Anil Kapoor launches Kavita Bhatnagar's debut novel, Second Chance
Kavita Bhatnagar who had already published two anthologies of Hindi poems - Rishto ki Tanhaiyaa and Metro - Ek Mrigtrishna, launched her debut novel, Second Chance, virtually with Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor. Kavita, who hails from Rajasthan, has worked for over two decades in various capacities in the Central Excise, Service Tax and Customs Department and is presently posted as Commissioner Customs Audit, New Delhi, delves deep into the desire and the right of women to remarry after a divorce. We got her talking about taking up the challenging of writing a novel, sketching the character of Ragini and her plans for Second Chance’s sequel. Excerpts:
What inspired you to write Second Chance?
Second Chance springs from my observations of the struggles that a divorced woman undergoes in our society. On one hand, she must deal with self-doubt and low self-esteem and on another, she must meet societal and parental pressures. Her desires, her needs often take a backseat while balancing this. But Second Chance highlights that if a woman is determined to redesign her personal life, she deserves a second chance. This was my thought process behind writing the novel. Add to it a little creative imagination and the story was ready.
You have published poems till now, what were the challenges of writing a novel?
A novel requires a totally different approach from a poem. A poem is an easy expression of thoughts, while a novel is more complex. The key challenge is to give a coherent structure to a novel, develop the plot and the characters. A novel also requires a beginning, a middle and an ending along with some conflict and its resolution. Besides, a novel requires research for its setting and overall environment. The protagonist is very important to develop properly and every detail about it must be known first to the author, then to the reader. These are a few challenges in writing a novel.
How long did it take to complete the book?
It took nearly two years to finish the book. That too in two phases. I completed the first draft in 2015 and then resumed it in the latter half of 2018. It was finally done in 2019. The process of finding a publisher and editing took another 4-5 months.
Where did you take inspiration for the main protagonist?
The main protagonist Ragini is an emotional girl with traditional values and an independent mind. The inspiration in defining her comes again from the young girls of today who know what they want and go after that. They will not accept abuse and have a strong identity of their own. Ragini’s career is important to her through her emotional nature makes her seek love. She also cares for her family and knows how to balance fun with responsibility. I can say that some of her personality traits like organising her cupboards, the craze for Anil Kapoor, a liking for gazals and fondness for rajma are taken from me!!
Many things!! I am toying with the idea of another novel on changing nature of relationships. This time the protagonist looks at two dynamically opposite poles of relationships in East and West. Also, a topical novel that deals with the Covid-19 impact on our lives. And lastly, possibly a sequel of Second Chance!