Event: Anita Nair says that she essentially writes for herself

Anita Nair begins to read. A plethora of word pictures emerge. A man, who paints his face, sheds his skin and dons the soft clinging draperies of a woman. A cop with a rounded body, and blurred edges, assuages the death of his ideals with old Monk and cynicism. A narrow road in the heart of the city which throbs with vastly diverse forms of life, vices and yearnings.

Anita Nair’s new crime thriller, Cut like wound, set in Bangalore is a racy, page turner. But it is also a commentary on a society, a people, a way of life, love, longing, identity and loneliness.

The author, at a reading session held at Easy Library recently, said that this was her first foray into detective novels and added that contrary to popular opinion, she did not believe that it was in any way inferior to literary fiction. However, she says that she herself is not a regular reader of the genre and has not followed the time-tested way of writing one, “I don’t allow myself to be dictated by what other people do and am going to stick to my own way of writing.”

She talks about the genesis of her novel, “I was sitting in a café with my son, complaining that I was sick of talking about the Indian woman when a transgender walked past,” she says. “And my son told me to write a story with that as the central character. The idea just stuck in my mind. I wanted to write about a man dressing up as a woman and suddenly all of it started falling in place.”

Talking about her protagonist, Detective Borei Gowda, she says that although he is not based on a real person, he certainly is a composite of many police men across ranks that she had met while writing her novel, “I realised that it is pointless to create a character based on any real life character and I don’t like doing it — its boring. I decided that Gowda was going to be a complete fantasy notion of mine. Somewhere down the line I was completely enamoured by him and I couldn’t let him go,” she says, and now plans to do a series on him.

Her books may have vastly diverse settings, varied storylines, very different characters. But what remains constant is the inherent Indianess of every book she writes, “My books are always published first in India. The Western world has no real sense of the society I am writing about,” she says. “Every word I have written, I have written for myself.”

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