Monica Saigal’s Journey: From Spices to Second Chances

Monica Saigal’s Journey: From Spices to Second Chances

Monica sheds light on her creative process, the significance of choosing Kashmir as a setting, and the unique connection her book has forged with celebrity chef Vikas Khanna

In the realm of literature, Monica Saigal (formerly Monica Bhide) is a name synonymous with culinary prowess and captivating storytelling. With her latest release, A Kiss in Kashmir: A Timeless Tale of Love, she ventures into new territories, blending her love for rich narratives with a tale of late-blooming romance set against the picturesque backdrop of Kashmir.

Saigal’s journey as an author and food writer has been nothing short of illustrious, marked by a string of accomplishments that have solidified her reputation as a formidable voice in both literary and culinary circles. With eleven books under her belt, including the acclaimed Modern Spice and the introspective A Life of Spice, her transition into romantic fiction with A Kiss in Kashmir represents a delightful evolution in her storytelling.

“A Kiss in Kashmir”, promises readers a narrative akin to the emotive storytelling of Nicholas Sparks, where love, loss, and second chances intertwine in the embrace of the serene Kashmiri landscape. Monica’s decision to craft this romance differently was deliberate—she sought to capture the complexities of love as experienced later in life, imbuing her characters with the wisdom and depth that comes from lived experiences.

In an exclusive interview, Monica sheds light on her creative process, the significance of choosing Kashmir as a setting, and the unique connection her book has forged with celebrity chef Vikas Khanna.

Redesigning the Romance Narrative

When asked about her unconventional approach to romance in A Kiss in Kashmir, Monica explained, “Life, much like love, is complex and richly textured, especially as we age. I wanted to capture the depth of emotions and experiences that come with finding love later in life.” Her narrative promises to resonate with readers by celebrating the beauty of rediscovery and passion that matures over time, presenting a refreshing departure from traditional romance arcs.

Kashmir: Beauty Amidst Complexity

The choice to set her story in Kashmir was intentional. Monica sought to highlight the region’s overwhelming beauty and cultural richness while navigating its complex history with sensitivity.

Her research delved deep into Kashmiri culture, history, and everyday lives, ensuring an authentic portrayal that honours the spirit of resilience and hope amidst challenging times.

Mature Love: A Tale of Resilience

Monica believes that love in one’s fifties carries a unique richness—a culmination of life experiences, self-understanding, and the courage to embrace vulnerability anew. Her protagonists embody this celebration of mature love, rooted in shared values and mutual respect, making A Kiss in Kashmir a poignant testament to love’s endurance.

Literary Gastronomy: Vikas Khann’s Tribute

In a delightful twist, Monica’s narrative has transcended the pages of her book to inspire a dish at celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s restaurant. The dish, named after A Kiss in Kashmir, encapsulates the essence of the story through its flavours and presentation, paying homage to Kashmiri cuisine and the sensory experiences the region evokes.

A Prolific Journey Across Genres

Reflecting on her expansive literary journey, Monica shares insights into her writing process, emphasizing her passion for exploring diverse genres. “Each book, regardless of genre, starts with a kernel of truth—a feeling, a question, an observation,” she explains. From cookbooks to suspenseful magical realism and now romantic fiction, Monica’s versatility underscores her commitment to telling stories that resonate deeply with readers.

Monica Saigal’s narrative journey—from spices to second chances—is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling. With A Kiss in Kashmir, she invites readers on a heartfelt exploration of love, loss, and the enduring hope that beauty can be found in life’s unexpected twists and turns. As her twelfth book prepares to captivate hearts, Monica continues to redefine the boundaries of literary expression, one evocative story at a time.

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