Who doesn’t feel a close connection to where they were born and brought up. I also feel an undying relationship with the city of Lucknow, ancient Awadh.
It was this incessant affection for the city that became a guiding light for starting the journey of penning down small town sweet love novels. With Awadh being the backstage for Nayela and Yasir’s love story, I felt somehow reliving all those years of my childhood and young age.
I began writing The Wedding Planner in July 2017. The book was published on December 22, 2017, and it has been a bestseller since then. It has topped charts in Amazon US, India, UK, and Australia marketplaces. It was bought and read and adored by many of you. And I thank you all for showering your love and affection for this small town sweet love novel.
A little less than a year and once again, the beauty of the small town allured me within. It was the love shown to The Wedding Planner that I decided to write down The Wedding Singer. Again, a cozy sweet love story set in the small town of Awadh.
The Wedding Planner is completing one glorious year on December 22, 2018. A little before that, on October 30, 2018, The Wedding Singer is going Live.
The Wedding Singer yet again comes from the hearts of Lucknow. Once again, I found the rustic town alluring for creating the world for my story. Again, the book is set in the rustic yet historically significant town of Awadh. The town that I had so many memories attached with.
My research for The Wedding Singer didn’t involve extensive traveling or talking with the strangers. It didn’t leave me wandering on the unknown roads. Neither did it require tedious navigation of the Internet. It was not about making notes or jotting down details but about reliving the olden days. Reminiscing the old lost memories. Memories that I left behind. Memories that often brought tears of longings. It was a journey. An Emotionally charged and interesting journey of exploring my very own town yet again.
And I will tell you how it was an entirely different experience for me.
It was the beginning of April 2018, when I got a chance to visit the old city of Lucknow. It was a cousin’s wedding and my visit was more like a family get-together. Even then, I couldn’t stop myself from doing some hands-on research for my upcoming book. After all, a writer is always a writer first. Right?
Because The Wedding Singer is about today’s young generation of a small Indian town, I tried to explore the young minds. I interviewed some of my young cousins in the age group of 18 to 25. Tried to know what they think about love, life, relationships. What are their career choices? Are they still going by the age-old beliefs of opting for medicine, engineering, or management? Or are they looking for any offbeat career choices?
Besides, life, job and career, I also tried to find out what exactly they think about love, relationships, alliance, and marriage.
Not only this, I did pay a visit to old gullies and lanes of the city just to get the feel of real Lucknow. The sight, sound, and smell of Lucknow.
Being born and brought up in the city, I was well aware of the culture and tradition of the city. Yet, I had never interacted with courtesans before. The heart and soul of the culturally rich town of old Awadh.
And since The Wedding Singer is a story of a courtesan’s granddaughter, I had to do an extensive research to get accustomed to the kotha tradition of the city.
Awadh had a thriving kotha tradition back till the end of the nineteenth century. It was the courtesans’ houses that were the hub of all kinds of performing arts. Not only singing and dancing but these houses were the epicenter of enlightenment that fairly defined Awadh. It was these courtesans’ houses where the royal kids learned mannerism and etiquette of the high society.
Ironically, these young, fierce, beautiful, and wise women who taught mannerism to young royal kids could never become the part of the elite society. They often tended to live a disgraceful life, being marginalized by the elites. In other words, the courtesans were always considered to be a non-member.
The book – The Wedding Singer is a tribute to the courtesans of Awadh. It is dedicated to those bold and beautiful women who defied customs and beliefs and lived life on their own terms. The Wedding Singer celebrates that very spirit of being woman. It is also dedicated to the young millenials of the city, and to all those who were forced to leave their city in search of better prospects – job, career, alliance.