‘The joy of being an author is that you can become anybody. You can go anywhere. The best part about being an author is using your imagination. When a woman like me becomes a young boy, it is absolute joy, it lets your imagination loose”, said Venita Coelho in an interaction with eminent actor/writer Jayant Kripalani at Starmark, Quest Mall recently They were present for the launch of Coelho’s book, Boy No 32.
The book depicts the life full of fun, joy, misery and bravery of the little urchins, eunuchs and many others surviving on the streets of Mumbai through the life of the protagonist who is an unnamed young boy, the Boy No 32. The boy who was rescued from under the rubble of a destroyed orphanage suddenly finds himself running for his life because he has somehow managed to upgrade his status from being just an urchin to someone who can track down a terrorist. The book is full of funny as well as serious characters who the boy encounters as the story progresses. According to Coelho, the book which also includes an item number is an entire Hindi movie in written form!
“This book is a tribute to all those little children who I chatted with, those little urchins who would finish begging or selling things and also the hijaras. This book is full of their stories and honestly I didn’t have to make much of this book as this is just about the most amazing stories that came out of those conversations I used to have with them”, said the author who also read excerpts from it during the launch.
Apart from writing, Coelho also works with images, words and paint. She has written several books in the past, one of which, Dead as a Dodo, also won the Hindu Award for the Best Fiction for Children last year. As she also works as a screenwriter for Dharma Productions and Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions, the multi-talented author said, “Life is just too long for one career plan but one of the things that I will never stop is writing”.
Coelho has an immense love for ghost stories and it developed during her days growing up in Kolkata. She recalled a fond memory from her childhood when her mother would sit and read ghost stories to her at the time of a power cut.
“Calcutta is a city of story tellers and it is also a city of stories around every corner, there is some story or the other waiting and it such a perfect place for a story teller to grow up. You are getting an education of storytelling with every step that you take”, remarked the author.