Navigating India: one Rickshaw ride at a time !


In conversation with Julia Regul Singh  

JuliaJulia Regul Singh is the author of Leap of Faith, a novel about an interracial marriage between a German woman and an Indian man, closely resembling the story of her own marriage. Julia’s first encounter with India was as a tourist 15 years ago, where she first met her future in-laws as well as a typically large, extended Punjabi family. She had travelled extensively as a teenager with her parents, as well as in college, on her own. This was her first time in India and was struck by the cultural differences, “I was fascinated how different India was to my own experience growing up in Germany.”
Speaking about the ancient tradition of storytelling in India, Julia remarks, “ Germans have long been fascinated with Indian mythology, spiritualism, philosophies and religions. Since the 19th Century, German writers like Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and Feuchtwanger – just to name a few – have found inspiration in India’s stories.” Like many authors, her cultural and social experiences have formed the basis of her writing, “bringing it back to the Indian wedding that I described in my novel “Leap of Faith,” each of these traditions harbor great stories for me to write about. For example, the insane amounts of money spent on Indian weddings astonished  her, she appropriated many of those bonding experiences for the writing of her novel.
This has not been her first foray into writing however, she had earlier written a children’s book, titled Boris the Bench,which is about a bench in a park, which could be anywhere in the world. She believes writing for children is very important and an early interest in reading is what makes children turn towards reading as a lifelong habit. It was after her first book was published that she was introduced to her future editor from Rupa, Kausalya.

She talks about being a foreign writer in India, “When I share my experiences as a German living in India with people, the response is great and people always encourage me to share my thoughts in columns or even in a book format. I started collecting my own experiences and stories, I heard from friends and people around me and ideas for new stories emerged. Often I took these stories a little further, asking myself “What if I was in these situations? What if I ended up living in a village in India? What if I took the rickshaw to work every morning? ” without really losing my ‘foreign eye’ on the story.” She is currently working on a children’s novel in rhyme, titled My cousin Max, inspired by the interaction between her children and nephews/nieces. The story tells is about a small boy who eagerly waits to meet his ‘foreign’ cousin. She is also working on a collection of short stories and would like to translate Leap of Faith into German.

Source: GBO, New Delhi