Hindustan Times

Story of Untold Pain
By Vivek Gupta

City’s Aradhika Sharma, through her latest book, Dear Agony Aunt has tried to put in perspective the modern-day problems

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. And, Chandigarh’s Aradhika Sharma has lightened herself by bringing out scores of stories in her latest book titled ‘Dear Agony Aunt’, which perhaps will help people peep into many modern-day conflicts —whether relationships, both offline and online, domestic violence, gender abuse or infidelity.

The treatment of this book is different in a way that it has a fun factor attached to it. The writer, however, has reservations to put her novel into a particular genre, like chic lit or fun reading, as she says that it stimulates in a serious way and hence, targets varied readers.

All the incidents and characters in this novel, which was released on Friday at the ongoing Rupa & Company book exhibition at Lajpat Rai Bhawan in Sector 15, is, in fact, based on Aradhika’s online experiences. She is ‘agony aunt’ for a popular website in India and resolves a lot of problem everyday through her column.

Throwing light on her book, the author says that the motive behind this book is to bring out a certain set of problems, which she has found common among people “But this book has, in a way, given me the liberty to give my point of view on certain issues, which I think, I cannot do while sitting in the chair of agony aunt,” S she feels. “When I am agony aunt, I am not judgmental at all. About the kind of problems coming to me. I simply offer a solution to the person seeking resolution of his or her problem. It is again a different issue how much they listen to me or gain from my advice.“ This book, she says, is an opportunity for her to be judgmental by being a fictional ‘agony aunt’ and take a certain stand on issues. “For instance, I am against causal sex and physical abuse, which I have strongly condemned in my writing,” she says.

Why do people need such a medium? Aradhika says, “Why characters like ‘agony aunt’ have a wider audience is because they act like comforters and are honest in their replies. Anonymity works because it gives a chance to people to share their secrets or a guilt, which they are unable to do even with friends.”

In the West too, columns like Peggy Makins, Daily Mirror’s Marje Proops, Alice (of Ask Alice fame), Dear Abby and Ann Landers are well known.

The author feels that people will relate with this book because it has all the elements that can move people.

Aradhika is co-author, along with Capt S Seshadri, of ‘Sunita Williams: Astronaut Extraordinaire’. Dear Agony Aunt is her second book.

Catch more on latest books as well as classics at the book exhibition, which is on till December 6, from 11 am to 8 pm.


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