Author Priyamvadha Purushotham admits that it’s the word purple in her book’s title The Purple Line that intrigues most people when she talks to them about it. “It’s like pink is the favourite colour for little girls and women like purple,” she laughs. But she is stubborn when it comes to revealing anything at all about the purple inference in her debut novel. “I can’t tell you what the purple line means because you have to read the book to find out,” she insists.
But she does provide a little more insight into the book which was recently released in the city. “It is the story of six women whose lives and destinies are intertwined, but they never meet each other,” she begins, “It is told through their common link – their gynaecologist.”
The first thing that will tend to pop into any inquisitive reader at this point will be the explanation behind Priyamvadha’s choice of telling the tale through the point of view of a gynaecologist. “A gynaecologist does touch a woman in her most intimate part,” says the author matter-of-factly before she adds, “Any woman spends a decent amount of time in her lifetime at her gynaecological clinic and invariably, the wait is for two hours. In the last 10 years of my life – having always been a writer in my head – when I have had to wait somewhere, I constantly looked at the people around me thinking who they were, what their houses were like and what their mothers-in-law were like,” she explains. “This soon became a pastime for me.” But Priyamvadha says until the day she decided to sit down and write her book, she didn’t realise about this pet pastime of hers. “When I started writing the book, the ideas and characters just rushed,” she says, clearly still enjoying the pleasant surprise.
There is no doubt that Priyamvadha gets excited when she describes her characters, especially Mrinalini — the gynaecologist, but when she discusses the nitty-gritties of the book in detail, she gets her game face on. “Mrinalini has no qualms about performing abortions, she is extremely against female infanticide, which features in my book,” she says, adding that gender inequality is another important focus of her book.
But Priyamvadha is quick to assure that those are just two minor facets of the book. “The book is also funny and light,” she says, “For any kind of tragedy, it’s the comedy that highlights it.”
Mrinalini has striking similarities to her creator. They are both poets at heart and have a passion for theatre. “But I never wanted to be a gynaecologist!” exclaims Priyamvadha. “The book is not even remotely autobiographical. It starts off with Mrinialini’s childhood. Any writer initially writes autobiographically, so I can relate her childhood to mine, but otherwise, she grows to be a different woman,” she says.
The Purple Line, published by HarperCollins, is priced at `250.