Sarita Mandanna, whose first novel, Tiger Hills, released in India last month, is an alumnus of IIM, Bangalore and Wharton. In her 30s (she divulges no more), and as vice-president at Equifin Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, Mandanna flits between the world of numbers and the world of fiction on a daily basis. Tiger Hills is a love saga set in Coorg’s spectacular landscape of hills and coffee plantations and spans 50 years across the late 19th and early 20th century. In an interview with DNA, Mandanna speaks about writing, her childhood in Coorg and why she needs to come back to writing after a day spent number-crunching.
I was born in Coorg and lived in the hills, in the beauty I describe in Tiger Hills. I don’t have a literary background, so when I sat down to write a novel, it made sense to write about something I know best and love above all — Coorg, and a fondness for history. I simply combined my love for the two. As I began writing, I realised I needed a large canvas where I could weave in details, do justice to the beauty of Coorg, and the pride of its people.
Why do English novels by Indian writers always have to have either tigers or mangoes or pickles or spices in the title?
The ‘tiger’ in my book’s title is there because tiger weddings were very much a part of the culture at that time. It is an important part of my tale.
Full interview here DNA