Mridula Koshy on her latest book, her inspirations and her lifestyle.
Mridula Koshy this week launched her collection of short stories “If it is sweet”. The Delhi-based author focused on the challenges in life explaining different lifestyles and the struggles they bring. The book is centered on Delhi but also visits Oregon’s Klamath Falls and Los Angeles Sunset Boulevard. Included in the stories are characters from all walks of life including construction laborers, garbage collectors and maids. The detail of each story draws the reader into the life of the character. In “The Good Mother” the main protagonist after hearing neighboring noise decides that tools are either “made light, for smaller hands, or made cheaply, for poorer people.” This story deals with the struggles associated with being a single mother contrasted with the feelings that new love brings. Mridula explains her entry into writings as being linked with walking. Although she jokes “there was a long period of walking which never resulted in writing”. She first began after moving from Oregon to South Delhi. Back in Oregon she used walking as a means of escaping being in the house all day. She would bring her kids and nephew. It was through those walks that the stories came to her. She thought of little narratives combining images and words. This process lasted over 6 years. However after moving to Delhi and all the hustle and bustle that a big city brings she longed for solitude and for some quiet time. She continued her walks and her narratives and formed her ideas into stories. She cannot explain the difference between cities only that “it wasn’t as simple as I walked in one city and never wrote, walked in another and did”. Ironically enough much of what Mridula learnt from and what inspired her was her little niece Ella who whilst learning to talk used to make up little rhymes and story tales. Mridula took this into account and used it in her own stories. In one memory she recalls a game with her niece. Ella who at just 3 years old refers to herself in the third person got frustrated and said “She wants to get back to Ella”. This third person narrative has been a great inspiration for all of Mridulas’ stories and helps her in the writing process. Koshy’s stories are centered in Delhi. She was born and lived there before moving to Oregon at the age of 15. Because of this she say’s she feels when writing about India she “had to begin with Delhi”. In her past Mridula tried her hand at several jobs including being a silver ware polisher and waitress. She also spent a lot of time as a trade union worker which has become the inspiration of many of her stories. Her career as a trade union worker has a lot to with the stories as she was immersed in a lifestyle of dealing with immigrants struggling with anxiety. She came to realise that in US she was a second class citizen and she used this to help her understand the turmoil of others. Mridula is still busy at work with her next project being centered around Kerala. Other works by Mridula Koshy include Jeans in India and Intimidations of a Greater Truth. Mridula’s ‘If it is sweet’ is now available at bookshops.