A magazine section to produce for India Abroad; an interview to write up for Rediff — and a Bhim episode looming in the immediate future, on which I have as yet not been able to spend a moment’s thought, let alone put a word down on paper. All of that primed me for this passage in a Vikram Seth interview on Outlook magazine:
You are the first Indian writer to have got, and continue to get, a big advance, in a way professionalising writing, making it possible to earn a living from it without resorting to a day job?
I never thought that would happen.
If you look at my first two novels — The Golden Gate and A Suitable Boy — no one would have thought they would get a decent advance — and of course, The Golden Gate didn’t. That (money) was never my initial motivation. But I am very grateful that it actually gives me the time to concentrate on writing and other things that interest me, rather than being tied to some other kind of job. Or worse, a job involving words which I think depletes one of a particular kind of energy.
Not even remotely wishful of using my name and Seth’s in the same sentence — or even the same planet — this is the one problem more than any other that I’ve grappled with during this Bhim thing: after spending an entire day reading words, editing words, playing off words for work and for occasional pleasure, it is damnably hard to go back home and grapple with more words.
It’s a nice interview — read it for your pleasure. Also from Outlook, another Seth interview — this time, about the High Court judgment on Article 377, and the personal implications for the writer. And from the archives, this link I had saved from the time that doorstopper of a novel Seth is now planning to sequel first came out.
And since I’m in a mood to have you amuse yourself rather than expect me to amuse you, further, unrelated reading matter: Rana Dasgupta in Granta magazine on Delhi, and from The National: The New York University of Abu Dhabi.
Oh, and while on Delhi, read this. Take the thought to its natural conclusion, and in time every building in New Delhi will become a monument to the pol who once lived there, no?