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Itisha Peerbhoy

Author, Half Love Half Arranged

Itisha Peerbhoy is the author of the crazy-funny novel, Half Love Half Arranged, she moonlights as a creative and brand consultant.

What she writes and why

Itisha Peerbhoy is a funny girl. She is also extremely serious, intense, and sometimes morose. This impossible combination of contrasts has made her, into a seriously funny author. She has the unfailing ability to see the hilarious in tragic situations and the sensitivity to handle delicate situations with humour. Turning even the most lost of cases in to a conversation that can be had.

No stranger to tragedy and hardship, she learnt this skill ‘on the job.’ An unpopular, introverted, fat little girl, with practically no friends until she was sixteen, she had to reinvent herself, learn social skills and find a way to create a life she was happy with. All while being true to herself. A sense of humour was the deadliest weapon in her arsenal.

Itisha is a child of divorce, and also one who frequently said controversial things in a society that treasures tact over truth. Being disruptive at a time when the word was not fashionable. So, she began to see the merit in being able to make people laugh very soon. Of course it also helped to recognize and make fun of her own ridiculous situation-all of five feet one inch, with a supermodel older sister who was not only movie-star beautiful, but five feet ten inches tall.

In her initial painfully shy and quiet years, she spent time observing people and realizing that difficult conversations made them physically uncomfortable. And figured that one could say pretty much anything to someone who was laughing, and they wouldn’t realize the depth of what had been said, until they went home and got thinking about it. She also has a belief, that when you can’t beat ‘em, you take a neon sponge bat, knock yourself on the head while singing a silly song, juggle around a few cream pies and slip in a few home truths. And they will listen, think about it, and maybe find some release.

She writes about the crazy ones. And about a world that is unfair and full of pain, and situations that never come wrapped in a pretty pink bow. Her heroines are complicated and achingly frank about what they face on a daily basis. They come from families who aren’t perfect-there are alcoholics and food addicts and often worse. They battle uncomfortable consequences and societal judgment so often, they have stopped finding it objectionable. This world is also full of humour. The ‘sadsmiles’, the failures, the silly things people do when they’re cornered, all turn in to rib-tickling situations where the innate joy we human beings are born with is celebrated with radical humour and sometimes almost slapstick situations that are typical of Itisha’s writing.

She uses her background as an advertising writer to create highly ‘visual’ writing-situations that readers can see,’ and has a light, easy, unpretentious style. Underneath the funny however, are beautiful moments. Friendships, quiet fathers who when they speak, can bring readers to tears, and truly hot, sexy men, who are difficult not to fall in love with, no matter how imperfect they are.

Her world straddles and complicated and the amusing, the tragic and the hopeful. It is a world of fat women, confused men and even more confused sexuality-whether gay or straight. Just like her humour is never without insight and compassion, her characters are never beauty queens or the genetically endowed. They are the fat girl in the back row, the pimple faced glue sniffing kid in the cafeteria, the crazy woman who kisses all her roses every morning and the man who runs a company but cannot tell his mother that he smokes.

She welcomes readers in to her world with themes like marriage and love and takes them along wherever the characters take her-whether it’s on a girls’ night out or a another disastrous date where the ‘maindish’ is yesterday’s dal and the entire summers are spent looking for the perfectly flavoured love story. It is a seriously funny world.

These are real stories about real people. People who have fallen between the cracks and then have invited all their friends to join them there and have a house party. People who always triumph at the end in a whopping screaming cheer for the undying, always laughing human spirit!

Background and writing experience
Itisha is a third-generation copywriter from the once-famous Advertising Peerbhoys, the daughter of Sajid Peerbhoy-owner and creative director of Speer Communications and has spent her entire life trying to live up to the family reputation. She studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort, Mumbai and then majored in English Literature at the Sophia College for Women, Peddar Road. She is also a trained Hindustani Classical singer, erstwhile water-colour painter and passable cook. She spent 13 years in advertising, working for ad agencies such as Euro RSCG, Ray and Keshavan, Mudra, Saatchi and Saatchi and Contract Advertising and continues to write for companies such as Aditi Technologies, and other startups as well as builds brands. Although she harboured a secret ambition to write a novel ever since she was a little girl, she sublimated it doing theatre-appearing on stage in several productions over 11 years, and in early 2014, even co-wrote her first play, Desperately Seeking Sanjeevani. In her career as a writer, she has written articles for Femina amongst other magazines and authored and managed a blog, Audacious, over six years, about her life and other idiosyncrasies. Audacious drew over 4,000 visitors a day, but had to be shut down when she entered the corporate world for four misguided years due to privacy issues. She currently lives in Bangalore with her Businessman husband and wise beyond his four years, son, although her heart, like the proverbial cabbage, is divided between her childhood city, Bombay, and her chosen one, Bangalore. This is her first novel.

Move Over Teenage Love. Adult Love Is Way More Complicated.

Love will never be as strong as when you're sixteen and you're carving the boy's name in to your desk, pencil or forearm depending on how cute he is. I've always wondered why people say things like "puppy love" or "infatuation" when this is truly the time you feel that you will never be able to breathe again without your love, let alone laugh or even sing.
04/03/2015 8:19 AM IST