Nandini Bajpai is a very soft spoken lady, making it quite difficult to be heard over the din of young, enthusiastic schoolchildren lining up to their copy of ‘Red Turban, White Horse’ signed. The US-based author had flown into Chennai just the previous night after an evening out in Bangalore and the stress is showing. But Nandini remains upbeat as she cheerfully asks the kids to wait for a couple of minutes till the interview is over.
“This morning, I came here straight from the hotel and all I could see of Chennai was what I could see out of my car window,” she says with a hint of regret. But she perks up when she recalls that she has a tourist-y date with a relative later in the evening. “I already have a list of places I want to see!” says the author.
Born in Delhi and brought up partly in Delhi and Australia, the first-time author is currently living in Boston. But this is not her first book. “I’ve written several books for my kids, but I haven’t given them out to anybody. After writing for such a long time, I finally thought, why not. And considering the other writer in the family, it was about time,” she says. Nandini is also sister to best-selling Zoya Factor author Anuja Chauhan. “She was there with me in Bangalore and it was so crazy with all the kids that she started signing my books!” she says with a laugh.
‘Red Turban, White Horse’ is about Mini Kapoor, a 17- year-old who decides to plan her sister’s wedding just like her late mother would have wanted her to. There are a couple of challenges to overcome for Mini – first, the problem of not knowing how a big, fat Indian wedding works and unfortunately, a hurricane right on the day of the wedding. “Believe it or not, during my sister-in-law’s wedding we had Hurricane Irene and it was such a mess. It was after the wedding was over that I realised it had a story potential,” Nandini says with a grin.
Just like the real-life wedding, hopefully the book wedding also has a happy ending. “You have to read that to find out,” she says with a wink. Meanwhile, Nandini’s kids’ book ‘Red Turtle’ is complete, while her other novel, ‘Starcursed’ is up for publication. “It’s about the 12th century mathematician Bhaskara who studies his daughter Lilavati’s horoscope and finds it to be a bad one,” she says.