Cooking up a monsoon feast

Aug 31, 2013, 07:22 IST | The Guide Team

3 questions with Payal Nayar and Shalaka Ranadive from Dragon Fly Productions

1. How was the experience of working on such a collaboration across different cultures and well-known authors?
It was a very challenging but interesting experience. We had to identify not just well established authors but also authors who were familiar with both Singapore and Kerala. Establishing contact with the selected authors, getting them excited and making them understand the concept an interesting journey.

Payal Nayar and Shalaka Ranadive
Payal Nayar (left) and Shalaka Ranadive. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

2. How did this idea take shape?
The fact that both of us have lived in India and now live in Singapore and have creative backgrounds bringing both our cultures together, seemed like a perfect fit. This is how Dragon Fly Productions (DFP) conceived the idea of creating Insight India as a platform for bridging the gap between the two countries through culture. DFP sensed some sort of a void between Singapore and India culturally despite so many interesting cultural commonalities that it was a good opportunity to create something tangible with a wider audience and what better way to do it than create a conducive literary atmosphere connecting the writers with the readers. Hence A Monsoon Feast was born.

3. Tell us about a few interesting observations that emerged while working on A Monsoon Feast?
It was fascinating to see how the stories were different and yet every contributor kept the Kerala-Singapore link in mind while developing their stories. With a Singaporean editor (Verena Tay) on board, the connect began from the start of the book, as the editor and writers developed a deeper understanding of each others’ cultures as the book was getting finalised. The foreword contributed by Dr Shashi Tharoor and Professor Kirpal Singh also gave a fantastic introduction to the rationale behind the book. This is the entree that DFP has facilitated to begin a larger feast bringing two cultures closer together.

Connecting India and Singapore
The book launch that was held in Mumbai on Friday was in conjunction with the Singapore International Foundation’s SIF Connects! Mumbai. SIF partners with cultural ambassadors to share insights, build communities and foster collaborations, and organises SIF Connects! in major cities to bring together Friends of Singapore communities.

A Monsoon Feast, Edited by Verena Tay, Monsoon Books, US$ 15.95 (approx R1,055) For copies: Kitab Khana, Somaiya Bhavan, Flora Fountain or write to &

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