Rejecting the Kalaimamani award for its taking-the-artiste-for-granted impersonality, Indira Parthasarathy (16 novels, 10 plays, anthologies of short stories, essays) is the recipient of national recognition including the Saraswati Samman, and the only Tamil writer to be given awards by both Sahitya and Sangeet Natak Akademis. Drawing from his life in hometown Kumbakonam, New Delhi, Warsaw and the U.S., Parthasarathy has established himself as a voice of many tones, adding dimensions to character interplay with the resonance of political issues. Here he reflects on experiences shaping his growth as a writer.
A natural process beginning with voracious reading in childhood. In our Vaishnavite home, the poetry of the Alwars was part of daily ritual. But, I don't know what made me read Balzac and Charles Lamb, or the 2,000-page “Missing Links” about ancient Egypt by Vaduvur Doraiswami Iyengar. The same man who wrote ‘pennythrillers' and ‘shillingshockers' that I read aloud to my grandmother, earning one anna for a book.
I gazed at writers Ku Rajagopalan, Karichan Kunju and Thi Janakiraman (my English teacher) as if they were filmstars… (smiling) I began with verse, but had the wisdom to stop when I knew it was not poetry.
You were fascinated by Shelley?
There's something about Shelley that incites you. I imagined I was a great revolutionary, rebelling against agraharam orthodoxy. In college, I became a member of the Communist party, and was suspended briefly for instigating student agitation.
Full interview here Hindu