There are so many novels that have come out in the last couple of years featuring the ‘coming of age’ theme with a dash of teenage angst. But Naima Kalra Gupta’s Seventeen Takes is different. It’s not a conventional teenager’s story riddled with heartbreaks, enduring friendships and peer pressure.
Instead, it focusses more on this teenager mourning her lost childhood innocence and the war that wages within all of us as we grow. Here’s the kicker, she was all of seventeen when her book came out!
“The book is completely inspired by my own thoughts, not necessarily my life, but modified versions of certain incidents.
The character of my book says a lot of what I think and does things I’ve already done or wish to do. I’ve talked about what patriotism means to me now and how I’ve developed a relationship with my country because of deeper reading in political science.
I’ve always written about things that have made me wonder. My book is somewhat traditional in the sense that it has romance. It’s about the character’s love for her darling Delhi, her love for herself, and her relationship with God,” smiles the young Naima. She says it all started with her blog A Penny for a Thought, two years ago.
“It had become obvious to me that writing was a way for me to articulate my thoughts. Some days I’d be really angry or frustrated and I’d write away my feelings. Some days I’d be inspired and need to write that moment down in case my memory fails me. So I started a blog to make sure that I was writing and actually completing my pieces,” says Naima. Though her family runs a business, she says that she’s got no plans to take it up as a career. But she fi rmly believes that it’s her parents who made this book happen and they have been encouraging of her writing.
“I was extremely hesitant about the quality of my writing. It was them who pushed me. I am actually not fond of re-reading my pieces or looking for grammatical errors. My mother has always helped me with the editing. And I actually never intended to write the book. It was a total surprise when my parents told me that someone was interested in publishing my work,” grins Naima. After her Board exams early next year, she plans to go backpacking and camping before she starts her undergrad degree in Mathematics.