Tick-Tock: The Thrilling Vohra

Turning thirty can be scary, or a downright laugh riot. Executive Traveller finds out more about the boook and the author, Milan Vohra.
Sreejita Biswas

The Beginning
“Writing has been a part of me for as long as I can remember… writing the usual openings and closings for college debates, editing the festival magazine…that kind of thing,” starts Milan in response to being asked about her literary roots. Coming from a family of leisurely letter writers, a path littered with words was indeed a natural one for her to follow. And it was this love for words that led her towards advertising and ideating “Till one tipsy night I entered a Harlequin Mills & Boon short story contest on a lark and ended up becoming India’s first M&B author,” she says.

From the best-selling Mills and Boons, The Love Asana to Tick-tock We’re 30, the journey, not to mention, was one hell of a ride. “Writing ‘The Love Asana’ as a short story happened on an impulse. It became bigger than anything I could have imagined. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that the very thought of an M&B that would have all things Indian for the first time – pretty much excited every reading Indian woman’s imagination to some extent, including myself of course,” she smiles. Armed with a whacky sense of humour, a fantastic imagination and of course oodles of fun, her journey as a writer did not come to halt after the stint with Mills and Boons. After penning down a few short stories for young adults for Penguin India, Vohra rolled up her sleeves and got down to some serious business. Enraged by her gang of friends from Delhi, who never helped materialize the ‘reunion at the millennium’, she decided to go ahead with the yet to happen reunion… but with a whole new set of friends. “One day I just decided – this is it. Now’s I’m just going to invent a new set of friends and have a reunion. This book is my revenge,” she chuckles.

The Ticking Tale

In many ways, a tale of coming of age, this book is the epitome of muck-ups, drama and of course plenty of laughs. “This book, about a bunch of twelve friends who made a pact to meet again when they all turn 30. Since Lara is the youngest in the gang, it’s timed around that. There’s also another pact Lara had made one tipsy evening with Nishad. To marry each other if neither of them were hitched by 30! The last thing Lara wants is to give Nishad the pleasure of knowing he was right – about Ranndeep her bad-ass ex boyfriend being so wrong for her,” reveals the author. With incidents ranging from the tension of making up a fake-new boyfriend for a reunion, falling head over heels with an old sort-of-boyfriend, seeing your best friend flirting with him and meeting your ex-boyfriend who says he still loves you, the book is fast-paced, easy to read and of course, it makes us all look at friendships we have taken for granted in a whole new light. “Within this completely crazy plot, the book really revisits old relationships. The imperfections within friendships: the jealousies, the competitiveness, the protectiveness, the unspoken kindnesses… And it never stops being completely kooky!”

Write on Target

With everyone unanimously agreeing that the book is indeed a great read, praises have been doing the rounds of the Internet. So while critics and bloggers unanimously agree about the quick-witted tale punctuated with plenty of laugh out loud moments, Vohra shares with us her favourite response, “It was from a reader who put a post on my social network wall, saying my books should come with a note: “Don’t drink and read.” Apparently he spurted out his piping hot coffee at some cafe while reading the book and scalded himself in the process. Claims it is the closest he’s come to saying he ‘nearly died laughing”!”

And while she basks in the glorious success of her new book, she has a tip or two about writing to share. “When writer’s block strikes, I stop writing!” she exclaims. “I play online games. When all else fails, I go yell at some people. Once the steam is out, I come back nice and calm, ready to write again,” Vohra laughs loudly.

With a very simple mantra defining the essence of her works, she starts by reading whatever she has written aloud every few days. “. Perspective and hearing something said out loud helps me be a little detached and see what’s working. I also never ever keep any reference papers or screens open in front of me when I write,” she adds. For her, writing is a very personal act that includes “only my recycled paper, my bag of disposable pens and me.”

Though good writers in India are not a thing out of the ordinary, the sudden upsurge of individuals who believe that they can write has also been on her mind. “It is very sad when good writers don’t get their due. But I don’t begrudge anybody their readers. It doesn’t matter whether I think they are talented or not. That’s too subjective an opinion. There are people who read them, who think they are good. Just the fact that people are reading can only be celebrated. Reading tastes, like other tastes have been known to change over time” she winks mischievously.

As the conversation draws to a conclusion, she parts with one valuable bit of advice to all aspiring writers, “Don’t postpone writing. Don’t wait to get right. Just write!”

 

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