Kalki debuts as writer with motherhood memoir

Kolkata, May 8 (UNI): On the occasion of International Mother’s Day, Penguin Random House India announced the acquisition and publication of a unique illustrated work of nonfiction on motherhood by Kalki Koechlin.

Titled The Elephant In the Womb, it is illustrated by Valeriya Polyanychko and will be published in the fall of 2021 under the Penguin imprint of the publishing house.


In this unique graphic book, a combination of personal essays and think-pieces, we finally have that candid, funny and relatable book on pregnancy and parenting that mothers, expectant mothers, and anyone even thinking about motherhood have been waiting for. It is gorgeously illustrated, with deeply personal journal entries captured in real time, alongside reflections and anecdotes.

Commenting on the experience and inspiration, Kalki said, “While I was struggling with my pregnancy and my new role as a mother, it was my friends who helped me. 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.”

The illustrator of the book, Polyanychko, says, “We often take motherhood for granted and assume that it’s something that just happens. Kalki’s book uses quick wit and a sense of humour to take the reader down the long and winding road of parenting. Not only did Kalki’s emotional journey deeply resonate with me, but illustrating this book has also been one of the most profound and enriching experiences I’ve ever had.”

With whimsy and compassion, with uproariously funny art and spellbinding honesty, The Elephant in the Womb blends the deeply private with the blazingly political. It’s an eye-opener for anyone who has ever thought that pregnancy was all about the glow and that motherhood was all about fulfilment. From fixing broken parts to enduring untimely farts, Koechlin’s nuanced prose tells us the bare-faced truth about the physiological discomfort and manic expectations that make it a bittersweet experience.

Talking about the book she commissioned, Manasi Subramaniam, Executive Editor and Head of Literary Rights, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India, says, “Kalki 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 romanticise 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.”

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