Lata Gwalani, Author, INCOGNITO is behavioural trainer at Human Impact Training and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. She is an Arts graduate and a postgraduate in Journalism and Communication. After almost a decade of active journalism with leading publications, she discovered her passion in the depths of the human mind and psyche. Her last corporate stint was with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a Technical Writer. She is a master trainer in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) trained under Dr. William Horton of the National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, USA. She is certified in Emotional Intelligence Competency by the Forum for Emotional Intelligence Learning and SBM NMIMS University. She has also done an advanced course in French from the Alliance Française de Bombay.
INCOGNITO is a story of Anjali's plain and staid life suddenly turns into a whirlpool when she befriends four very different individuals, leading distinct lifestyles. Slowly and steadily, they entrap Anjali into their lives. Anjali becomes the nucleus of their existence. She witnesses their lives from the ringside, and draws vicarious pleasure in their passionate love affairs. Then Anjali inadvertently becomes a mute witness to their plotting of four bizarre murders. Will Anjali be able to extricate herself from the tentacles of her four friends, or is the fabric of their relationship so intricately woven, that Anjali can only be drawn deeper into the sinister labyrinth? Incognito is a compelling psychological thriller; this hair-raising tale will keep you hooked from start to finish.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Lata Gwalani says, “Unrequited love, emptiness, lack of meaning in life…all these form the basis of my book.”
What got you interested in the psychological thriller genre?
When I set out to write, I didn’t know I would pen a psychological thriller…but eventually my interest in human behaviour steered me along this path.
You are a behavioral trainer and conduct workshops on Emotional Intelligence. Do you feel the emotional turbulence has increased over the years or is it that people are just coming forward more willingly to express the same?
There’s definitely more awareness about emotional release now. Emotional turbulence has always existed. Earlier, stereotypical emotional patterns were accepted without questioning. Today, with widespread gender equality and exposure, stereotypes are being questioned. Hence, people are openly expressing and sharing emotional upheavals.
Is the emotional issues more due to failure to reach aspirations or are the aspirations itself much higher? Any anecdotes you would like to share based on your interactions with people?
Well, yes. Aspirations are definitely soaring, with scant respect to age and stage in life. The competitive fabric of society today pushes people towards peak performance in all aspects of life. Failure is a dirty word. Emotional health is obviously at stake.
I had this lady walk up to me at the end of one of my workshops. She wanted to know if I could work with her daughter on imparting etiquette and grooming skills. Her daughter was eight years old! “She is not well turned out,” the distressed mother explained. You can imagine the emotional turmoil in both the mother and the daughter.
How did the idea about Incognito come about? You have four separate stories with four independent lifestyles in this book.
Unrequited love, emptiness, lack of meaning in life…all these form the basis of my book. The four characters and their stories are products of mind games.
Who is your target reader?
Anyone looking for a racy journey into the intricacies of the mind.
What else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy reading, meeting people, long walks, yoga, and travelling.
In your childhood were you always keen on psychology or writing? Who are some of those who inspired you?
I have always been writing…be it a birthday card or an article.
I draw inspiration from just about anything…the tireless sun, my maid, my dad’s grit and determination, the beauty of nature…
Ayn Rand, Anthony Robbins, Shivashankari, Elizabeth Gilbert…have left a deep impact on me...
What do you think needs to be done to reduce the emotional trauma? What is the most common issue you come across?
I strongly recommend talking things out. If that’s not possible, then write it out. Suppressing emotions will lead to major health risks.
The most common emotional issue is that of coping with guilt. Due to the lack of assertion, most of us are crushed under the burden of guilt. Saying ‘no’ is a difficult, but learned art.
Tell us about your family. What are your upcoming books?
My friend, philosopher, guide and husband, Sunil. The star attraction in my life is my 18-year old son Sagar. And my greatest de-stressor is my German Shepherd, Sera. We are a family of crazy people: Sunil is a marathoner, every road beckons his soles. Sagar is a musician, and his life is one passionate song. Sera is a linguist – Sindhi, Hindi, Tamil, English and Marathi – are the tongues her tail wags to!!