An age-old theme is at the heart of the debut novel by State College resident Bindu Pisupati.
Pisupati’s novel “The Rearranged Life,” written under the pen name Annika Sharma, will be released May 15 following a whirlwind trip from writing to production.
The story centers around Nithya, an Indian college student who falls in love with an American man and is faced with the decision of whether to follow her heart or her family’s tradition of arranged marriage. It was inspired by Pisupati’s time at Penn State.
“I had a group of Indian friends and we were faced with the decision of whether we should stick to traditions and marry within Indian community or branch out,” Pisupati said. “It was a real struggle for a lot of people.”
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Although the story focuses on Indian culture, Pisupati said the theme applies to anyone who has ever had to choose between their own interests and the interests of others.
“Anyone who has dated someone their family doesn’t agree with can relate to this story,” Pisupati said.
Pisupati earned a degree in biobehavioral health from Penn State but said she always had an interest in writing. She wrote “The Rearranged Life” in six weeks and quickly connected with an agent who wanted to get it published.
Pisupati’s friend Melissa Torres read the book and said she “fell in love with it.” Though the character of Nithya is not based on Pisupati, Torres said she sees some of her friend come through in little moments throughout the novel.
“It’s definitely the first story that I’ve read that has to do with Indian culture, there are a lot of things in there that explain the culture more,” Torres said. “It does have Penn State in it, and that’s really exciting, too.”
Pisupati said she is planning a book-release event at Penn State on April 25; the details are still to be determined.
She is working on a manuscript for her second novel and said she sees writing becoming her permanent career.
“It’s really interesting when a passion overtakes your life and you can’t see anything else,” Pisupati said. “The fire’s been lit and I hope that it stays that way.”