Serendipity: Madhu Vajpayee

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But we met a Doctor whose writing made us want to read more of her work. Meet Madhu Vajpayee, author of Seeking Redemption, who writes stories and not just prescriptions!!!

GR: What description will fit you in real life?
MV: Dr. Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her second journey in literary world, the first being SEEKING REDEMPTION.

Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and was associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.

When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.

GR: How does it feel to be a published author/writer? What are your preferred genres?
MV: I feel very blessed to be able to pursue two careers in one life. If being a doctor was a professional satisfaction, being a published author is a dream come true.  I don’t know exactly when but over the years, writing slowly became my best friend. From early childhood, the wonderful habit of reading that was inculcated by my father gradually turned into writing expeditions. What I couldn’t say in words or express myself in its wholeness would find its way to paper and thus began my journey as a writer from an early age. My romance with words would transcend me to the amazing world of ideas, make believe stories and ways to assuage my pain and anxiety. It would give wings to my thoughts which would soar to unimaginable heights and with them, would also soar my spirits at least, for the time being. Being in medical profession and having a soul of a writer, it was not always possible for me to remain untouched by the happenings that affected the lives of my patients.  Somehow I used to get affected by every ups and downs of their lives. I worked with patients living with HIV/AIDS and it was indeed a great learning experience. I learnt from them to not to give up in life and to flow with the current of life. And the same spirit always reflect in my writings.

Love is an essence of our existence and that remains the central theme of my writing. Although I started writing with social drama but love is inherently ingrained in the plots. Love is not only the anticipation, happiness, dream but it’s also the pain, vulnerabilities, suffering and loss. In my books, I try to capture the different shades of love in all its hues and colors. And either it may be a pure love story or it can be a drama where central characters are thrown into a conflict (social, ethical, cultural, religious) that also have power to affect their love life.

I hope to continue my journey into the writing world. A world which is not always very kind. You might not get noticed, you might not get due recognition, you might be rejected, you might have to endure long waits, you might have to face an uncertain future, you might have to face oblivion for this is a journey into the unknown. There is no set rules. There is no formula for success. But in the end, it’s all worth it for your love of writing, your power to express your deepest emotions, your strength to share your vulnerabilities and your courage to show your creativity exceeds any potential hurdle or impediments.

GR: What does your writing place look like? 
MV: My favorite place is my study that is located in the upper floor of my home. From here, I get the most beautiful view of the picturesque Melbourne that helps me to relax and write. I am not very particular about the personal comfort and other things as my creative instinct doesn’t depend so much upon surrounding as much they depend on my mood. If I am in mood, I can write anywhere.

GR:  Which fictional character created by you is closest to your heart? Why?
MV: The heroine of my book Seeking Redemption, Meera was born in those very corridors of hospital where I spent best parts of my life. She is closest to my heart. Although the story of her journey, specific events of her life, problems faced by her was not exactly mine but her principles, belief and faith are mine. I saw myself in her dilemmas, in her pain, in her loss, in her triumph against her own demons.

GR: What, according to you, are your strengths and weaknesses as an author/ writer?
MV:  I tend to think from my heart and perhaps that’s my biggest strength as a fiction writer. I can feel the emotions that my character is going through and try to portray them in my writings.  In fact that makes it easier for me to deal with romance genre which is generally overloaded with emotions. And inability to deal with action sequences like fighting etc. is my biggest weakness. Mostly I avoid writing any action sequence but sometimes, it’s almost unavoidable and there comes my limitation.

GR: Describe your latest book. Where can we buy it?
MV:  Seeking Redemption is a story of every youth of the country who is trying to win a losing battle in backdrop of caste based reservation and corruption prevalent in education and medical sector. It’s their effort to seek redemption from the curse that is eating away the inner fabric of such a beautiful country. The story revolves around the three main characters. There are Meera and Aman who are deeply in love and who unwittingly found themselves pitted against the system. Justice eluded her as well as Aman in their struggle for achieving the life they dreamt, the life they deserved. But, ironically while Meera rises in such difficult times, Aman falls. She tries to help him in spite of her own dilemmas but he misunderstands her. And there is Abhay, the other man in her life, a friend but who secretly loves her and gives her unconditional support through all her ups and downs.

1. Amazon India
2. Flipkart

 GR:  Who and/or What inspires you the most? Why? 
MV:  My elder brother, Vipin who suffered from cerebral palsy and unfortunately who is no more in this world. From him, I learnt how to never to give up in life. He inspired me to give your best whatever may be your limitations. He inspired me to laugh in adversities, spring back after defeats and maintain equanimity in success and failure. And also perhaps for the same reasons, patients living with HIV/AIDS with whom I had opportunity to work. In spite of their illness and not so bright prognosis, these people have amazing zeal, unlimited hope and tenacity. I always got inspired by their optimism and the never say die attitude towards the life.

 GR: What all do you do when you are not writing? 
MV:  I read a lot. I am a voracious reader. In a way, I have learnt so much by reading galaxy of different authors. It was a pure bliss to read some of the books that later became my inspiration to write. These are the books that you want to read again and again. Some of the portions from the books remain etched in your mind forever. In a way, they not only challenges your conscience but also forces you to create your own story.  Besides that, I love travelling and seeing the world if time and conditions permit.

GR: Which writing project are you currently working on?
MV:  The title of the project is I OWE YOU ONE.

Blurb: Dev Khanna is a dynamic young man in his late twenties thriving on his life as an immigrant.   He adores his tranquil suburban life with his beautiful wife Radhika and an infant son Neel in Melbourne after migrating from New Delhi five years ago. This is until he receives an unexpected letter from a woman named Saira from India which forces him to travel to country of his birth.  He had vowed never to return but as it is said some promises are meant to be broken. He has to go back to India to return a favor  to Saira who strangely enough is the same woman who was the cause of his predicament while he was living in India and incidentally also a reason for his decision to not to stay in India. However she is the only one because of whom Dev was able to ensure his mother died with a smile on her lips. He, is indebted to her for this and now he has to return the favor.  The test is tough as Saira’s daughter is missing during the communal flare up in Moradabad. There is no breakthrough in the case and Dev has to help Saira in finding her. But the ethics imbibed in him by his mother are tougher and he soars through all that comes his way to reach his destination. The story spanning across eight sections traverses from India to Australia and then back to India again as Dev returns to fulfil his promise in the city that has been ravaged by communal violence.  In the process, not only he has to deal with the dark realities of life, the pain, the fear, the agony and death of people who are unwittingly entrapped in such difficult situation but also has to risk his own life in his search of the missing girl.

Will he be able to find answers to those questions that keep haunting him about his quest? Will he be able to save his marriage that is tested beyond Radhika’s love and endurance? Will he be able to find the missing girl? Will he be able to return the favor he owes to Saira in a situation where it’s just impossible to survive?

Besides touching the sensitive issue of communalism arising from social milieu of Hindu-Muslim in India, the story touches the depth of emotions of its characters.  It elucidates the complex nature of human relationships in backdrop of challenges that promise to test every ounce of their patience.

GR: If you could re-write one Fiction/Non-Fiction written by another author, which would it be and why?
MV:  And the mountain echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

I have read The Kite Runner, the first book by the same author. It is a fine, vivid book, a touching and at times haunting fable about the agony of Afghanistan. I was expecting the same magic by the great story teller but somehow I was disappointed by its busy and crowded canvas. At times, it was difficult to follow the winding and turning course of the story. The flat dialogues and clumsy narrative fail to keep you hooked to the book. As compared to The Kite Runner, it’s not at all evocative and in fact a tedious read.

GR:  Thank you Madhu for a candid chat with us.

We loved to feature her book as Spotlight. We also did a Review. Do check them out.

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