A few months before the book release date was fixed, I woke up around 2:30 am in the morning to a message that Audible had agreed to create the Audio version of the book. I remember feeling excited, like someone had found worth in the story to give it voice. I say this as someone who has never listened to an Audiobook ever.
Over the next few days, I found who the narrator was, her social media handles and listened to audio samples of her work. The first thought was her voice smiles. Really! Each time I heard her voice, I imagined her smiling as she read whatever she was reading. It sounded perfect for a children’s book.
I finally got to hear a sample from the book just a few days before the actual release. Yesterday, my family and I sat in our upstairs open room, huddled and cuddling with each other as we listened to the first four chapters of the book. There is something about being read to, about experiencing a story together, a story that means something to all of us as our lives inspire these stories. Each time one of the twins heard something that was an inside joke, we would all smile. Each time Avantika mused over her birth family, we would reach out to hold hands and experience the poignancy of the moment together.
So, thank you Shruti Bhola for having give my story wings and a voice. I cannot imagine Avantika sounding anything but what I heard yesterday.
- What do you like most about your protagonist or main character?
What I love about Avantika is how her imagination takes flight from life around her, the way she observes small things and expands a situation out of proportion to weave in her perception. There was a moment when Avanti concludes that an old woman she’s been seeing is her mind playing games with her, while narrating the book I have laughed out loud at that point and had to re-record.
- Which character did you relate to the most and why?
Actually more than characters, it’s been relationships that I related to. Avantika and Avnish reminded me of my childhood with my younger brother and how I would trick him and take his chocolates away with lame explanations. The first chapter where Avanti wants to distract him from feeling bad by teasing him about chocolates had me hooked and reminiscing. Another moment was when she decides to “wave to the old woman” that was me! I was an observant child and would often not know how to talk to strangers so I would mull over situations and by the time I would respond, the moment would be long gone. Also, It’s been difficult managing my wavy curly hair specially through my tween and teenage years, the struggle is real! That relatability with the book was ultimate for me.
- What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I currently host a podcast called “Zindagi Unplugged” on Spotify, I discuss Self development topics with Brigadier Bhasin for the youth, another audio book has recently released along with “Why is my hair curly” and you can listen to “Tridevi”, which is an Audio Drama on Audible as well. You can check out my work by typing my name “Shruti Bhola”. I am currently working on two new Audio Dramas which I am not at liberty to mention yet but regular updates on my instagram can be followed …I am available on @shrutzpah
- If the awful virus hadn’t waged war on the world, what would you rather be doing?
Honestly, despite the horrors covid19 is unleashing I am grateful for this focused time I have got. It forced me to get my act together and create a life for self which cuts down the unnecessary. It has forced me to evaluate my actions and pull up my socks. I created a home make shift studio so work could continue. I’d probably still be doing the same things except now there is a lot more mindfulness to all my actions. This best thing the lockdown has managed is a reality check and time to adjust. I’ve been able to make changes without distracting myself with a travel plan or a night out or falling into previous patterns.
- Lastly, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Hands down, teleporting or at the least being able to send holographic live images of me without technology
- Anything else you would like to say to my readers?
It was an absolute delight voicing “Why is my hair Curly?” it’s a lovely book which conveys the message of inclusivity along with struggles of growing up, effortlessly. It’s a must read for all age groups. Thank you for writing such a wonderful heart-warming book.
Go check out Shruti Bhola’s works and follow her on Instagram.
Podcast Zindagi Unplugged: https://open.spotify.com/show/0diKZSPsqWAg7Lsmrat5nF?si=Br1K3igzQ9OSUBSnfkO0NQ