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February 05, 2016

Radhika Vaz On Being ‘Unladylike’

Text by Huzan Tata

“…the expectations on women to be perfect humans is unrealistic and stupid and that we can all ignore every single one” says Radhika Vaz

The Read: Unladylike.
Author: Radhika Vaz
Publisher: Aleph Book Company

What it is: A fun, breezy read, Unladylike. is Vaz’ memoir, where she writes about her misadventures at school and college, and includes her observations about life, love and everything else in between.

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 We literally laughed out loud at some parts, and the little ‘morals’ all through the book resonated with us as well. At several points through the book, we had ‘hey, I’ve been through that too’ moments that made us smile. Perfect for that Sunday evening when all you want to do is sit back with a good book and a hot cuppa, Unladylike. is for every woman who dares to be herself in a world telling her otherwise.           

Read it for: A laugh-a-minute account of growing up as a woman in the 21st century.

Q&A with Radhika Vaz

1. What was the inspiration to pen down your memoirs?
“It was my idea coach in New York, Marina Romashko, and then my editor in India, Simar Puneet, who prompted the idea and then forced me to write it respectively. I always thought memoirs were for old people. Then they told me that I am old and to quit fronting – and so here we are.”

2. Did you find it easy to tell your tale?
“It was harder than I expected. As a comedian who draws extensively from the embarrassments of her daily life, I thought it would be a breeze. But with a book, there is physical evidence that is now here to stay – that was definitely a little disconcerting. With a show I could always just say “nope – never said that” – but now someone can point to the written word and I can’t argue my out of it.”

3. If you had to pick only 1 chapter from the book that people should definitely read, which one would it be and why?
“This is like Sophie’s Choice, isn’t it? If I had to save one from a burning building I would say read ‘My vagina speaks, does yours?’ – if at any time you have felt less than womanly this chapter will let you know that there is someone (i.e ME) out there who is worse off than you are!”

4. What do you hope readers will learn from the book?
“That the expectations on women to be perfect humans is unrealistic and stupid and that we can all ignore every single one.”

5. How smooth was the switch from stand-up comedy to writing?
“It may be easy for some people but it wasn’t for me. Writing long format essays was hard! It was a steep learning curve. I think in short bursts and I use my voice, face and body on stage to express what I am feeling – you can’t do that in a book. You actually have to describe things.”

6. Anything you consciously had to keep in mind while penning your memoir?
“I had to keep reminding myself to be funny and not safe. Like I said the idea that a book is physical evidence made me a little nervous about writing some of the really in-you-face stuff – I had to fight that fear constantly.”

7. Is there something that didn’t make it to the book that you would have liked to include?
“I haven’t explored my life in comedy yet. I would like to write about those experiences.”

8. If you had to sum up your memoir in one sentence, what would you say?
“Some women just don’t have the heart, mind, or body to be ladies. Presenting one woman’s struggle to achieve acceptance, from adolescence to about now.”

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