Author Jhelum Biswas Bose can’t really remember a time when she wasn’t fascinated by flowers. “I identify with the forces of flowers. Therefore, I like to call myself a flower witch,” begins Jhelum, who debut book Phool Proof was launched in Bengaluru, early this month.
Speaking of which, she says, “It all began as a casual conversation with Gurveen Chadha, who is the editor of the book. She suggested that I could perhaps write a book on beauty. I took it up seriously and sent her a very ambitious book proposal. We arrived at the conclusion that I write a book on flowers and their significance in our daily lives. The focus was on Indian flowers.”
The book, which sheds light on Indian flowers, their myths, traditions, and usage, is best described as a journey in which the author takes you through various aspects of blooms with incantations. A short candid chat with Jhelum is all it takes to learn one thing – how deeply invested she is, in milking the myriad benefits of flowers. “I explain this in the introduction to the book. A witch is someone who does things differently, speaks to forces of nature in rhymes, stirs up strange concoctions, is questioned by society and in turn questions authority. I guess I do all of that,” she avers, elucidating why she calls herself a flower witch.
The author, albeit armed with an editorial background, has had a bumpy ride with publishing houses. But, she’s grateful for the journey nevertheless. “Yes, it is competitive and therefore, very challenging. But, I have enjoyed the challenges because it has helped me to work harder. And, that’s only been good. I have been lucky to have a wonderful editor, who has supported me all through. Even the writing aspect wasn’t easy, as I had to study a lot, do plenty of research and come up with interesting content. I did what I could do to make the book a good and easy read but packed with information.”
Aside from writing, the lady has a flair for aromatherapy, too. “I love cooking and making fragrances. Yes, aromas play a very important role in my life. My cooking is also guided by smells. I like to layer my life and living spaces with scents.”
While she wishes to explore the domain of academic writing next, Jhelum signs off with a sharp message for millennials: “Read a lot and write something every day. And most importantly, don’t give up on your dream.”...