My book on Chennai

Over the last few years, from 2017 to be precise, I worked on a book on Chennai. The idea for such a work came about when Dr Nirmala Lakshman of The Hindu suggested it to David Davidar of the Aleph Book Company. He readily agreed to it and I started work on it.

Or rather I thought I had. In reality I did not do much for practically the whole of 2017. Then in 2018, after many apologies to David, which he was kind enough to accept, I really got going. Sarada made sure I did, enduring all the groans and also keeping an eye on me to ensure I did not slacken off to watch Guru Dutt/Meena Kumari/Sivaji/Savitri/Uttam Kumar/Suchitra Sen movies. It took a good two years to complete the book.

Pujitha Krishnan of Aleph was a fabulous and I must add, a very patient editor, in whose hands the manuscript transformed into this book. Covid intervened and that meant added delays. Many people I wrote of in the present tense passed on necessitating rewrites. Anyway, at the end of it all, here is the book.

I hope you are calling ‘A’ and not ‘The’ biography said my dear friend Dr AR Venkatachalapathy. And he was quite right. A city can be looked at by different people differently and this is my point of view. I hope readers enjoy it.

During the course of the writing, I lost three people very dear to me. My father, who first took me to Fort St George when I was six, died in 2017. S Muthiah, guru and mentor passed away in 2019 and then early this year, my father in law too moved on – he was the one who made me realise that the writerly life can co-exist with one in business, provided I accepted hair loss as collateral damage. I dedicate this book to all three.

The book is available on Amazon where you can buy the hardcover and kindle versions. It is also available at all leading bookshops, particularly Odyssey in Gandhi Nagar.