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Book Launch: Operation Lipstick

What does it take for a woman and a western woman at that to report in a war struck Afghanistan? How do women cope up with the pressures of their job in an extremely conservative country? Are female war journalists no nonsense and tough as one would imagine?

The book, ‘Operation Lipstick’ by Pia Hiekkila, who was a correspondent with Al Jazeera, CNBC, CNN, published by Random House looks at some of these questions The book was launched at a suburban bookstore on Wednesday by AFP Rachel O’Brian and actress Tisca Chopra who has a special connection with Afghanistan.

Operation Lipstick is ‘chick lit’ set in war torn Afghanistan. The western bred reporter performs her job but at the same time she is looking for true love. Pia says that she always has been a huge fan of chick lit but a problem she had with them was that, ‘the protagonists were sort of projected as needy, damsels in distress’. She has tried to bust the myth that all chicks in chick lit are sad and extremely vulnerable. The protagonist, Anna Sanderson is a tough woman who has a mind of her own and projects herself in that fashion without being too manly.

Tisca Chopra who was brought up in Afghanistan was of the opinion that a lot more is expected if a person reporting from a conflicted area is a woman. It is not necessary that she should bring out a dark underbelly of the area but should focus on the undercurrents and something which has escaped the bold print. The book is a window to this world without getting too intellectual or theoretical. Tisca candidly shared some experiences and anecdotes from her stay in Kabul. She believes that the book has the makings of a great Hollywood film and would she would love to be a part of it, ‘Only the protagonist should be a brunette’ and then joked that she would have to go to a call center to perfect the, ‘accent’ .

‘Operation Lipstick’ indeed seems to be a promising read with its Bridget Jones meets Nancy Drew plot but the only question is whether we would accept the naughty bits (and boy, there are a lot of them) in the backdrop of travails of Afghanistan.

– Preeti Kulkarni</i

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