There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Anita Nair-A Prologue

By Sapna Anu B George
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

With “the girl next door” looks - charming and composed - Anita Nair stands apart sagaciously from the usual trend and scenario of an Indian writer. The rustled hair and the carefully careless look add a touch of   spirit and poise in her statuette, which in turn gives her an air of prominence.  As a maverick writer, with a thought process that is independent in style and insinuation, she exhibits an amazing depth in her narration.  Anita would not fit into the conventional thought wheel of a novelist.  Part-time advertising writer and full-time epicure, she lives in Bangalore, with her son and her husband who works in advertising as well.  Her roots firmly are planted in Mundakotukurussi, Kerala, about which she is proud and narrates perceptibly in her books. Her strong and valid reasoning and comments on social issues, such as: "Why should we change the prevailing traditions?" are looked upon by society with awe and respect.

A glance into the life of Anita Nair

When you look back how do you think you were inspired to write?

• It was not an intentional act, though there was a serious desire to publish. I always enjoyed  writing  and  as the  theory  goes, you sing because  you  enjoy  singing, you feel the need to  do  it. No one waits for an appreciation or praise to elevate you; it is like an inner calling.  While working for an advertising agency, I just wrote a short story and left it on my desk. My friend who read it appreciated the story beyond my wild imaginations and suggested taking it to an editor of the Times of India. A year later, he suggested publishing an anthology of my short stories and Anita Nair's books started appearing on the stands.

Which was the first published book?

•Without much search, I chose a publisher, ‘Har-Anand Publications’,based in Delhi, who agreed to publish my book without any apprehension. My first published book, a collection of short stories, called “Satire of the Subway” earned me a fellowship from the Virginia Centre for Creative Arts.

 Your novels always depict the inner depth of the characters’ feelings. For example, in “Mistress", you feel the pain and the degradation a Kathakali artist feels and that becomes the backdrop of the entire book. How?

• Actually, it is seldom the larger things that inspire us but the smaller mêlées”.

Why melancholy or sadness becomes a basic feeling in most of your poems and novels?

• In all human beings there is always a shriek of melancholy.

Tell us something about your inspirations to write poems.

• “Malabar Mind” rakes through almost all the basic feelings of my characters. The entire collection gives us a picturesque view of the day-to-day incidents and narrations, which gives us a gripping feeling.

You have narrated in your site: "My mother is more embarrassed about my grey hair than my narration of sex. Now, what do you think of the narration of sex in novels? Does that enhance the true sense of feeling or does that give you more confidence to write about the character?

• I am not ashamed about sex; I felt it perfectly natural as I was narrating another area of sensuality; perfectly natural like the feel of a silk cloth or the sensual pleasure of a delicious dish cooked and eaten. I just see it as an appetite, raw in form. It does not make me even remotely ashamed talking about it.

What is your opinion about the current social issues that are going on in Kerala - ‘Gods own country’? Who were respecting women and giving equal status to women? Was it all a façade or a cover all these years for politicians?

• It happens everywhere, not only in Kerala. The political issues and society are so strongly bonded; they almost co-exist. We should think about our existence. The nature of the state being what it is and with the high level of education, we do have opinions of our own. In Bihar or Jharkhand, you would not find this much of impact as the educated crowd is minimal. Most of the others cannot read and write. In Kerala, it is an issue.  A few stray comments I made on ‘Asia Enlighten net’ are discussed and debated by all kinds of people.  It’s very naïve to say there are no sex scandals. It is everywhere, but it is hush- hush and suppressed.

What do you think of social work and helping the society? Now -a-days it is fashion. Does a true humanitarian need publicity?

• Now-a- days it is all publicity stunt and each and every one needs to give themselves an air.

In gulf, we have heard fantastic reviews about your books and novels and collection of poems. Do you have any message to give to the young generation?

• It worries me a bit that a lot of Indians, including Keralites, do not attach dignity to labour. It does not matter what you do as long as it is honest kind of livelihood. The young generations should be given the feeling that every work has its value and respect. It is a funny thing that people, especially the young generations, are seldom consistent in their approach to it. This is all because we have forgotten the old habit of reading a book, a good poem or a short story. Instead, computer and internet have replaced the old sojourn habits; we should  really bring back  the habit of reading.

How do you plan a book?

• Once I think of a story line or when an outline sets in my mind, I sit through the book; I progress from scene to scene. When I am done, read through and re-work.  As I write, the plot or the main theme of the story progresses. The crux of the story is always there in my mind, but the story is evolved. The first draft is always by hand and then I key it in. My publisher reads it.

Bringing the persona  back into  focus raises the  question  what lies behind the  heart of most successful  novelists, like Anita, who has completed   not less than  15 books and a collation  of short stories called  the “Satire of  Comedy”.  The secret of her instant success is how she delves into people’s personalities. The perfect example for this is her latest novel “Mistress” (Oct-05), about a Kathakali dancer.  Perhaps she is the first Indian author to be published by Picador U.S.A. Her third book, “Ladies Coupe” (April-01), was rated as one of the top five books of the year and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages around the world.  “Malabar Mind” (1997), her debut collection of poems, depicted human emotions in words of poetry, which flows through your mind due to her perfect selection of emotions. Overall though, a job well done.


  1. Good Luck to this young inspiring writer...i reckon well with melancholy-ness

  2. Geeta Abraham JoseDecember 4, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    sapna, that was a great interview....i liked the way the questions were framed and her honest, down-to-earth and realistic approach to each question. i've read ladies coupe and good night god bless and i liked both the books immensely....waiting to read the rest.

  3. The habit of reading is underlined by the writer in the interview, and you have established it well with the question that sparked her to speak . The introduction of Anita Nair, is said in its perfect sense, that creates a lovely nature of her. With questions that make the writer reveal her inner thoughts, a valuable job is done. Salutes, Sapna, ... See Morefor this share. I would love to quote a sentence from the text : "The secret of her instant success is how she delves into people’s personalities." ... Its the most of words.
    ~ jean paul

  4. Sapna, liked this one! It's heartening to know the mind of a writer through the pen of another.