Chronicling with humour the courage of women willing to challenge society

Award-winning author and journalist Meghna Pant says she can feel the pain of women who are single or childless as they approach midlife and feel the need to tell the stories of how they are coping with this reality.

“I’ve seen the pressure young women face by family, friends and acquaintances to have children early. I know the hell I went through on my 35th birthday as I was childless and unmarried. That’s why I wrote about the panic Ladoo (the protagonist) felt when a gynaecologist told her that her ‘eggs were drying up’, and doing artificial insemination immediately was her last chance of having a baby,” Pant says of her new book, “The Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Good News” that is to be published by Penguin Random House India.

“Ladoo’s story about finding the right sperm donor, whose kundali matches hers, while fighting social stigma, her mother’s opposition, her ticking biological clock, and her own mixed feelings about whether Mr Right Donor can also be Mr Right, is something every woman — young or old — can identify with.

“At the same time, Ladoo’s story seeks to upend this cautionary tale that women are spoon-fed from the time they’re little girls — to have kids early — and instead amplifies the message — my body, my rules,” Pant adds of the book, which will soon be seen as a major motion picture titled “Badnam Ladoo”.

Given that the book takes a humorous and light approach to address an important issue, relevant to every woman in the world, without being belligerent or pedantic. It’s but natural that India’s top actors and comedians like Manvi Gagroo, Lisa Ray, Kaneez Surka, Atul Khatri, Abish Matthew and Anu Menon should have endorsed the book.

Milee Ashwarya, publisher, Ebury and Vintage Publishing, says: “Meghna Pant is a talented and versatile writer. ‘The Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Good News’ is her second novel, and I’m sure it will be a treat for all her readers. I found myself breezing through the book in one session; the characters are relatable and the writing witty and engaging.”

Gurveen Chadha, senior commissioning editor, says: “The book resonated with me so much, and I hope it will with many other women who constantly face the pressures of looking good, finding the right guy, getting married, having babies – all at — the right age’. It’s a book you should read to feel inspired, to make your own choices and to embrace the life you want to lead without any kind of guilt or shame.”

Pant has won awards for her contribution to literature, gender issues and journalism. Her debut novel, “One & a Half Wife (2012), won the national “Muse India Young Writer Award (2014) and was shortlisted for several other awards, including the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Pant’s debut collection of short stories, “Happy Birthday” (2013) was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Award (2014). She was also long-listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2018).