The millennnial journey

Alisha Shinde
Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Author Neharika Gupta always wanted to write on body image and the looking-good culture of Delhi, and how millennials struggle to keep up with it. Adulting, her debut novel, talks about this and a lot more

Social media manager and popular blogger Aisha is flirty and flamboyant ... even as she battles personal demons that tell her she must stop eating if she wants to stay pretty.

Ruhi couldn’t be more different from her friend Aisha. Working at Litracy Publishing, she feels grossly underappreciated by the editor-in-chief, who happens to be her mother. What keeps her going are her own ambitions and her crush — handsome author Tejas.

Bestselling novelist Tejas has a bad case of writer’s block. He leans on Ruhi for emotional support before getting enamoured by Aisha as he struggles to live up to everyone’s expectations, including his own.

Aisha, Ruhi, Tejas — wondering who they are? You might have crossed paths, as Delhi-based author Neharika Gupta says that the characters in her recently released debut novel Adulting are ‘very real’. Bold and unapologetic, this story of love, self-discovery and heartache is in sync with the times and a must read for millennials. Gupta tells us why. 

The feisty writer points out that she always knew that she wanted to write about body image and the looking-good culture of Delhi. “I was tired of it and decided to channel all the energy and frustration that I’d seen in my life and among the people around me into a book that shed light on this,” says Gupta who adds that even though the book has a happy ending, it’s a tough journey of growth that my characters Aisha, Ruhi and Tejas go through.”

While penning down her book she enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other after being created. “Some things I could get them to do, some I just couldn’t because of the type of people they became, also, I had to push or think really deep about what realistically would make the characters evolve since the book is about change. I couldn’t just push stuff on them, their actions had to be true to the character’s essence,” Gupta adds.

Each of the challenges that is reflected in the book and faced by the characters is real and has been taken from her own life or someone else’s, and then fictionalised. “Because this is a fairly happy book, I haven’t touched upon the dark side of many things millennials try and power through — reality is truly stranger than fiction,” she says.  

Out of all the characters in the book, Gupta tells us that she relates to Aisha the most. “It is a constant tussle these days to be happy with how I look vs my individuality vs what society thinks a writer or a young girl my age should look like vs we’re all going to die anyway so what’s the point which is an example of classic millennial existential crisis,” she explains.

Millennials have a different mindset when it comes to relationships since social media plays an important role nowadays. Gupta points out that it is so easy to get into the FOMO (fear of missing out) zone looking at the highlight reel of people online while your thumb goes on scrolling. “Many a time, we don’t know the world or situation behind a photograph and it is simply not possible to cut off or decide what you want to see or not,” she says. 

Adulting has received rave reviews from some of the best authors in India. Gupta says that as a writer, she feels great about this. “When you know you have something to say and you do take the leap of faith in order to express it, have a major publishing house pick it up, and furthermore have important people in the industry recognise that, it actually makes a difference and justifies the dream I had of reading Harry Potter and wanting to be like J K Rowling when I was 10 years old,” says Gupta excitedly.

When she is not writing dialogues and etching characters, Gupta keeps herself busy by finding new ways of self expression through yoga, music, karate, reading and blogging. “I also enjoy taking online classes on poetry and fiction so I’m learning something new everyday,” says Gupta, adding that she is planning to expand her blog (neharikagupta.com/ blog) into something special. “I’m dabbling with a few ideas, you may see something out very soon and there may be a plot twist coming to this tale,” she says before signing off.

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