At around 5:50PM last Friday , I left my office in a hurry. I had about ten minutes to reach ITC Rajputana.
Anita Nair, the famed author, of titles such as The Better Man and Ladies Coupe, was in town to launch her new book. “Chain of Custody” the second novel in the Inspector Gowda series was being discussed and unveiled today in this event, organized by the Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Siyahi’s Mita Kapur (Write Circle) and Shree Cement.
Vaidehi Singh, the interviewer, had commenced the session and was in conversation with Anita Nair when I reached the place. Members of the Jaipur Book Lovers (JBL) Club, were seated at the front – taking notes and listening intently.
Despite examinations and very tight work schedules, every member of the Jaipur Book Lovers group had come to attend this particular session.
The first thing I noticed about the conversation was the relaxed and laid back manner in which Anita Nair spoke.
She talked about her tryst with poetry at a very young age. When asked about the kind of research she had to do while writing the book, she recounted an incident about a burglar who broke into her house and how the police helped track the thief. The way she talked about the burglary, it sounded as though her own fiction had turned almost ironically prophetic in its reach to return to where it was first conceived.
Anita Nair also spoke about social causes like child slavery and trafficking, which also had a lot of thematic relevance to her new book. On the subject of writing crime fiction, the author elaborated on how it allowed her to make a commentary on several aspects of the society that her earlier works had not ventured into. Anita Nair called her latest
book, a work of ‘faction’ – fact and fiction.
As I sat there, I wondered about the role of an artist in a society. Is an artist the architect of morality in the society that he or she belongs to? Or
does an artist merely exist to offer entertainment – a temporary escape from the harsh realities of the world? I am going to ask Anita what she thinks about this, I told myself. The session lasted for over an hour with the conversation being centered around the aspect of research she had to do, for creating an authentic scenario. The writer also discussed how Inspector Gowda was her “alter-ego”, and that through him, she lived out her “fantasies of bringing a solution to issues”.
She did not read any excerpts from her book like most authors do – and I liked that, an unconventional approach. When the conversation was over, Anita answered questions from the audience. Some of my friends from JBL asked questions as well. The questions were about how her personal battles with health and life influence her work and if she was envious of the heroes in her novels. Someone also asked her for tips to get children interested in writing. Anita answered each question with ease, grace and a whole lot of intelligent.
I enjoyed this amazing discussion and was absolutely fascinated. As for my question, well, I couldn’t ask her – there wasn’t enough time, but probably it’s for the best. Unlike in crime novels, in life, some questions
best serve their purpose existing as they are – as puzzles left hanging and unsolved.
Author’s Bio – Joshua Immanuel is a Senior Patent Analyst by profession and a weekend writer. His favorite writer is Salinger. Joshua enjoys reading short stories and poetry.