I have been following Nita J. Kulkarni’s blog Palmistry For You since 2012. Ever since the launch of Literary Retreat on July 5, 2017, I have been aiming for an interview with my favorite palmist and then in 2019 came Nita’s debut mystery novel set in Mumbai called The Hawa Mahal Murders. You can read more about it here and also be sure to check out my review of THMM here.
So, as mentioned earlier, since THMM debuted I’ve made it my mission to first review her work as I was curious to see how a writer – who is so talented in writing about palms, and who has submitted to so many well-reputed Indian newspapers, and has overall contributed so much to the art of writing, – how Nita’s debut novel would impact me. And every word hit straight to the heart.
Be sure to not only visit Palmistry For You but also her personal website A Writer’s Site, which unbeknownst to me for a long time, features not only her recollections and articles but also her short stories and poetry.
Now without further ago, it is an honor and a dream come true for me to interview Nita J. Kulkarni on Literary Retreat, that too, 4 years to the day my website made its debut on the world wide web.
Q1. Nita, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. I am sure you are asked this a lot so I hope you don’t mind answering this question again: Please describe your early days as a writer and journalist. And also expand upon the statement: “Are you a writer first or a journalist?”
Thank you very much for having me for the Q&A session. It is an honour.
I have always been a writer. I have been writing stories and poems ever since I was ten years old. Journalism was a career choice, a method of earning money doing what I love – writing. My creative writing continued during my journalism career. I penned middles and short stories and many were published in the newspapers for which I worked at the time. I also have also plenty of unfinished novel outlines stored away somewhere!
Journalism helped me in my creative writing. It inculcated discipline in me. While writing articles, it is important to organize one’s thoughts and collect information. That is why I gravitated to a more serious kind of crime novel. It may not be obvious but I did a lot of research on how the police work and also about crime, serial killers and the like.
Q2. Is journalism in this 21st century’s digital age very different from your heyday?
Today’s social media has changed journalism but as I have not been a journalist for over a decade now so I cannot give a comprehensive answer to this.
Q3. I have been an avid admirer of your blog, Palmistry For You, since 2012. I bet you saw this question was coming from a mile away, LOL, but still tell us how your affinity for palmistry got started?
There were a lot of books on palmistry at home because it was my father’s hobby. Being an avid reader, I devoured them cover to cover by the time was in the seventh grade. That was how it all began. Then I started helping my dad read palms. He was a busy man but people would keep sending him their palm prints. This gave me the much needed experience in reading hands. I have scores and scores of handprints of people from over 60 years ago, from my dad’s files. Seeing how these people lived their lives helped me in my hand reading work. I guess I have been very lucky because this provided the research one needs before gaining expertise as a hand reader.
Q4. I have noticed that your afore-mentioned blog, Palmistry For You, features palmistry-related content which is quite outside the norm, featuring a mixture of personality analysis and divinatory perspectives, can you tell us not only your method of analysis but also your thoughts on whether palmistry is scientific, half-scientific, or not scientific at all?
There is a vast ancient knowledge about Palmistry available today and this knowledge has been built upon by many good modern authors on Palmistry. However, when it comes to actually applying this knowledge, some hand readers combine it with intuition, astrology and superstition. This tends to discredit the science of palmistry.
Palmistry is based on scientific principles but it is only as scientific as Psychology. Everything lies in the interpretation.
Regarding my method of analysis on my hand reading blog, it is based mostly on the shape of the hand and the mounts because lines are not that clear on the photos on the internet. There is nothing divinatory about it because I go by what I see. A book on hand reading is on the anvil and this should explain it better.
Q5. Could you tell us about your most fun palm reading moments?
My fun moment was at a college fair where I dressed up like a gypsy and read palms inside a tent!
Q6. This question might come across as a handful but what advice would you give to aspiring writers, journalists, and palmists.
Q7. Your (I assume) first blog, A Wide Angle View of India, became very popular but is now defunct. Could you tell us the reason behind that?
This blog took up too much time. I used to spend several hours a day managing, researching and writing it. Besides, each post got scores of comments and some got hundreds. I used to reply to each comment and had started building relationships with the commentators. I enjoyed it while it lasted but it was taking away from what I really wanted to do which was to start a hand reading website and write a novel. I did both after I shut down the blog.
Q8. I love your author website, A Writer’s Site, the latest article on it titled A Writing Mind details your process on writing what will soon be your second traditionally published fiction novel. Could you expand upon that piece and tell us more about the challenges you are facing as well as the headways you are making during this writing journey?
Getting into a quiet space can be an issue as I also run the house. It is not possible to shut out the world and I am not sure I want to. I want to lead a normal life. I am not one of those writers who have a desire to escape to the Himalayas and write. Those writers are the brilliant geniuses. I am not. I am just an ordinary person with a craving to tell stories. Besides writing, I read hands and I love it. I have friends and relatives with whom I like to spend time with. I like to take care of my old parents, watch lots of Netflix, travel, dine out and also cook! As a result, my progress is slow. Going out, traveling, meeting people all are considered distractions for a writer. The truth is that they are. But that’s okay by me. I want to live a full life even if it means writing fewer books.
My aim is to write the best book I can every time and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Then write another and another as long as I can do it without missing out on the other joys of living.
As for being traditionally published, let’s hope for the best.
Q9. I loved reading and reviewing The Hawa Mahal Murders. It has increased my love for South Asian English-language literature. Along with the upcoming spin-off of that mystery novel, what else have you got in store for us?
While I was growing up, I loved reading Science Fiction so my dream is to write a Sci-Fi novel. I do not know whether this will happen because of the above-mentioned reasons! Before that I want to write a book on hand reading. I will certainly do that before I die because there is far too much precious research which cannot go to waste.