Actor Kalki Koechlin is making her debut as an author with an illustrated non-fiction book on motherhood. Titled "Elephant In The Womb", the graphic book, illustrated by Valeriya Polyanychko, will be published this year announced publisher Penguin Random House India (PRHI).
A combination of personal essays and think-pieces, the book is a "candid, funny and relatable" account talking about pregnancy and parenting for mothers, expectant mothers, and "anyone even thinking about motherhood". Koechlin and her partner and classical musician Guy Hershberg themselves are new parents. The national award winning actor, who opted for water birth, delivered her first child, a baby girl, in February, last year.
"While I was struggling with my pregnancy and my new role as a mother, it was my friends who helped me," says the 37-year-old actor. "They shared their rough times and dark phases and how they got through it with laughter and contemplation, and that helped me more than those who spoke only of the glorious, blessed babe in arms that brought light into their lives," Koechlin adds.
According to the publisher, Koechlin's nuanced prose makes the readers aware about the physiological discomfort like untimely farts, discomfort, and so on, and manic expectations that make motherhood a bittersweet experience. Ukaranian illustrator Polyanychko, who spends time in her native country and India, said that she could identify with the book and translating the book's essence visually was a "profound" experience.
According to Manasi Subramaniam, executive editor at PRHI, Koechlin's book deals with the mother of all issues – "the fact that parenting is as exhausting as it is fulfilling, as draining as it is inspiring, and as frustrating as it is joyous".
"We romanticize motherhood in popular culture, and I'm so glad Kalki has pulled back the curtain on what is essentially the physical and emotional labour of much of the female population," Subramaniam said. The announcement comes at an apt time - Mother's Day.