Meet 25-year-old dentist-turned-author and copy writer, Dr Nikita Lalwani whose latest book, ‘2 Peg ke Baad’ (What happens after 2 pegs!) was launched on World Book Day at Hive, Khar in Mumbai. The book touches sensitive topics such as companionship, cross border love, a transgender coming out of the closet and close encounters with Shemales.
The author who hails from Jabalpur, a small district in Madhya Pradesh wrote her first article at the age of 15 in local newspaper where the idea, she says, was to confront people with the long running conflict in her mind. The article focused on why girls have restriction. Dr Lalwani is no stranger to writing for she penned her first book at the age of 16, Live Life…Stop Analysing It. Her latest, ‘2 Pegs ke Baad’ is a collection of short stories which she says, “My mother says, after 2 pegs, nothing could go right’. But I feel that the world and the most happening stories come up only after 2 pegs; so that’s how I decided to come up with a short story collection.”
The copy writer speaks about the stories concocted in her book and how she became a writer, moving away from dentistry. Dr Lalwani is represented by Dr. Lalwani is ably represented by Sarvashreshtha Solutions and AGENCY09 and a big thank you to Mayura Amrakant of Sarvashreshtha Solutions LLP who facilitated the interview.
Interview: Dr Nikita Lalwani
- 2 Peg ke Baad! So much can happen after smelling liquor, right. How did a coffee enthusiast tooth extractor, read dentist, shifted gear to 2 pegs of life?
The best feeling in the world is Euphoria. I got it while I was exploring the insane stories that were spun ‘2 peg ke baad’, even without actually getting drunk.
- After how many 2 pegs, the dentist realized that it’s time to concoct stories about liquor to sway readers on a high?
Honestly, I don’t drink. I used to, back in college days, but not anymore. For me, the idea of writing on this angel was to bring up the variety of human emotions that lie within us and surface ‘2 peg ke baad’. I love to study human behaviour. And, what could make the study more interesting than a situation where they all talked neat?
- Tell us your story and the shift from dentistry to being a copy writer. Would you say that life has just started for you in this new journey of self-discovery?
I wouldn’t say ‘started’, but I have explored a lot of things so far, in the journey of discovering myself. I am quite content and clear with my goals for life.
Fortunately or unfortunately, everything in my life that I cherish and am very serious about happened to me out of the blue. I took up dentistry out of ‘social pressure’, and copy-writing was never a part of the plan. However, writing has been there for a very long time (since I was in 10th grade), and will always be there for me.
- There are 14 stories, right from relationships to the Ghats, sex and much more. Has your observation of life in its simplest hues and complexities played a part in penning the book? How much do you draw from real life events and personalities?
I would say, if I may , that every story has a little bit of me in it. There are few stories which are entirely someone else’s; in that case, I am the spectator. There are few stories where I could clearly relate myself with the character – Papier Blanc, My last painting, Drive-in-sanity and a few more.
- How long it took you to write 14 short stories and did it happen when you first landed in Mumbai? To what extent Maximum City and your home land played a part as characters?
It took me about 7 months to finish my first draft. I started the blog simultaneously with my job, so the only time I used to get to write was after office. It was last year, when I put my pen down, i.e., before I came to Mumbai. Cities didn’t play much role, but personal life experiences absolutely did.
- Every writer has a story behind a book. What’s the story behind ‘2 Peg ke Baad’?
I appreciate people who talk neat. I do not prefer to glace up while talking and that reflects in my writings. In fact, that’s the reason I chose to write in the first place. The thought behind making people speak ‘2 peg ke baad’ is to make sure they speak their heart out, and without being politically correct. After all, in a country like ours, how often do we get a chance to be honest in our opinions and beliefs?
- I gotta make you confess, like your characters. What’s your story and the most awkward one after 2 pegs?
There’s one story – drive-in-sanity, where one of the characters gets drunk and has an interaction with complete strange guys. The girl ran away from a party but was hoping for some guy to ask her out. Before the strange guys leave, she asks them if the guys had friends and then slips in saying, ‘I want one’. I have been there!
However, in most scenarios, I have been on the receiving side of the story, where I was responsible for taking care of my drunken friends.
- The book is all about being intoxicated high and it seems you haven’t left any stone unturned in depicting companionship, cross over love and a transgender coming out of the closet?
Absolutely, and I feel that’s the best part. The book has various tastes, at least one for everyone.
- What’s the thing about Shemales & Love? How it fascinated and intrigued you to tell this story, something you observed closely?
Now, this one is again derived from a true story. I had my first encounter with a shemale when I was on a trip to Thailand, and I found them stunning.
- These are stories that take place in metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Do things happen differently in small towns?
I don’t think so. ‘2 peg ke baad’…how does it matter whether you are in Singapore or Singhroli. You feel good; job done well!
- You said, ‘I consider myself being married to writing. So no matter what I do for a living, I can never ignore writing’. How often do you manage to write and the boyfriend or prospective one doesn’t feel jealousy pangs for being the other guy in your life?
Lol. That’s very interesting! As of now I am not dating anyone, so I manage to make time for my writing after work, at times on weekends as well. I have already started to work on my next book. However, right now I am more on the research part.
- Coffee enthusiast and rebel. How did you take dentistry and tell us about the quirky characters you met during the extraction and ended up taking reality-turned fiction from their lives. Did you ever get ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ for making the shift?
The ‘Log kya Kahenge’ was there all the time! I now realise that it was more in my head than for real.
Frankly speaking, I’ve never enjoyed my job as a dentist; never, except orthodontics, where we weren’t given any patients at BDS level. So, I would come up with some or the other excuses to not get patients, although, it never worked very well. I think the best moment in every dental student’s life is when they deliver the first denture made by them to the patient, and it fits well. That moment is pure bliss.