Lemon girl by Jyoti Arora-an interaction with the writer

She is running away from her past, unable to find her harbour in the present and is compromising with her future.

No past, no present and no future….

Or does she have one?

The book blurb says following about the book -

"It's all your fault.' Mere words these are. "But words can possess a shadow invincible enough to rob even a soul of its eternity." In a society that finds it easier to mark sins of a victim than the culprit, Nirvi is a young girl punishing herself for the faults she did not do and avenging her hurts by defeating her own truth.

She is scared of her future, and ashamed of her past. She is failing herself, and knows it. She has had a long line of boyfriends, and hated them all.

She detests the guy she is living with, runs away from the one she loves , and seduces the one who can never love her. When Arsh first sees Nirvi, she's a free and frank girl in whose eyes sparkle the lemony zest of life. The next time he sees her, she is a voiceless doll draped in clothes that cover her body less and shroud her soul more. And Arsh can't rest till he finds out what made Nirvi give up her own real self. Nirvi knows she is dragging herself on a path from which there can be no recovery. Can her spirit survive the treacherous downfall?

Or is the pull of fear and push of desperation just too strong to withstand for a girl who believes she has "nowhere else to go" but down. "When it's time for you to fall in love, even a lemon can become the cause of it," says Arsh. But can love survive, when even the self love dies? Can love survive when respect is no more? Does true love have the power to revive a dying soul? Find out in the pages of this brilliantly woven, intense, heart-warming and thought-provoking saga of RISING IN LOVE...

I have made a review of the book at amazon.in where I did wrote-

She was a next door girl-jovial, full of life, like to enjoy life to the fullest possible extent. Life sometimes plays cruel joke-she too was the victim of such a fate.

But was it her fault? In a patriarch society women are blamed themselves when they fall prey to the lust of man. She was provocative-was the apt reply from the society- a society where dignity of woman is a mere showcase term.

When Arsh first saw Nirvi-the jovial girl I am talking about, she was like the new leaves sprouted after the winter-green. After a gap of years destiny again fixed a meeting for them-this time he discovered she was like a robot-merely recites like a parrot what her boyfriend likes to listen.

Why this sudden turn around?

Arsh realized she had a soft corner for him-she too realised it. She ran away-to unknown destiny from him-probably in a bid to hide her emotions, in a fear of getting caught weeping. But did she get peace? Arsh discovered stunning facts –what made her to run away from love? It is an absorbing story that will put you in all tears…….

We have asked some questions related to the book to which she has responded as following-

1.How you are going to explain the split personality in one of your protagonists-Nirvi?

The split personality of Lemon Girl's heroine Nirvi is not a clinical condition. She willfully rejects her real personality and adopts a fake persona in reaction to the injustice dealt to her by the society and her own family who fail to value her real and honest nature. Nirvi is not just raped, she also gets blamed for this heinous incident. This enrages her emotions. And when her own mother tells Nirvi that she needs to change herself and leave off her frank and carefree ways, the girl comes to regard her real self as useless and unworthy and hides herself behind a mask of grace and submissiveness. But Nirvi’s spirit is rebellious. And it forces her to rebel against the norms of the society even through the mask of this docility and submissiveness. And Nirvi does so by becoming a submissive, voiceless toy of men. She seduces men to abuse her. This is her unconscious revenge against those who failed to value her honest nature and innocence.

2.You have shown that she was acting like a talking parrot in the company of her boyfriend. What idea led you to portray her character in such a fashion?

Nirvi's submissiveness to Sam is the result of her mother's teachings and Nirvi's own fears. When Nirvi is raped, her mother blames Nirvi's free and frank ways for causing the incident. The lady tells her daughter that she should learn to 'behave like a good girl.' And the common and accepted perception of 'behaving like a good girl' is to be non-opinionated, submissive and obedient to the men in the family. And so, Nirvi strangles her own thoughts and opinions and does and says whatever she thinks her boyfriend would like. Another reason behind her total subjugation of her own desires and opinions was her fear of being left alone. She had left her family and could not go back to them. So she was very scared of being deserted by her boyfriend and being left entirely alone in the world, without any means of supporting herself.

3.Do you think stringent laws and execution of such laws are steps enough to reduce the rate of crime against women?

Stringent laws and stringent implementation of those laws is necessary. However, if laws alone could deter crimes, there wouldn't be any prison in the world with millions of criminals cramped into them. What we need is a change in the mindset of people. Boys must be taught from the very young that the respect and rights of girls are just as important as of boys. Not just boys, actually, all must realize this. We are equal, have equal rights and liberties, as well as responsibilities. The trouble with today's times is that we are getting just too habituated to instant-gratification of our desires. The habits of self control, patience, respect are all fading away and being replaced by rude disregard of rights, liberties and respect of others. Many young people now consider being respectful as the same as being hypocritical and insist on doing and saying just what they want, even if it hurts others. The increasing rate of crimes is a manifestation of these tendencies of gratifying oneself with utter disregard to others. The chief cause, I feel, is that our kids now are being subjected to more negative influencers and very few positive influencers. Dirty movies, cheap item numbers, easy access to any kind of media, bad parenting, bad teaching atmosphere at school… so many bad influencers are weakening the morals of our kids. Whereas good influencers like good parenting, good teaching, guidance by grand-parents and other family elders, good and positive bedtime stories are all dwindling. Nowadays, we focus too much in pushing our kids to become successful. It would be good if we spend a little effort in encouraging them to be good human beings too.

4.Your protagonist is seen running away from relations. Why so?

First of all, Nirvi separates herself emotionally from her family because she feels betrayed and hurt by them. Then she runs away from her home to escape a forced wedding. She does not want this wedding as she feels herself unworthy of something as sacred as wedlock. She has been betrayed by her nearest relations but made to feel as if she failed them. And so, getting into another relationship that demands trust and loyalty is hard for her. At one level, she cannot now trust anybody and probably fears of being hurt again by her closest relations. At another level, since she has been made to feel unworthy, she considers herself unsuitable to marry anyone. Later she runs away from her boyfriend too and also the man she really loves. She runs away this time because the sense of self-respect has finally been awakened in her and so she refuses to be ill-treated by anyone and feel disrespected. She runs away to try and build a respectable life and future for herself.

5.Woman is always dubbed as the offender even when she is a victim. What in your opinion is the basic cause of such mindset? Do you think there is any way ahead?'

It is always easier to find excuses for a wrong than to understand its causes and implement its resolutions. Especially so when the cause of the wrong lies within ourselves and the resolution is to begin by changing our mindset. And in India, we have been taught since ages that there should be nothing more important for women than their virtue and modesty. And if a woman loses it, even if she has been robbed of it by an aggressor, she loses her value. Not because somebody else did not have the decency to control himself , but because she was not able to protect herself or did the grievous wrong of being in a dangerous situation, place or attire. It's much easier to blame the girls, their loss of culture and their changed behaviour patterns for the rise in sexual crimes. This takes away the need of having to look and analyze our own changed behaviours, morals and attitudes. It is much easier to say girls are wearing short clothes, going to pubs. This is spoiling our culture and causing rise in crimes. But the changed clothes and behaviours of today's girls is the RESULT of change in our culture, not the CAUSE of it. Do I think there's a way ahead? Yes, there is. We must see a crime as a crime and stop trying to excuse the culprit and accuse the victim. And we must learn to consider girls and women as having just as much respect, rights and liberties as boys and men.

6.If it is said to summarize your book in one sentence, how you are going to make it?

A rape-victim's turbulent and emotional quest of self-discovery and struggle to recover her lost respect, self respect and dreams.

7.A statistics says that around 70% of Indian women are victims of domestic violence. When committed against a teen, how do you think it may affect her?

Teenage is an age full of trouble and emotional upheaval anyway. When younger children get hurt, they may more easily seek comfort from their parents. But teenagers find it harder to show their hurt and weakness to their parents and family. This makes it harder for them to seek the emotional support they need to heal and recover. And as these are crucial years in the formation of personality, an emotional disturbance suffered in this phase of growing up can have a far deeper impact. Kids at this age are grownup enough to feel the injustice they are suffering. But they aren't quite independent enough to take a stand against it or mature enough to judge the best way to respond to violence or abuse. Depending upon the situation and their personality, they may suffer the abuse in silence or react against it in unhealthy ways. They lose their ability to trust. Their notion of family bonding gets distorted. They may themselves become abusers too. And the emotional and psychological effects of abuse suffered in teenage years can remain with the person all through his or her life. A child may forget the abuse, but a teenager will not.

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Tags: India, Woman, crime, domestic, love, rape, relation


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