“THE only reason why I chose the jobs I work for is because they involve writing, which I feel is essential to my being.” Born in Delhi, but now based in Pune, 30year old author Kailash Srinivasan was in school when he started writing essays, letters and poems. But he became serious in 2006. “I felt the need to study creative writing, but there was no such university course being offered in India. Thus, I went to Macquarie University, Sydney, but I seriously started considering myself as an author when I won a Cambridge University Press prize in fiction,” he says. His collection of short stories called What Happened to that Love? was released recently in the city.
Writing is a hobby for Srinivasan. He works primarily as a communications manager in a city-based firm and doubles up as a freelance ad-man. His book has 12 short stories which are all, except for a couple that deal with an Australian context, based in India. They all also bear a similar theme, but Srinivasan denies it is by design. “When I started writing these stories, I was not looking at any particular issue. But as I went on, I discovered that I had written on what I felt needs to be addressed in human society. My stories deal with superstition, witch hunts, the zamindari system and racism. One of the tales, with an Australian backdrop, deals with the anguish an elderly couple faces when they are neglected by their children. I feel strongly that the independence enjoyed by the children in the Western world actually works against them in many ways,” he says.
As a newcomer on the literary scene, Srinivasan quotes a bias in favour Indian authors based in the West. “We tend to not appreciate our own authors as much, till we get a Western stamp of approval. There is a lot of talent in the country, but unfortunately it is only those based outside India who are considered good authors in English,” opines Srinivas. He attributes this attitude to a need to categorise. “When one or two fail to deliver from the country, a generalisation seeps in that creates a bias in the minds of publishers.”
Now working on a still-unnamed second book, Srinivasan, who cites Raymond Carver, Anton Chekhov and Ernest Hemingway as his inspirations, says that other forms of art help him remain creative. “I’m very passionate about music and acting; I sometimes act in plays in the city and am a trained vocalist. Being immersed in these arts helps me explore new themes as an author, and keeps my creative instincts ticking,” he smiles.