Monica Bhide is a renowned cookbook author. In her writing career spanning of more than 5 years she has written extensively for The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Bon Appetit, The Washington Post and dozens of other publications. She has three books credited to her name. In this exclusive interview with Infibeam, she talks about her latest book ‘In conversation with exceptional women’, her relationship with cooking and her career.
Q.1: In conversation with exceptional women is an inspiring book. What inspired you to write this book?
Ans: They say you should write the book you always wanted to read, so i did! I wanted to talk to all the women around me who are so abundant and blossoming in all that they are doing. I wanted to reach out to them and asked them how they succeeded, what advice they would give me, what had they learned from their life. I asked 55 women and they all agreed to be interviewed. i selected women who had personally had an impact on my life. I could have reached out to women whom I dont know personally, but I dont feel that the book would have had the same connection. The women I picked are exceptional because they are abundant and always share that abundance with the world. The book is about filling your well as a creative professional. You read a little every day to help inspire and motivate you.
Q.2: Of all the interviews featured in the book which one is your favourite and why?
Ans: I loved all the interviews and learned so much from all of them. In particular, I would have to say that Padma Lakshmi was one of the most inspiring for all that she has been able to achieve and yet, she is so kind and so open.
Q.3: This is one of those books that readers can go back to in dark moments and get inspired. Is there any particular book or author that you like to read in your moments of doubt?
Ans: This one! I love to read Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and anything else I can get my hands on. I thrive on reading books on positivity and motivation.
Q.4: Any particular reason behind choosing ebook as medium for ‘In conversation with exceptional women’?
Ans: small set of the interviews were first featured on my blog. They got such a great response that I decided to do some more and include them in an ebook. Going from blog to ebook seemed like a natural transition for me.
Q.5: Is these are any one you’d missed out and would like to interview?
Ans: So many but one in particular: Jhumpa Lahiri
Q.6: What made you give up your corporate career and follow your passion?
Ans: was an engineer with two master’s degrees, a six-figure dream career in training and development, a big house, friends, a loving husband and two amazing children. On a personal level I was fulfilled, but on a professional level, something was missing.
Then, one day, my whole world came to a standstill. A very, very dear friend suddenly passed away in a freak accident. She was in her mid-thirties and had been married the same year that I had. Her death and other circumstances really made me question my life choices. After some serious soul searching, i quit my job to become a full-time writer. It has been eight, wonderful, amazing, years since I made that decision.
Q.7: Cooking and spice seems to define your life. How is your relationship with both?
Ans: Love and reverence!
Q.8: You have indulged yourself in so many things successfully. How do you mange to strike a balance between your professional and personal life?
Ans: My work is who I am so it comes naturally. I never feel like I am “working.” I love what I do so it is easy to do that and be with the family
Q.9: Who are your favourite authors and which books would you like to recommend for our readers?
Ans: Jhumpa Lahiri, Diana Abu Jaber, Rohinton Mistry… read everything by them!
Q.10: What piece of advice you’d like to give to wannabe authors?
Ans: Read as much as you can. Write everyday. There is no simple, easy way to become an author. It takes a LOT of work. But, if you do it everyday, it will become part of who you are and that in itself is a huge blessing!
Q.11: Any message for our readers?
Ans: Thank you for reading my work. I am very appreciative!
By: Aarti Upadhyay