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Interview: Tishani Doshi

‘Being just a writer can be very difficult.’ Writer, poet and dancer Tishani Doshi spoke to Samrat on the eve of the launch of her first novel The Pleasure Seekers. Excerpts from the interview:

books Updated: Sep 04, 2010 00:01 IST
Samrat

Different people come to writing books in different ways. How did you come to it?

I came to it through writing poetry. That was compelling. It’s so wonderful when you find what you want to do at a young age. I was 20 when I came to writing. Then from poetry, I began experimenting with prose. It was just to see: can I take this idea somewhere? I just started writing it. It changed so many times while I was writing.

How much of you is in the book?

Pretty liberal sprinklings! The first novel is where a lot of writers put a lot of their life experiences in. I actually had to pull some of it out. There’s not just me, but also people I’ve met and seen. From those who’ve had great influence to passing encounters. And even things people have told me about what they have seen. For example, there’s a scene of a woman on a bus…it was a real scene, something I saw. I think that sort of thing is important for authenticity.

At 20 you knew you wanted to be a writer. When did dance come in?

I was 26 when I started dancing. It happened, and I didn’t resist. I integrated it into my life. Being just a writer can be very difficult. It’s good to have an alternative career or hobby or love. In writing, you’re always wracked by self doubt and uncertainty. You just carry on with all that.

Any other kinds of writing you plan to do?

I think, for me film is the most interesting thing we have now. And it’s also narrative-based. I feel that would be a fun thing to do, just like driving across America or India would be interesting.