Jayant Swamy’s first novel, Colours In The Spectrum, follows Karan from Bangalore of the 70s to Los Angeles and back to a much changed city
Jayant Swamy always had a love for writing, but the idea of penning down a novel occurred after he read Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. “I happened to read A Suitable Boy when I was relocating to the US,” says Jayant who was in town for the launch of his debut novel, Colours in the Spectrum at Landmark bookstore. “At around the same time, Arundhati Roy had won the Booker prize. I was like, I can write reasonably well, what’s stopping me from writing?”
Colours in the Spectrum, Jayant’s novel, took about three to four years to write. It tells the story of Karan who grows up in a sedate Bangalore of the 70’s and later moves to Los Angeles. “Swept away by the unforgiving culture of Los Angeles”, Karan’s life is in a mess. He returns, at 35, to a much-changed Bangalore of the post-liberalisation era. Karan reconnects with Arjun, Aarti and Indu. But he makes a startling discovery when he tries to trace the whereabouts of Danny. “At the very core, beneath the layers of drama and the glamour, my novel is about self realisation. I have used the universal theme of love to show this.”
Characterisation is among Jayant’s strengths as a writer. “I like to create complex characters. I constantly check the emotional arc of the characters. The thrill is to create characters that are gray rather than black or white,” says Jayant, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore who now lives in Seattle, and is a member of the Board of Directors of IIM Americas.
The best part of writing fiction, for Jayant, is to let the imagination soar. “I write fiction because I am more of a ‘why-not’ and ‘what-if’ kind of guy. I also like to share a different perspective. Respect for the reader is important for me. My themes are not conventional in the Indian sense. My book looks at people who do not necessarily follow societal norms, who do not go through life doing what is usually expected of them. I like to write about people who have to realise their calling and make their choices.”
Bangalore is a character in itself. “Bangalore is almost like a sixth character,” agrees Jayant. “It mirrors the change in my characters.”
“I used to be a guest faculty at management schools. I have been straddling the worlds of management, corporate training and writing during the past several years. I have reasonable insights into human behaviour, that’s why my novel is character-driven,” he concludes.
Colours In The Spectrum is a Leadstart publication and is priced at Rs. 245.