Q&A: Sonali Punj Singh, Author of 'Sugar and Spice'

Sonali Punj Singh has done MBA in Marketing, worked in Corporate Communications and also worked as a lecturer of Marketing and English language. Through the course of her competitive career, she also pursued her love for writing. From a cosmopolitan lifestyle to that of the yore, she relates with people and articulates their lives in a simplistic style, making her writings joyful reads. She has recently come out with the book Sugar and Spice, which is a story of an Indian couple that thrives through family pressures, while balancing their love life.

I chat with Sonali about her book Sugar and Spice, how the book came to be, book recommendations, and much more.

Hello, Sonali! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a post graduate in marketing, with experience in corporate communications and teaching. I have my own ventures which keep me busy, and also allowing me to fulfil my role as a mother to my two pretty angels.

If you could only describe your book Sugar and Spice in one sentence, what would it be?

Sugar and Spice is a subtle and costly romance entailing the family's role in arranged marriage.

Now tell us a little more about the book! What can readers expect?

Readers who are married will rejoice on reading about the moments spent in their life while they were courting their respective beau. Men will recall how they balanced the new relationship and the existing bond with their mother. Women will read about how they had to forego most of their long lived desires for the new love.

'Sugar and Spice', published by Blue Rose Publishers

What was the moment when the idea of the book first came to be? What made you pursue it?

I have friends who often share their stories with me and I have realised how marriages changed their lives. I decided to cover the experience of people in a story using my creativity. This is a fictional work but based on some harsh realities. It is a marriage that decides the success and failure of girl in her career. Suddenly how a patriarchal society starts advancing lectures on a girl's obligations towards her in-laws and not on her career, and that same society had always judged her before on her scores and marks and eventually her job, is what I have explored in this book.

The book delves into how a girl undergoes tremendous pressure of being competitive in her whole educational life, and suddenly she is asked to focus on family and unlearn her identity, as the same society expects her to be perfect daughter-in-law and wife.

Can you tell us your creative process behind the characterizations of the protagonists Radha and Kartik?

I have focused on relating Radha with the next door Indian girl and Kartik with the chauvinist Indian upper middle class boy.

Radha represents a common Indian girl who has been sincere throughout her life but she herself is unaware when she falls into the trap of patriarchal society's norms. Arranged marriage acts like a bait for her.

Kartik, who is a tough personality also falls prey to the whimsical looks of Radha. He behaves in a complete non-Kartik way. His heart chases her mesmerising presence in dreams, thoughts and everywhere, but he cannot cover his deep rooted chauvinistic approach.

What has the road to becoming a published author been like for you?

It was not that easy to write with two kids who were always demanding my time. I had to go on a roller coaster of emotions while I was writing, imagining Radha's life. I have a few messages that I have taken from my life and other's life. I don’t want these messages to go with me when I leave the planet, I want to share them. You never know, how your writings can benefit others.

How have you been coping with the current pandemic and what will be the new normal for you post it?

The new pandemic deprived me of my social life and the workload at home was heavy. However, the phone helped me to stay connected with everyone.

Lastly, are you currently reading anything and do you have any book recommendations for our readers?

I am a very selective reader. I respect the writings which add value to life. Lately I read about Vir Savarkar and realised how costly our independence was.

The book ‘Sugar and Spice’ is available online and at your nearest bookstore.

From Jammu, J&K; Studied in DPS, Jammu.