Articles / Interviews on Ladies Coupé

(By Sheela Reddy)

The backwaters of Kerala often haunt her dreams. No wonder she rebuilds them through her words. Bangalore based author Anita Nair has just launched her third book and her second novel, Ladies Coupe (Penguin). She says the novel has only helped her to discover some more mysteries of life.

From aspiring to be a psychiatrist, to almost being sure of becoming a journalist, to finding a hold in the world of advertising, to actually becoming a writer, Ms Nair has travelled life on her own terms. And the journey, she says, has been most delightful.

It’s finally becoming a writer that the lady settled for when she quit her 12 year old job in advertising a month ago. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed advertising. In fact, there was a point where I knew it helped me in my writing.” So why did she decide to quit her job? She smiles. “There is a point in time when you need to be disciplined. Advertising was that time for me. Now I’ve outgrown that phase and sort of enjoy it like this.” Does she miss advertising? “Not really,” she chuckles, “because my husband is into advertising. So I still keep hearing about board meetings and campaigns.

” What is it that she aims to look at through her writing? “See, it’s not really an issue I’m trying to answer. Only that I try to understand what disturbs me, be it things in me or things and people around me. And by the time, I finish writing a book, I know there are some answers that I’ll have.”

So what answers did she find after her two novels, The Better Man and the more recent The Ladies Coupe? Says the author, “I’m not trying to be a moral science teacher, but there is this certain strength deep inside that every individual has—I look at how each character achieves this.”

Our curly haired writer is almost transferred to another world when she talks about her moment of strength and, yes, her sleeveless shirt only shows the goose pimples more prominently.

Gathering herself together, she says, “It was a night in my village. I was sleeping out in the open, when I woke up with this bright light shining in my eyes, it was almost like a flashlight. And when I opened my eyes, there was this beautiful white light and a lovely star-studded sky, It was then that a feeling of contentment and beauty filled me. I realised that no matter what goes wrong, this beauty, this feeling of serenity, will always be there. It was much later that someone told me that the milky way is very clear from that part of the village.”

While her novel The Better Man has a male protagonist, The Ladies Coupe revolves around Akhila, a 45 year old single woman. Having explored writing for both men and women, who is it she prefers to write for? “I’m more comfortable writing for men. You can be yourself, unlike with women, where you have to be very careful, politically correct to be precise. One wrong word, and you’ve made a wrong move,” she says, matter of factly. And has she been careful in her new book? “That is where I’ve missed. I always tend to take my own turns.”

Ms Nair builds her story around an imaginary village in Kerala—what is it that she is looking at? “I’ve never had a chance to really live in my village. It is through my writing that I tend to go back into a world of my own.” Ms Nair is currently working on a children’s book on folk myths, which will be published by Puffin. And yes, she is going back to her village after the hectic schedule surrounding her book release is over.






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