Currently a Member of Parliament, he regularly shuttles between his constituency Thiruvananthapuram and New Delhi. Over the past weekend, the former diplomat was in the city to promote his latest book on foreign affairs. In a one-on-one with CS, he talks about his passion for writing, sports and lots more:
Indian writing in English
Though I’m fluent in Hindi, Malayalam and French, I can’t imagine myself writing in those languages. English is what I’m totally confident in and can convey my thoughts fluently. Of course, I’d love to see my work getting translated in other languages. Speaking of Indian writers in English, the most interesting change I’ve seen is that we don’t just write to win international prizes. There has been a mature wave of popular writers who churn out rom-coms, chick-lit, detective novels, potboilers and many more.
Pakistani cricket, Chinese Olympics
I tend to believe that diplomacy reflects improvement in our relationships. And cricket in itself cannot be an instrument in doing the same with Pakistan. On a positive note, there are serious steps taken to increase trade and cooperation. Talking of Olympics, we can’t beat China. At least, not as of now. Their approach is totally different from ours. They have a system with a set target. In India, most individuals achieve, not because of the system, but despite it.
I was rather surprised by the malicious attitude of certain people who deliberately twisted incidents for their own interest. They just wanted to pull me down so they created a row over banal words like ‘interlocutor’ and ‘cattle class’. I used to joke I’m so tired of breaking news that I’m now broken, please leave me alone!
Wife knows best
Sunanda is the one who really pushed me to finish the book. I was writing on and off so one day she said, “Either you’re writing it or you’re not. But if you’re taking time away from me to write, do complete it before 27th July!” That’s her birthday so I had to really rush and put in three hectic months. Fortunately, I was able to gift her the book on her birthday.