Shivani Singh Tharu took nine years to write the thriller Kathmandu Ma Ek Din
Shivani Singh Tharu always knew she was born to be a storyteller. And so it was that through her colourful modelling career, television anchor, radio, and now as a novelist — the core essence of telling a story has always been what has driven her.
Tharu’s debut novel launched this week, Kathmandu Ma Ek Din, took nine years to write. It is a political thriller and revolves around a character named Ghurna from the plains who battles social injustice in the unstable politics of the post-conflict era after 2006.
“Most people think of me as someone from the fashion field, and do not really associate me with literature, but those who have known me personally know that I’ve always been into writing and reading,” says Tharu, while autographing her book on Tuesday at the Russian Cultural Centre.
Since her childhood, Tharu has had a voracious appetite for everything from Tintin to Tinkle, and stories like Amar Chitra Katha to Manohar Kahaniyan. She admits to being constantly drawn to the intriguing, macabre and mysterious world of thrillers and detective dramas.
One of the biggest challenges of writing a novel for Tharu was to be able to write the kind of book that would satisfy the reader in herself. Now that it has been published, she is going through what most writers often experience: a sense of emptiness because she misses the process of writing, the fun, the struggle and the exhaustion.
Language was another obstacle she had to overcome because Tharu herself admits she has difficulty with writing in Nepali. But she didn’t let this deter her, and overcame the handicap by reading Nepali literature voraciously and doggedly. This is also her advice to aspiring writers: “To write, you have to read.”
Asked about her next book, she laughs gently and says that it is a secret. “People have already given me a hard time for taking nine years to write this book,” she says, “I am not making that same mistake again. I will only talk about my second book once it is ready.”
Tharu’s passion, energy and enthusiasm for the literary world is evident in her talent and personality. She knows mainstream Nepali men may not take her seriously because of her background, but Tharu deflects the criticism saying she wants to be judged by her words.
She adds: “It is fine if some people cannot think of me as a serious writer. I know I am an underdog just now, and that’s ok. I’ve always loved underdogs. I will continue to do what I love and enjoy, which is writing.”