and I’ve heard some of her stories from herself. We both come from a generation that liked stories and never complained even if the same tales were told by our elders time and again. Today’s generation lacks patience. Interestingly, I’m reading Chetan Bhagat’s book as I don’t want to be out of touch with what the youth is thinking and discussing. During our times, the generation gap between parents and kids wasn’t that huge. Today, that gap could be enormous, even between siblings. 

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