I started work on a new novel during fellowship at Civitella. This residency provided the necessary disruption from my routine. The time and space different from my everyday life gave me the focus required to work. Being with a group of people, who think what I am pursuing is important, matters a lot in sustaining creative energy.
Excerpt from the novel Ghachar Ghochar
Translated from the Kannada by Srintah Perur
Vincent is a waiter at Coffee House. It’s called just that – Coffee House. The name hasn’t changed in a hundred years, even if the business has. You can still get a good cup of coffee here, but it’s now a bar and restaurant. Not one of your low-lit bars with people crammed around tables, where you come to suspect that drinking may not after all be a wholesome activity. No, this place is airy, spacious, high-ceilinged. Drinking here only makes you feel cultured, sophisticated. The walls are panelled in wood to shoulder height. Old photographs hang on the sturdy square pillars in the centre of the room, showing you just how beautiful this city was a century ago. The photographs evoke a gentler, more leisurely time, and somehow Coffee House still manages to belong to that world. For instance, you can visit at seven in the evening when it’s busiest, order only a coffee and occupy a table for two hours, and no one there will object. They seem to know – someone who simply sits there for so long must have a thousand wheels spinning in his head. And they know those spinning wheels will not let a person be. Eventually, he’ll be overwhelmed, just like the serene spaces of those photographs that buyers devoured and turned into the cluttered mess we have around us today.