A dentist by profession but a crime fiction aficionado by heart, Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is the author of Operation Superstar, which introduces the effervescent and sassy Indira as the ‘laundry girl’. We asked Yamini about her writing rituals, her music quirks and about her love for crime writing:
Do you write everyday? Where and when do you write?
I have a three-year-old bundle of energy to look after all by myself. So writing everyday is simply not possible. I clock my work in hours. And if I feel like I am lagging behind, I catch up by working Sunday nights or putting in extra hours whenever possible. I also love working from my living room. It’s the biggest and the most ventilated room in the house (the above is a view from it). I prefer working in the quiet of the night, sitting on my sofa, after my daughter has been put to bed.
Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your playlist at the moment?
No. Since my working hours are very limited, I like to concentrate on the task at hand. That means no television, radio, or music to interrupt me while I’m writing. But I do listen to music once I finish. The adrenaline rush that comes from writing makes it difficult for me to go to bed immediately. So I play a few songs on loop that lulls me into sleep. Currently I have ‘Closer’ by Chainsmokers and the remix version of ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ from the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil on loop.
What is your go-to site for distracting yourself? Or do you refuse to browse the net while writing?
Internet is my vice of choice whenever I need a breather or when I need to regroup my thoughts. I like to read articles from various newspapers, and especially news related to crime.
Do you indulge in any sort of pre-writing rituals or superstitions?
Since I only get to write at the end of the day, I like to curl up and work from the couch. I somehow feel more productive in large rooms, sitting next to a window. I also like to have something to sip on when I write. It’s usually water, but if I get time to work in the afternoon, I end up having a cup of masala chai or black coffee.
You’re a dentist by training — can you tell us how crime writing came to you? And would you ever write about a crime-fighting dentist?
I believe you write what you read. I’ve been fascinated by thrillers long before I became a dentist. My grandfather had a collection of Reader’s Digest in a cupboard at his clinic. Every summer vacation, I would sift through those old issues and read their real crime stories. It sounds a bit sinister, doesn’t it? Even in college I always managed to find time to read thrillers despite having fat course books with innumerable pages to go through.
Talking about crime-fighting dentists, us poor souls have to fight bad oral hygiene everyday. So trust me, it’s as tough as fighting crime. Though I think it would make a great comedy instead of a pulpy thriller. 😀
And lastly, if you could choose any Bollywood star to play the role of Laundry Girl, who would you pick?
That would be surreal, wouldn’t it? Any actress who’s tall, athletic and can carry off Indira’s cool and sassy mannerism will fit into her role perfectly. The real question though is which leading lady would be brave enough to play such a grey character on silver screen? 😉