'Escaping from realities and following her heart's desire'

ANI | Updated: Mar 10, 2018 17:22 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 10 (ANI): "The urban woman today can demand and talk of being free and equal with more conviction than she can actually live it," according to author Shefali Tripathi Mehta.

In today's world, people can be seen pursuing equality despite the obvious diminished freedom it creates.

Talking about her first novella 'Stuck Like Lint' - which is a story within stories - Mehta told ANI, "I did not set out to write women-centric stories. It was after I had written these that I realized that there was a common thread running through them - women feeling trapped not just by societal constraints but being prisoners of their own minds."

"There are unseen, unspoken moral, social, cultural constraints that she has learned to circumvent to go after what she wants while maintaining an apparent social face. She gets by with prudence or cunning but when pushed to the brink, she challenges norms. Women are emotionally abused in many, many subtle ways not only by men but by women themselves - this must be talked about. Morality has been the burden of women - this needs to be talked about. Women are more affected by emotional dilemmas then men, this too needs to be talked about."

So, do we need to focus more on female-centric writings? "We don't say, 'men hold up half the sky', it's a given. But we feel very proud when we say that about women. Why is it not a given? When we try to consciously draw attention to anyone, anything - we make the difference more pronounced - so I wish, we didn't need to focus on women-centric writing. But so as long as there is the need to prefix 'women' to anything - women's coach, woman officer, woman bus driver or women's writing, which means it is not commonplace, and as long as it is not commonplace, there is need to focus on writing the woman's point of view."

Talking about her first novella - which was published in December - Shefali said, "The frame story of 'Stuck Like Lint' is about the relationship between an editor and a writer. The editor is the narrator and is reading the writer's new collection of short stories and wondering why she was kept in the dark about the book. The narrative is interspersed with the editor's musings about her relationship with the writer until at last the reality of writer's disappearance from her life unravels itself in the final story."

"The stories, told mostly from the woman's point of view but several in the male voice too, are about women who seem to be living the most commonplace lives but each of them is also living a complex life within; each one is devising her own escape from the realities and challenges of love, marriage, motherhood, to follow her heart's desire, often in unexpected ways. The stories offer a look into the female psyche."

Shefali is presently working on the final drafts of a novel and a non-fiction book on the genesis and journey of a non-profit organisation she is associated with. (ANI)