Indian Express

Agony and Ecstasy
By Parul Bajaj

There is nothing that cannot make a person unhappy — especially love and money. Thank the media, then, for Agony Aunts. They hold our hands, wipe our tears, tell us how to hit back and, most importantly, how to move on. For the past three years, city-based author Aradhika Sharma has been doing all of this as an Agony Aunt on a website. Her new book, Dear Agony Aunt (Rs 95, Rupa), is drawn from these columns. There are problems that arrived in the inbox and the advice she doled out as well as events from her own life.

“There are true stories of real people, experiences of those close to me as well as incidents from my own life,” explains Sharma, who has co-authored the book with Capt S Seshadri, writer of the 2007 bestseller Sunita Williams: Astronaut Extraordinaire. She adds that the book is not a compilation of her columns, but a look at the various “agonies and issues” that ail people and the ways to tackle these. “Many of these stories are unpleasant and most people deal with pain in their own ways and develop their own fighting mechanisms,” she says.

There are also chapters on abuse at workplace, cyber relationships and a few “fun” issues.

Sharma has been working on the book for the past two years. “At the end of it all, it was a powerful and humbling experience. It was also cathartic,” she says, “After all, there is an agony aunt in each one of us and we advise so many people on something or the other.”

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