Author and journalist Shobhaa De has become a media icon over the years, with her unabashed opinions and her savvy pen. Her new book ‘Seventy And to Hell With It’ releases in December. The book’s charming cover was released at Penguin Fever, the special edition of Penguin’s Spring Fever by none other than actress Vidya Balan. In this exclusive interview, De talks about writing, social media, and how she began her journey.

You talk about the writing habit — how you have been writing for  years… When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I have been writing pretty much all my life. Even as a child, I preferred crayons, chalk and a slate to dolls. So, I guess it was always there. I joke I was born with a pen, not a silver spoon, in my mouth. But I embraced writing as a full time passion/vocation in my early twenties.

What is the objective and idea behind the book?

The idea is to write! And to chronicle seven decades of a life lived as a writer, wife, mother, daughter, sister and grandmother. It is a book about moments and memories that shaped me. I am sure readers, regardless of age, will find bits and pieces of themselves in the book.

You are an institution on social media — and you mention your social media use in the book. What is your Twitter style? How do you deal with trolls and cyber bullies?

My Twitter style is consistent with my writing style, only difference being it is restricted to 140 characters. I don’t bother to ‘deal’ with trolls and cyber bullies at all. I ignore them totally. And never respond. I express an opinion. And leave it there.

You say that people are your narcotics — who are some of the most interesting people you have come across? How have they inspired you?

I meet at least one very interesting person a day. I am not kidding. Nobody bores me. I can spend as much time chatting with the dhobi as I would with a tycoon, and come away having learnt something from both

I meet amazing people constantly. But it is the stories of gypsies that fascinate me the most. Gypsies in spirit.

Which piece of writing do you feel most proud of? What’s next for you?

Writing for me has very little to do with pride per se. It is what I do. What I want to do.. It is like asking me ‘Which breath are you most proud of?” I enjoy what I do. For me, that is reward enough. What next? A holiday sounds like a great idea.

You are unafraid of speaking your opinions. What advice would you give to the young women out there who are trying to find their voices?

We all have the inner power to let our emotions and thoughts speak for us. It is important for women to recognise that strength. Recognise their own voice. And use it. Women must believe their voices are worthy of being heard. That is the first step. Every female voice counts. The world is listening, even if we think it isn’t.

Also Read: What makes Shobhaa De a Bombaywaali

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