The world around us seems to be crumbling. At a time like this, The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Karuna Ezara Parikh is a tender and elegant exploration of what it means to love as the world devolves into division and chaos. When we came to know about the book, we had to talk to the author to know more about it.
Karuna Ezara Parikh is a former model and television presenter. She studied Journalism, Film & Broadcasting at Cardiff University. Her written work has been published in Vogue, Wire, Outlook, Tehelka, Firstpost, Open, and Lonely Planet. She lives in Calcutta with her husband and their dog. The Heart Asks Pleasure First is her first book.
What inspires you to pick up your pen and write?
It is the only way I know how to make sense of the turmoil within me, and of the world.
Can you please give us some more information about your book?
Please refer to the blurb!
Can you please tell us more about the main characters of the book?
Daya is a young dance student. We meet her at the age of 20. Aaftab is a bit older, a young lawyer from Pakistan. We also have Wasim, a shy young man from Pakistan, and a few others which I won’t talk about here! The characters are all people who strive to see beauty and joy in the world, and whose struggles are metaphors for deeper things.
Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?
I chose to write this story because when I interacted with Pakistanis in the West, as a young girl, I was surprised to see they were exactly like us. We have a shared language, culture, and history. But politics have prevented us from knowing one another. I thought that was fascinating, and decided to explore it further.
Why did you choose this particular genre? Will you be trying your hand at any other genre?
I always wanted to write Literary Fiction. It’s the genre I read and enjoy, so it would be odd to write any other genre!
When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?
Goodness, you’re impatient! Seeing as this book took 13 years, I guess in another 15 you can expect the next.
If not a writer, what would have been the career of your choice?
Oh, I could have done so many things! An interior designer, a yoga teacher, a doctor, a psychologist.
Can you tell us about your favourite author/ authors?
Though the list is long, my old favourites are Michael Ondaatje, Nadeem Aslam, Arundhati Roy, Svetlana Alexeivich, Audrey Niffenegger, Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Graham Greene…but really this is a very short list.
What do you like to do when you are not busy writing?
Read. I love to read. I love trekking, though I haven’t had the chance to go in a while. I enjoy a good meal, spending time with my dog, traveling, and yes more reading.
Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to share with our reader?
Don’t lose heart. The world is not a happy place right now, but times do not stay bad. Keep your head up and look to the horizon – there is a light and it is coming.
You can read more about her book here.