Tisca Chopra Talks To Us About Her New Book & The Lessons Last Year Has Taught Her
When Tisca Chopra sat down to write her first book, she was clear about one thing: she wanted to write the kind of book that she wished she had while growing up. Tackling topics of puberty, relationships and mental health, What’s Up With Me? Puberty, Periods, Pimples, People, Problems, and More is her attempt to provide an essential guide to young girls and build a space where they can understand what changes they are going through without the fear of judgement.
We caught up with the actor, producer and now a second-time author to know more about her book, the experience of writing it and how the last year has changed things for her.
ELLE: Congratulations, the book looks lovely. Can you tell us about the general idea behind writing this book?
Tisca Chopra: Thank you. Well, it’s essentially a book for teenagers. As we know, this is a very confusing time for young girls and boys, and so I wanted to make that process easier. Even today, all these topics are not openly discussed, and I wanted to highlight that. For example, the topic of menstruation is such a normal biological thing. Why don’t we celebrate it, talk about it? My idea was to make sure that everyone, men and women, started talking about these things.
Sex education for teenagers is another ignored topic. Even if schools are conducting sex education sessions, they do it separately, whereas the opposite is needed because ultimately, the idea is to familiarise the female with the male and the male with the female. With this book, I have tried to bridge that gap. I’ve taken the biological, scientific and psychological approach to most things, including explaining both bodies while also talking about varied emotions you feel at this state, why your body feels different, and more. I’ve also reached out to experts like gynaecologist Dr Mala Arora and psychologist Malvika Varma for their inputs.
ELLE: Over the course of writing the book, are there any lessons that have stayed with you?
TC: It was a completely new project, and I’ve done a lot of deep diving and research. But the main things I’ve learned is that this generation is super smart. If you try to fool them, they immediately catch you. Also, they care a lot more about the planet. So I’ve devoted an entire section to eco-friendly ways of disposing of pads, tampons, etc.
ELLE: You mentioned that you’ve written this book during the pandemic. Has the last year affected your art in any way, be it in your acting or now your writing?
TS: Yes, definitely. A lot of us were just rushing and climbing a ladder, but we didn’t know where it would eventually lead. We were confronted very severely with our mortality, and what I learnt was to treat my body as my biggest strength. That also helped me write this book and make young girls understand what a miracle their body is. I think we have also developed a sense of consciousness about the world around us. While it is about the here and the now, it’s also about what’s happening around us.
ELLE: You’ve been wearing multiple hats over the years. What has been your constant source of inspiration?
TS: I lead an innocent life, to be honest, and I guard myself against too much praise and also too much criticism. I keep that innocence and that curiosity alive. I see things and people around me, and that inspires me to narrate my stories. While I am living in this sort of protected environment, I try to keep my eyes and ears open to the world around me. If you buy into the idea of the film star life, you become trapped in the clothes and the shoot and the photos. I do that, but that’s not 100 per cent of who I am.
ELLE: Apart from this book, what are some of the other things keeping you busy?
TS: I get to spend time with my daughter for one. We cook together, we bake cakes and make simple, fun things. I also finished editing my short film and released it in November last year. I also directed my first film. I read up a lot, and I took a lot of masterclasses to polish my skill as a director before I started directing. I am also currently shooting for a series. So yeah, lots of things (smiles).