Sudha Menon is the author of non-fiction books including Devi, Diva or She-Devil and Legacy. A former journalist and the founder of Writing with Women, a workshop series, Menon is known for her proclaimed books Leading Ladies and Women Who Inspire India. Her platform aims at getting women from diverse backgrounds together to share their experiences through writing.
SheThePeople.TV caught up with the author from suburban Mumbai town to know about her current state, and how did the idea for a book on women over fifty come about.
“My last book was Feisty at Fifty and it’s a chronicle of my adventures as a woman of fifty plus. After years of working as a journalist before turning an author ten years ago, I loved writing my fourth book on highlighting women and exploring their journeys as leaders. Then I turned 50 and realised that the world is not treating me very pleasantly. I realised a woman in her 40s or going into her 50s doesn’t exist in the world. Her emotional needs are invisible. Most people want her to disappear. She is on the fringes or the dustbin of history. She is at a stage where nobody wants to make eye contact with her or sell her anything fashionable. Because who makes denims for 50-year-olds. Nobody will sell you bold red lipstick,” said the bold author at the Bangalore Literature Festival, 2019.
— Sudha Menon (@sudhamenon2006) November 10, 2019
Getting back at the society for the discrimination, this daughter of a railway employee further added, “All these cringe-worthy moments later I realised that people are deciding for me what I should wear or how I should behave. I decided to get back at them by writing a book. It was so much fun writing this book which I can resonate with. As feedback, men and women had written back to me saying they relate to it so much so as if it’s their own story. The message for everybody who is going through the same is that no matter what the world tells you to do, you be your own self. At 50, I don’t want the world telling me that I should grey graciously and disappear into the sunset.”
“At 50, I don’t want the world telling me that I should grey graciously and disappear into the sunset.” – Sudha Menon
Talking about why women writers seem under confident as compared to men while promoting their books, Menon said, “When I write a book I write it because I am so much in love with the concept or the subject line is close to my heart. I believe what I am writing in. So when I write I hustle, intensely. I have seen women writers out there, talking about their books, making people known about her work. I certainly do it. From writing to finishing, it takes me mostly 18 months to get a book out in the market and after that for the next one year I relentlessly promote my book. I seek out people who can put labour behind selling it, I go out to forums where I can talk about it, I love using social media for promotions. I think it’s not enough anymore to just write a book. I think it’s essential to promote that baby that you have nurturer for all these months.”
“Publishers have hundreds of books to sell, everyday. So it’s your book, your job to promote them, make them distinguishable.” – Sudha Menon
“I started writing about women because I was a struggling mother who was balancing out her life as a Journalist. I was trying to be the best at my job while still holding my baby. I wanted to explore other women’s stories of how do they do it everyday. Now I realised that no matter how much I write about women and their transformation, it’s never going to be enough. Because nobody else will tell our stories so we women have to step up and do everything in our power to get published,” a bookish Menon mentions.
Talking about her flaws, Menon admitted, “It is my inability to do just one thing at a time. I am a multi-tasker which is a good quality but I apply it while writing too. I write multiple books at a time, I go to workshops, I just started my career in acting. I wish sometimes that I had a less restless soul. I only know disbalance and disbalancing is normal for me.”