Contextualize yourself in a line?
I’m still growing up.
As a child, which books left an indelible impression on you?
David Copperfield, The Inimitable Jeeves, Dr. Jkyll & Mr. Hyde – I could go on forever...
Your first memory of writing?
A little notebook that I kept when I was about eight years old, where I wrote the names of movies I had seen, cinemas I had gone to, what I had eaten during the day – things like that.
Your coming-of-age moment?
At a New Year’s Eve party, when I was about nine years old, a singer came and kissed me on the cheek!
One change you have noticed in the literary world from the time you began writing to now?
At that time, everybody wrote with a pen and ink and now hardly anybody does.
The one event that you feel has changed the shape of 21st century India?
One fictional character you identify yourself with?
As a reader, what’s your favourite literary genre?
To be frank, probably the detective genre.
A historical event that has influenced you the most?
Seeing India before and after Independence.
If you weren’t a writer, who you would be?
A Tap dancer!
First realization of the 21st century?
Well, the first realization was when the power went out in the house – which meant absolutely nothing had changed!
First realization of being Indian?
When I was quite small and my aaya gave me paan to eat.
Your greatest achievement?
Getting published when I was 18.
In a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
If someone wrote your biography, what would you like the title to be?
Writing For His Life.
Favourite thirst quencher?
Vodka with tomato juice.
The best thing to spread on toast?
Do you recycle?
Yes, I cycle everyday! Just kidding, I do recycle a bit. In fact, I used to make paper bags out of old exercise books at one time.
The one ritual you can’t do away while writing?
Sometimes I sing a little to myself.
What do you think would surprise people most about you?
My passionate nature.
Children’s writing or adult fiction – which is more challenging as an author?
Maybe children’s writing.
How do you unwind?
I lie down and fall asleep.
Your mornings comprise... Well, I get up at 5 am and do a bit of writing (since no one is awake at that time to disturb me). Then I have breakfast and go back to sleep to make up for the two hours I didn’t have before.
You overcome your writer’s block by...Keeping a waste-paper basket near by.
The day you realized the power of mass media?
My first television interview back in the 1980s.
One bygone, historical event you would love to be a part of?
Discovering America with Christopher Columbus.
If you had to give a message to the children of today, what would it be?
Don’t get discouraged easily. Keep your dreams in mind and work towards them.
The future of children’s writing in India is...
Good. More publishers are taking it seriously and there are more and more children wanting to read.
Which ‘ism’ do you most relate to?
The equation between knowledge, money and power to you equals?
The one label a person from the 31st century writing about us would use to describe humanity today?
The three most significant events in your life?
The loss of my father when I was eight. Second, my return to India from England when I was 21. Third, was perhaps coming to the hills and living here.
The one thing you miss/don’t miss about the 50s?
I miss the friends that I had. Now many of them have gone – either gone away or passed on. What I don’t miss is my school headmaster.
Best and worst part about being a writer?
The best part is, getting good work appreciated and worst part is, getting good work ignored.
All time favourite quote?
Laugh and be fat, sir!
Your Platform moment?
Getting my first story published when I was just out of school.