On April 30, Kulkarni was declared Asia’s Regional Winner at the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016. He is now competing with regional winners from Africa, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean, for the £5,000 (Rs 4.8lakh appox) grand prize, which will be announced in June. “ I wrote the first draft of Cow and Company as part of a novella in 2014. During that period, I was overwhelmed by environmentalists and animal rights activists,” explains Kulkarni.
Memories of Mumbai
Currently a professor at Yale NUS College, Singapore, Kulkarni grew up in Mumbai, and is a graduate in commerce from RA Poddar College, Matunga. So how did writing come into the picture? Kulkarni owes his love for literature to his grandfather. “He was a voracious reader. As his eyes weakened, he paid me a rupee a day to read excerpts from the Maharashtra Times,” he recalls.
Kulkarni is fond of reading the works of G K Chesterton and PL Deshpande, a veteran Marathi short story writer. “I believe short stories encourage writers to experiment with the content. They are also a more democratic and a more therapeutic form. Like cricket, they can be played by anyone, anywhere and anytime. Not everyone can put in the effort, enthusiasm or time to play a test match..” he says.
Read an excerpt from Cow and Company and the other short stories from the competition on commonwealthwriters.org. Also hear a podcast with Kulkarni where he discusses his short story.