Stories for and by a 'new India'
Natasha Malpani Oswal, who, apart from being a poet, is also a content producer and podcast producer, wrote her latest book, "Reinvention" after moving back to India after ten years of living abroad as she grappled with the idea of 'coming home' and 'coming of age'
Natasha is a new-age storyteller who has resonated with an entire generation. This valentine's day, Natasha is going to take you to 'The dark side of Love'.
Natasha who holds a Master's degrees from Oxford and Cambridge and an MBA from Stanford, was previously an investor in London and now runs Boundless Media, a creative house that makes high quality shows and films that are locally rooted, and resonate globally.
Natasha shares, "Our stories are for and by a new India. My first collection of poems, Boundless, captured my search for my own identity in my twenties as I built my career as an immunologist and investor in London, and then moved to California to do an MBA at Stanford. I wrote Reinvention after moving back to India after ten years of living abroad. The transition has been both difficult and rewarding. I wrote these poems as I grappled with the idea of coming 'home' and 'coming of age'. Reinvention is my personal diary- it explores the darker side of love, family and ambition. Can we preserve our identity, while being part of multiple families? What sacrifices do we have to make for success? Can we have it all- and keep it?"
At first, Natasha worried about losing the identity as she had worked so hard to build it. For her home didn't feel anything like home when she moved back.
She adds, "I transitioned from being an investor to a producer and starting my own company, and adjusting to two families. The changes were huge- but have made me stronger. I titled the book Reinvention, because the book is about the power of embracing and leaning into change. Now I believe we can absolutely keep and amplify our voice- while staying connected to our roots. I think this is a bolder book, and hopefully reflects my own personal growth post Boundless. Fiction is sometimes more real to me than my real life, I think the most truth lies in fiction."
Natasha has been writing since her childhood and has also got her stories through school and college. Hilariously, the first book that she wrote was an autobiography when she was four and had no idea what stories that she told to fill the pages, given how limited her life experience was.
"I've also always been an obsessive reader. Growing up, my punishment was having my library card taken away when I broke the rules. In retaliation, the first 'startup' I built was a library when I was nine. When I was younger, I mostly wrote short stories about coming of age, family and friends. I also wrote articles for newspapers and online portals, and dabbled in poetry, but wasn't bold enough to show the poems to anyone else.
I wrote the poems under a pen name. I enjoyed immigrant fiction even before I left the country- a part of me felt like an 'outsider' even before I left home. I've always enjoyed darkly twisted stories that have a comic undertone. I'm very excited about the slate of stories we're working on this year- we have a dark comic show, a feminist film and an animated film coming up soon. We really pour ourselves into our creative projects because I think stories resonate and connect with people when they have truth in them," adds the writer.
The dark side of love
Natasha explores the dark side of love through two chapters in the book, Freedom and Longing. This book is about coming of age- and all growing up is sad in a way. You're developing layers, shedding your innocence, you learn to hide what you really think or feel, you learn pain, betrayal- but you also learn who you really are, who you can really trust, what you really want.
Natasha thinks that real love is painful and it hurts because you have to be truly vulnerable and open with your partner, you're giving them power over you, and that's okay.
She adds, "I absolutely do not believe in settling in love. Settle is a tongue in cheek poem. I think real love is a journey and a constant choice- you have to work at it, and choose to fall in love every day. I've intentionally called relationships ties and bonds in the last chapter. The people who love you and care for you want you to be there for them, to give to them. It's what makes life worth living- but can also hold you down and back. You need to make space to grow, to think independently, to take risks, to make your own path and decisions. I think building close relationships and a community while charting your own path is a very delicate balancing act."
Sharing about how she got an idea on writing about this, she says that for her home didn't feel anything like home when she moved back.
"The chapters cover losing and rebuilding trust and relationships and the dark side of home, love and ambition, because this is what I was exploring at this time. The changes were huge but have made me stronger. I wrote the poems as notes to myself, because I wanted to keep the words as sharp and vulnerable as possible. I think poetry is the most honest and raw form of self-expression. I find the process very freeing- it's a form of therapy. I have a very distinct style of writing- the words I use are hard-hitting, evocative and have powerful imagery and rhythm, but are also very direct and simple. I think this maximizes their impact. The poems are my truest voice this is how I think," concludes Natasha.