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Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

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Year after year, we look forward to new voices that guide us to places we never would have ventured to. This year too, we shortlisted in our Literature issue four brilliant debut authors who have conjured up stories that are deep, entertaining, real and surreal. The Heavens We Chase by Lavanya chronicles the lives of a dysfunctional family. It is the story of the choices they make that not only shape their lives but also that of others, rightly or wrongly. In The Wedding Photographer, Sakshama takes us on a rollercoaster ride of wit, chemistry and full-blown drama amidst a Big Fat Punjabi Wedding. Tejaswini’s These Circuses That Sweep Through The Landscape is a collection of stories about lives that are never ordinary—because the people living them are never quite what they seem, and Sunil sets Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist over the course of one violent afternoon during 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle and how the event changes the lives of seven people forever. All the authors come from different spaces and countries with diverse thoughts and varied experiences. Their stories make us think and their imagination makes us dream. Excerpts from my interview with Sakshama:

The Author
I was born and raised in Delhi. Prior to becoming an author, I worked as a brand manager for e-commerce, media, and telecom companies. I read romance novels the way I drink cups of coffee – fast, often, and constantly craving the next one. I currently live in San Francisco where I spend my time writing, reading, and navigating people through the correct pronunciation of my name.

The Book
The Wedding Photographer is about a full-time journalist and part-time wedding photographer, Risha Kohli, who meets dashing real-estate mogul Arjun Khanna on a flight. The filmy coincidence is that Risha is shooting Arjun’s sister’s wedding the following week. The rest of their story takes place amidst witty repartees, sarcastic eye-rolls, Bollywood references, and of course, elaborate wedding festivities! 

The Inspiration
I must confess that the meet-cute in The Wedding Photographer was inspired by a real-life event involving a mid-flight business class upgrade! Sadly, I was not the lucky individual to get upgraded, but that didn’t stop me from living vicariously through the person who did. Truth be told, writing has always been a big part of my life. I am surrounded by friends and family who have constantly encouraged and sometimes threatened me to write a book. Unwilling to spend another moment procrastinating (but mostly just to ward off the threats), I decided to take the plunge. 

The Hope
I’ve tried my best to write the type of book that I would like to read myself. So if the romantic moments make the readers sigh, and the funny scenes elicit laughter, that’s all I can hope for! 

Text Shruti Kapur Malhotra


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