A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E11 | FULL EPISODE

The Henna Artist | Alka Joshi | A Word on Words | NPT

“No matter what age you are, you can always start writing. And I think in a way, as you get older you know more about life, you know more about yourself, you know more about the world. And I think that it actually becomes easier to write.” Author Alka Joshi talks with NPT host J.T. Ellison about her book THE HENNA ARTIST.

AIRED: May 05, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter clacking)

(bell ringing)

(gentle music)

- Hi, I'm Alka Joshi

And this is The Henna Artist.

It's a story about a woman named Lakshmi

who has left her marriage

and is navigating the patriarchy on her own terms.

- Lakshmi is an absolutely wonderful feminist icon.

She's leaving an abusive marriage

that was arranged for her, going to a huge city

and creating her own life.

I mean, that's absolutely amazing.

- It is verboten in India to even consider

doing something like that, even in today's world.

Maybe not in the much larger cities like Mumbai and Delhi,

but everywhere else.

It is still such a, you know,

it's such an impossible feat

for a woman to take on in India today.

- That's sort of what I was going to ask you.

How often does this happen?

- There have always been women in history

who have done phenomenal things.

Even leading ordinary lives,

they have done phenomenal things

and we need to hear about them.

We need to know about these women.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to write this story.

I do want to write about women who have,

I think, navigated the patriarchy

on very different terms than the rest of us may have,

because they just felt within them this extraordinary power,

this extraordinary need to realize their full potential.

- What's the best writing advice you've ever received?

- Take the time to make it the best product that it can be.

Have patience with yourself.

You're not going to get it on the first try

or the second try or the third try.

You know, when people read The Henna Artist,

I don't think they realize this is my 30th draft of the book

and that's how much it takes to get the book right

and to go really deep into the characters.

That's how long it took me.

- For more of my conversation with Alka Joshi

go to awordonwords.org.

I'm JT Ellison.

Keep reading.

(bell ringing)

- [Alka] One of the things that I love to tell people is

that no matter what age you are

you can always start writing,

no matter what age, right?

And I think in a way, as you get older,

you know more about life,

you know more about yourself,

you know more about the world.

And I think that it actually becomes easier to write.

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