By Ranjana Narayan
Why target only India for rapes, they happen all over the world, says Danish designer-turned writer Inger Solberg, who has come out with her first book “Pushpa”, a vibrant account of her life in India, which she has made her home for the past 15 years.
Solberg, who loves India and everything Indian, is against the controversial BBC documentary “India’s Daughter” that kicked up a storm in India and was banned from being telecast. She also wrote a Facebook post against the documentary, based on the December 16,2012 gang-rape incident that shook India.
“The incident was true (December 16 gang-rape); but why make the film and send the message that all Indian men are rapists, that their mindset is like this? Because that is not true; because this (rape) happens all over the world,” Solberg said.
“And why pick India? .There are so many nice people, nice gentlemen here who are willing to help, good people. There are so many good things happening here. So why are they always picking on the negative side? Take the sunshine stories and bring them out,” said Solberg.
Solberg, who chose to settle down in India after a “hard divorce”, says she has been fascinated by India since she was a teenager. “I always dreamed about coming to India. I was fascinated by the culture, the Hinduism, about (Mahatma) Gandhi, and chose to settle down in this country,” she said.
Solberg, who was born in Norway, but lived in Denmark, says she had “fallen in love with the sleeping tiger (India). “But the sleeping tiger is not sleeping anymore, it has woken up and has taken over the world”, she says.
Solberg used to frequent India in the 90s in connection with her fashion designing.
The title of the book “Pushpa” comes from the name her Indian boyfriend used to call her by. He was sadly killed in a motorcycle crash a few years ago.
“He gave me the name Pushpa. He gave me the encouragement to finish the book. It took me three and a half years to finish writing,” Solberg said in an interview. The book release was done by Denmark envoy Freddy Svane last week.
“‘Pushpa’ is about a divorced woman who comes to India with nothing except willingness to start a life of her own, and show that anything can be possible, and you have to believe in yourself, believe in destiny, and you have to believe in the ‘upar wala’ (god),” she adds. Solberg, who is quite conversant with Hindi, adds that the searing summer heat in Delhi gives her the “chakkar”.
The book, written in a racy style, is available on Flipkart and Amazon. Its overseas editions are being negotiated as well as its film rights.
“A very big Indian filmmaker, I don’t want to disclose his name.. he loves the story and has written to me and said it will be a much better movie than “Love Eat and Pray”. It has much more material. He wants to make an international movie,” said Solberg, who has begun working on her second book, which too is very much based in India.
“I am such a lover of this country and I understand so much about its culture by loving it,” said Solberg.
Part of the proceeds of the book will go towards upliftment of women who have been victims of domestic abuse. “I am a victim of abuse and domestic violence myself, earlier and also here in India; abuses and misuses, and I want to help women who are battered, underprivileged women in India,” she added.
Solberg, who sells her designs under her name, loves celebrating the different Indian festivals with all the colours and vibrancy associated with them.
During the Navratri festival, Solberg prays and abstains from non vegetarian food. “I also give food to little girls on Navratri.”
She goes to a Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Chattarpur every Thursday. “On Diwali I decorate the house with flowers and candles. I pray in front of goddess Lakshmi, wearing a red dress. I also throw card parties on Diwali, I play flash and win,” she said smiling.
Holi is another festival she loves. “On Holi, I drink bhang and I throw colours on friends.. It is such a beautiful tradition, and a nice festival,” said Solberg.
Pushpa, published by Mahaveer Publications, is 280 pages and priced at Rs.175.