Interview featuring Kritida Gautam on her latest book I am 16 I can rape – A novel

 

Kirtida is a clinical psychologist turned screenplay writer who completed her education from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, India. Her passion for psychology and writing inspired her into writing psychological thrillers. A social message is hidden in the book which compels the reader to think again and again.  Rape laws in order to be of great deterrence, must have a cooperative victim, professional investigation, diligent prosecution; and an expeditious trial. For otherwise it shall not be the law, that fails, but the applicants, the process and application. What makes rape sentencing different from sentencing for other crimes? Unlike other offences, the crime of rape carries its own baggage. Over the years, stereotypical and patriarchal notions have developed with regard to women’s sexual behavior. Most of these notions are based on the assumption that the chastity and virginity of a woman are her most important “assets.” Popular notions consider rape as a fate worse than death since it robs women of these “virtues” and casts a stigma over victims for the rest of their lives. In these imaginations, rape is not a crime against a woman’s sexual autonomy or bodily integrity, but an irreparable loss to her chastity, “modesty,” and social standing. Her interview follows :-

Q.1. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.

The novel #IAm16ICanRape: The War Against Rape Culture questions the juvenile justice system of India and raises opinion against growing rape culture.

Q.2. Briefly, what led up to this book?

When I read about the Nirbhaya rape case in the newspaper, like many Indians, I felt terrible rage towards the people who tortured her. But what baffled me the most was the fact that the state was not considering the severity of the crime while deciding the punishment for the juvenile in the case. I studied gender violence and juvenile delinquency for two years to figure out if the action of the state makes sense. Even though my knowledge about gender violence has increased a lot, as a psychologist, I still think that it is an inappropriate lethargy on the part of the state to provide the juvenile justice system umbrella to the youth of the country. The state is doing a disservice to the youth by playing the Blind father Dhrithrashtra.

Q.3.  What’s next?

Gender violence and the power struggle between feminine and masculine energies is the theme of the series I am writing at the moment. It’s called the Yin Yang Series.

I am editing the second book of this series and writing the third book.

Q.4. Why do you write?

I write upmarket psychological thrillers. I write because that keeps me sane and makes me a more tolerant person.

Q.5.Which novelists do you admire?

I enjoy reading plays more than I enjoy reading novels. My favorite playwrights are, Anthon Chekhov, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Vijay Tendulkar.

Q.6. Describe the route to your first novel being published?

I never thought of myself as a novel writer. I am a clinical psychologist turned screenplay writer. When I started with this project, it was supposed to be a screenplay, but someone on the road, I knew that the story is a novel.

I never approached any publication house and went straight to the self-publishing route because I wanted to create the dialogue on the topic of growing rape culture in India. And I felt a sense of urgency in starting the dialogue.

I finished the final draft of the book on 31stMarch, 2015. I got it edited during April and May and I published it using Kindle Direct Publishing on 20thMay, 2015.

It’s after I started getting great reviews and feedback about the book that I realized I had touched a raw nerve with my readers. This book is one person’s voice, and everyone’s opinion.

Q.7. What are your other works?

I have wrote 2 shows for television. First one was Dharampatni for DJ’s Creative Unit, which was a modern day interpretation of Kastur Gandhi’s life. And second show was Jodha Akbar for Balaji Telefilms.

Q.8.What have been your inspirations?

Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and Sigmund Freud. These guys were geniuses.

I am also deeply inspired by Indian classic literature. The Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Geeta are my sources of inspiration.

Q.9. On what spheres of life have you worked on?

Physical, Emotional, Professional, Social, and these days I am working on Creational sphere. Spiritual sphere is a place I know in theory, but I have not evolved to the level of reaching to that sphere, not so far.

Q.10. Did you belong to any literary movement ? If so , please describe.

During my highs of megalomania and narcissism, I postulate that I am starting a literary movement in India.

It’s called

FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE SPEAK THE TRUTH J

Jokes apart, I strongly support and take inspiration from:

Realism- The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.

Existentialism- A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

Q.11. What is your opinion regarding the young generation writers?

I am the younger generation of writers 😛

A writer’s life starts at the age of 30. I am 4 years old, still a toddler.

Q.12.Any suggestion / advice to our readers/ INSPIRING NOVELIST?

3 Advices

Write everyday- even if you write just stream of consciousness writing.

Try and bring discipline in other areas of life- regular exercise is something that will make you a better writer.

Read like your life as a writer depends on it- it does!

 

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