Chatting about Tuki and Other Grand Things

Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase by Parul Sharma

The Blurb

AFor most hairstylists, the move from the dingy Lovely Beauty Parlour to the upmarket Nancy’s Factory would be reward enough. Gifted, young Tuki though has her sights set on a bigger prize – her own salon! Her well-laid plans start going awry as soon as the striking tattooist Faraaz joins Nancy’s Factory. Tuki needs to handle Faraaz’s advances, figure out the mystery behind the disappearance of the elderly, eccentric, brilliant writer Bijoy Dutta and rescue the multilayered Sweety Bhabhi from destitution.

Finding herself at the heart of one storm too many, Tuki decides to run away from the leafy lanes of Bandra to the old-world Portugese villas of Goa. In the comforting embrace of the village Aldona, she finds herself struggling with her rather untimely attraction to her enigmatic neighbour, the charming Arvind and sharing house with Bijoy, haunted as he is by the ghosts of his past.

Armed with nothing but a pair of scissors and the jigsaw pieces of her broken dream, Tuki has to navigate through Mumbai, Goa and London to find out if the universe is conspiring to make her or break her.

Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase is her heartwarming tale of finding love and hope in the unlikeliest of places.

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The Interview

Maybe it is because she is a woman that Parul Sharma could draw out the confusion and the anxiety that plays on the mind of Tuki when her plans go haywire. The way Parul has written her characters in the book, are such that they are relatable and real. I had the opportunity to talk to the lady herself about herself, her work, her dreams and her plans.

Q1)  Firstly someone would think that you are a hairdresser rather than someone who works in the corporate sector. What goes into your research process for the characters and locations?

Thank you, that means that I did some justice to Tuki! I spoke to many hairstylists who opened their lives and hearts to me quite willingly. It’s to their credit that the story came alive and the setting seemed authentic. The book, as you know, is set in three different geographies – Mumbai, Goa and London. I live in Bandra as does Tuki but her milieu is different. I used to take walks in and around Chimbai to seep into the culture. Aldona in Goa was more difficult because I have never been to that village. What I have experienced of Goa is from the tourism lens and Tuki was living something remarkably different from that. So I resorted to many, many books on Goa and the amount I learnt about this piece of paradise was by itself very rewarding. The part based in London came from my own trips to the city. 

Q2)  I found your characters to be quite real people someone we would know or probably have dealt with at some point of time in our lives, so how much of real life seeps into your books?

Not in this book. The germ of the protagonist Tuki lies in a real-life encounter I had with a hairstylist in a Bandra salon but post that, the trajectory of her life, the people she met, the places she went took their own course.

Q3)  So did you have any plans in life, or a blueprint on how to live life like Tuki?

I have a strong work-ethic, as does Tuki but I am much older than she is and recognize that the destruction of Plan A does not mean that one runs away! 

Q4)  Who is your literary inspiration?

PG Wodehouse, Alexander McCall Smith and Shivani. 

Q5)  What is your favourite genre and favourite book?

Humour, dramatic fiction, travel, mystery, horror. Krishnakali by Shivani is my favourite book. 

Q6)  Which is your favourite character, someone you wish you would have written?

Boo Radley, of course. And Heathcliff. And Scarlett O’Hara. 

Thank you for your time and I hope That Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase achieves a great success.

My pleasure. 



Meet the Author

Parul Sharma grew up in the small towns of Uttar Pradesh. This was fortunate because it ensured that she ran into some rather quirky characters pretty early on in life. Once done with schooling, she made the rather dubious choice of studying Economics, a sentiment with which Economics agreed, no doubt. This made way for a degree from Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad where many inspiring cups of tea were consumed, among other things. 

She has worked with the corporate sector for several years in companies such as Genesis Burson-Marsteller (New Delhi), Arvind Brands Ltd (Bangalore) and Indian Market Research Bureau (Mumbai) in marketing communications and qualitative market research, but she also writes novels. 

The bestselling Bringing Up Vasu: That First Year was her first book and described the travails of Mira, a young, first-time mother. Her second novel was By The Watercooler – the story of Mini and Tanya, young women who find that the corporate ladder is actually a greasy pole. All her books have been published by Westland. She has also contributed stories to the Chicken Soup For The Soul series and to Femina.

Parul lives in Mumbai with her husband, two children and sometimes, if she’s lucky, Kittu, the street cat. 

Parul is passionate about animals and their welfare and would like to open an animal shelter in the future. 

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