In her recent TED TALK Deepa Narayan was introduced by none other Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. A proud champion of women Mr Khan is known for empowering women using his voice and foundation work.
In her rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India’s metros, Chup will hold a mirror to yourself – and you may not like what you see. I ended my year reading Chup ( be quiet In Hindi ) for the second time as it is very close to my experience growing up. I’m shocked that so many years on women are still getting the same message! I was so fortunate to interview the author Deepa she’s truly an inspiration.
What are you reading at the moment? I have been travelling to Literary festivals and one of the great joys is meeting other writers. I just finished Feminist Rani, by Shalii Chopra and Megha Pant; Rozbal by Ashwini Singh. Earlier I read Kama by Gurcharan Das that was a heavy read! I love the variety and it’s fun to see what these famous authors are writing about.
What’s keeping you awake at night? What is on my mind is my own book Chup and how to develop it into a theatre piece, films, songs so the messages of the book spread. Chup is not just about women in India. Everyone, both men and women can relate to the ‘’Chup’ because it describes our everyday behaviours and it deletes us.
To change, don’t always think of big things, you don’t need money, you don’t need education, you just have to change your daily habits, one by one, at home, on the streets, in offices, everywhere you go. It’s not about shame or blame. Just change.’
What’s the one thing you can’t live without? Chai! That was simple!
What is the hardest thing you overcame? my fear of public speaking. But when I realised that I had to use my voice for good my fear slipped away..
How did you get out of your own way? Repetition, practise practise and practice. Using tools to erase old neural pathways, so eventually, there is no fear! Then there is only joy and ease in doing what I want to do and how I want to be in the world.
I encourage you to read Chup, give it to your friends, your family. It’s about our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our partners. And why should we care? Because when we can change the way women are raised, we can empower them to stand for themselves, and use their voice!