Exploring the dark teenage world

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Author Ratna Vira who tasted success with the release of her first book, ‘Daughter By Court Order’ is now making headlines for her second book, ‘It’s Not About You.’ This book will be released today, August 6, by Governor Mridula Sinha. In conversation with NT BUZZ she speaks about her book, and the reason for the Goa release of her book
ARTI DAS | NT BUZZ
Author, Ratna Vira who made a successful debut with her novel, ‘Daughter by Court Order’ which told a gripping story about a daughter who fights for her rights and in the process, Vira uncovers the underbelly of high society families. Now she is back with her second book, ‘It’s Not About You’ which tackles the issue of teenage bullying but also throws light on issues related to being a single mother, and the developing distance between parents and children. Thus, both her books in many ways explore the realities of contemporary family issues. On this point, Vira says: “There are many things in families that are not talked about – the undercurrent, jealousy and hypocrisy. Nuanced relationships in families make excellent plots. My books are popular because people can relate to the characters and identify with them. It also gives a peep into the upper echelons of society where a lot goes on but is concealed.”
The book, ‘It’s Not About You’ is based on single mother Samaira who juggles her corporate job and Aksh, her teenage son. When her son Aksh is found battered and beaten at school due to bullying, the society blames the mother and accuses her of not investing enough time in his upbringing. Vira confirms that it is the trend that the society does blame the mother for any misdoing of the child. The onus is always on her. She says: “Single mothers are blamed even if they are closely involved in the lives of their kids. A working mother in this book, with a corporate career, is made to feel it’s all her fault, whereas often this is not true.”
The book is seriously looking at the issue of bullying and how its presence is not taken seriously. It can further give rise to ragging in colleges. But, many a times it is brushed aside as part and parcel of teenage life. But, Vira states that it should not be the case. “Bullying is often treated as a joke, as part of growing up. This attitude leads to trauma for the victim and growing recklessness in the bully,” says Vira.
Vira further states that the rise in technology and easy accessibility especially among teenagers has indeed aggravated the problem. Vira says: “Social media has led to the emergence of cyber bullying. Additionally, what is said on the Internet never goes away so the victim is haunted forever. Bullying has got a new dimension.”
Such issues need to be tackled when they are at nascent stage and here the role of parents is important. But, now it is argued that today’s working parents do not have time for children. But, when we look at parents may be 25 or 30 years ago they never gave personal attention to their children, as they had many children and also various responsibilities. When asked about this scenario, Vira says, “The support systems are different now and joint families are vanishing. Also, everyone has their own lives and others in the family are less giving of themselves these days.” She further advices parents: “Talk to your kids. Be aware of the pressures on your child and watch for changes in patterns.”
Vira who has given a quite a catchy heading to her book, confirms that it is directed towards the teenage voice. She says, “The title comes from the teenage voice. Kids feel that adults don’t get them and feel that their issues and concerns are different. They often say – It’s not about you! To direct attention to themselves.”

About the author
Vira who holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics and an MBA, started her writing career quite late. But, Vira has no qualms about it. “Creativity has no age and its rewards are different to that of the corporate world. I continue having a link with the corporate world but the name, respect and number of readers that my books have given me is awesome!,” says Vira.
Like her first book, Vira is also releasing her second book in Goa. When asked for the reason, she admits that it was Goa that inspired her to write. “I love Goa! It is also lucky for me. It was on holiday in Goa that I decided that I was going to write ‘Daughter By Court Order’. This second book launch is special because the Governor, Mridula Sinha who is also a writer and from Bihar is releasing it. This is absolutely special,” concludes Vira.

(‘It’s Not About You’ will be released on August 6 at 4.30 p.m. by Governor, Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula. Entry by invitation only)