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    Mary Zareah’s Vodka Sambar takes you on a road trip to Pakistan in search of answers

    A GIRL trying hard to find answers about her past finds herself in Pakistan. And what happens there is the essence of first-time writer Mary Zareah’s soon-to-release book, Vodka Sambar. “Everything started from this one line, but I can’t figure out why this even struck me. Maybe because I used to read a lot of inspirational stories of people coming from Pakistan or may be because I’ve friends there,” says Zareah, who is a travel junkie. She has gone backpacking to Bhutan and Malaysia, and Pakistan is on her list.
    The Bengaluru-based iPhone app developer tells us why her protagonist Sudha Ramamurthy decides to cross the border in this 333-pager. “Sudha’s life is going nowhere. She is going to turn 30 and is single. She works as a copywriter in an advertising firm in Bengaluru and isn’t enjoying it much. One day, something disturbing from her past resurfaces. So she decides to take a road trip to Pakistan to fix that,” says the debutante, who owes her creative side to her poetess mother. The title is also an important part of the plot, we’re told.
    But the book isn’t a thriller. “It’s a mix of mystery, fantasy, chick-lit and more,” says the writer, who had hit upon the idea of Vodka Sambar in 2012. But her lazy self didn’t see her writing much till she fell ill with bronchitis in 2014 and took a month off from work. And, when she did finish the 42 chapters, scoring a publisher didn’t come easy. So she decided to start a publishing house, Blue Fin, to take her book to the market as well as give a platform to other aspiring writers like her. She even released a video trailer to spread the word about Vodka Sambar, which will be launched at Atta Galatta on September 6.
    Rs.250 on amazon.com
    — Barkha Kumari


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