Every writer has a trigger and Kirtida Gautam’s came when she heard of the Nirbhaya case. The questions that churned in her mind as she followed the judgment would not let her rest and she decided to channelize her strong emotions and wrote a psychological thriller titled #IAm16ICanRape.
Her being a clinical psychologist also added to the gravitas of the book and it is now making waves on social networking sites . More so, because it speaks of why rape happens.
Not surprisingly, Kirtida found Nirbhaya to be her inspiration. She was obsessed with the story of the young girl’s courage and even downloaded a picture of hers from the net, not knowing for a fact if it was hers or not.
And everyday, she would sit down and start writing the book on her laptop and see that picture, compulsively. She also narrates that the more she read about the gruesome nature of the crime, the more she realized the deep rooted gender discrimination and misogyny Indian society breeds.
The women and men, who have survived this crime and stand bravely to regain control of their lives, are her inspiration behind this book. In #IAm16ICanRape, she debates subjects like psychoanalysis of rape, psychology of teenagers, nature of juvenile delinquency, individual differences and perception of world, the nature of divine feminine vs the routine undermining of the feminine gender, the power struggle between Yin and Yang energies and more.
She says, “Very little work has been done in the area of unearthing the complexity of the nature of the crime of rape. We are breeding a society that encourages rape culture. The kind of media exposure the youth have today provides them with constant subliminal messages that encourages objectification of women. This becomes then a favorable ground for certain kinds of crimes. Yet, enough measures have not been taken in corrective direction. Therefore I have written this novel to create awareness.”
Her favorite books and authors are: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Anne Frank’s Diary, The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, writings of Carl Jung, Mujhe Chand Chahiye by Surendra Verma, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Sons and Lovers by D. H Lawrence and The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
Upon asking whether she is working on another novel she immediately replies, “I am done with the first draft of my second novel in the series I call Yin-Yang series. #IAm16ICanRape is the first book of this series. The theme of the series is the struggle and/or the synergy with which the masculine and feminine energies operate in nature as well as in human societies.”
She advises her readers vehemently to be proactive in raising a voice against the growing rape culture.
She further adds, “Rape doesn’t happen in an isolated environment to the people who call it upon themselves. Rape is a cruel crime which has a potential of affecting any person’s life.”
Reading and writing are not just her interests but a way of life. Her library, says she, doesn’t play the role of her best friend; it plays the role of the parent. She enjoys travelling, yoga and meditation and signs off, “I will start trekking in mountains, something that I want to do for a long time now, but have not found time or opportunity.”