A tête-à-tête with Kiran Manral
In the course of life, you meet and come across many people. Some become friends, some remain acquaintances and some leave a mark forever. My meeting with Kiran Manral could be classified as the third one. A strong feminist, she speaks her mind at all times, an acclaimed author and yet a humble personality. Join the fan club :).
She grew up in Mumbai, her dad was a bank officer who she lost at a tender age when she was just nine, so it was quite a peripatetic life, shifting between bank quarters every few years. Her mother is the ironwoman who without the costume, raised her to adulthood.
She started out as a blogger and a journalist and currently continues her journey as a columnist with SheThePeople.tv, DNA newspaper, Tehelka and Yowoto and as a social media influencer. She has been a speaker at TEDx and a mentor to many including me. Her ability to churn out books relentlessly leaves you awed.
Some of her works include The Reluctant Detective, Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Karmic Kids, A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up, The Face at the Window, Saving Maya.
Her book Karmic Kids was listed amongst the top five books on parenting by Indian authors in 2015 by the Sunday Guardian. The Face at the Window, released in 2016, was listed amongst the top 30 books written by women authors in 2016 by The Ladies Finger, as among the must-read books by contemporary women authors by BuzzingBubs and received much critical acclaim She was among the six women authors shortlisted for the Femina Women of Worth Awards in Literature for 2017. One post may not be enough to list all her acclaims but now without further delay here we have tried to unlock Kiran Manral in 11 Key questions;
What were your dreams as a child?
I have no clue. I don’t think I had any dreams except perhaps butter chicken and butter naan.
What inspired you to start writing?
I think I always wrote even as a child. Poems, stories, and really cringe-worthy stuff that anyone could blackmail me with.
How can one start writing, give some basic tips to beginners like me along with some do’s and don’t?
Read every day. Write every day.
Edit what you have written ruthlessly.
Read a thousand pages for every page you write.
Get your grammar and spelling in place.
And write for the love of it. The money, the fame, or whatever else you might be chasing are all irrelevant if you don’t enjoy the process.
We all know that you are a work from home mom, we all are aware of the problems which every home working mom’s faces, what are your thoughts on balancing this life with so much fuss?
I think you just need to be selfish. To state clearly that your work is important to you as is home, and that you have to prioritize whatever is on fire at the moment. And it’s not such a great deal as we make it out to be, you just do what needs to be done.
What inspires you, the individuals or their lives?
Both I would say because they are inextricably intertwined.
What does an author read?
Everything is written by PG Wodehouse. Three men in a boat by Jerome K Jerome. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. So many actually, where does one begin.
You were a blogger in the past and now you’ve switched into a writer, what made you take up this transformation?
I was a blogger because I was a writer in the making.
What keeps you so active, when you are such an indoor person?
I think I am constantly on the move physically, even when I am in the house. I walk while watching Netflix. Or even while reading a book.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The need to write shorter sentences and do not ramble.
Five things about Kiran Manral we don’t know?
- I don’t know how to cook, swim, drive or cycle.
- I get anxiety attacks if I’m in a crowded place.
- I am terrified of public speaking.
- I can battle rats and snakes but lizards terrify me.
- I was very talented as an artist and a singer but somehow never pursued those. Hope to pick both up someday in the future.
- What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Sticking to it and not abandoning something midway.
An inspiration to many, she leaves us inspired with these lines;
It’s never too late to be who you want to be. So even if your hopes and dreams for yourself have been derailed because of perhaps marriage, kids or any other factors, hold onto them and keep them alive. After falling off the work grid for over ten years, I got back, wrote my first book at forty, and then some more. Just keep your dreams alive. And then go live them.