It was a meaningful, cheerful evening on 4th May, 2012, at Reliance TimeOut, Pulse Mall, Pune Nagar Road, Pune; the occasion being the book launch of Shweta Ganesh Kumar’s second novel – Between the Headlines. Joseph Pinto, Former Editor, Maharashtra Herald, Pune and a visiting faculty at several journalism institutes, launched the book. Kumar was a student from Pinto’s 2006 Symbiosis batch, thus the connection.
As we mentioned, the session was meaningful. Issues concerning our immediate world were raised and discussed; primarily the talk was about TV news media and the things that go behind the curtain. Another highlight of the event was the presence of Kumar’s family, her parents, her in-laws (“Rare that both sets are present (parents & in-laws) together,” as Pinto remarked) and her husband.
Kumar’s book chronicles the life of Satyabhama Menon, a TV reporter in Karnataka, and how telling a news story is not as easy as it looks. After the mandatory book launch, Pinto read three excerpts from the book, even as he mentioned before doing so, “They characterize what I call, the way by which one human being touches the heart of another. This is a very exceptional quality in a writer, no matter how the English is, no matter how the language is, if you can do this then there is a lot you have been able to achieve.”
The story is inspired from real life but with a, “heavy, heavy dose of fiction,” remarked Kumar. The writer attributed the support of her family that enabled her to find motivation and time to write, especially after she moved to the Philippines in 2009. Kumar also revealed how after her first book, she wanted to publish a collection of short stories; however, publishers were hesitant to take on ‘unknown’ writers. Nevertheless, she does indulge in this form of story-writing too.
Technology has also made it different for writers, as Shweta Ganesh Kumar explained how she uses the laptop to write, and finds it easier. Having published two books in two years, Kumar also talked about how the Internet has made research easier. “Now everything is at your fingertip, has really reduced the amount of time that goes into the book.”
With some elusive plates of biscuits doing the rounds, and a general atmosphere of TV news media talk, the book launch session was a satisfying experience with regard to the subject matter and the people involved.