THE AUTHOR

Krishna Udayasankar is a graduate of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, and holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the Nanyang Business School, Singapore, where she presently works as a lecturer.

Govinda, Krishna’s bestselling debut novel and the first in the Aryavarta Chronicles series of mytho-historical novels, received critical acclaim. She is also the author of Objects of Affection, a full-length collection of poetry (Math Paper Press, 2013) and is an editor of Body Boundaries: The Etiquette Anthology of Women’s Writing (The Literary Centre, Forthcoming, 2013).

When she is not watching Rajinikanth movies first-day, first-show, complete with applause and whistles, or hanging out with her fictional characters, Krishna can be found with her family, which includes two book-loving Siberian Huskies, Boozo and Zana.

Q & A with the author

We thought we would challenge Krishna with the Proust Questionnaire and here's what she had to say:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Waking up next to my two fur-kids and partly-furry husband on a pleasantly sunny day, knowing that others I love are well and safe, and that a whole day of possibilities lies ahead. That and the act of writing.

2. What is your greatest fear?
False modesty. I fear I will fall into the trap as I try to stay grounded, but end up feeling far too proud of being that way.
I also fear that when the times comes, I will lack the strength to let go of that which must be let go of - Including the ability to dream and to write. To not be able to write would be bad, but not being able to let go of it would be even worse.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Helplessness in the face of apathy.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Apathy.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
Many, most of whom would be considered everyday people. I admire the spirit inside human beings that makes stretch beyond their boundaries, expand to become something more. Thankfully, the world is filled with such people, known and unknown. I admire them all.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?
The TV! Not in terms of monetary value of the gadget, but in terms of the time spent in front of it.

7. What is your current state of mind?
Tired! This is not an easy questionnaire, especially if one plans to be completely honest.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Righteousness. The implied judgmentality dilutes all value as virtue.

9. On what occasion do you lie?
When I'm late. I blame it on traffic.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My permanent panda-eyes, I guess. I'm vain enough to want to look 'nicer', but I'm nowhere near unhappy about how I look.

11. Which living person do you most despise?
No one, really. I have better things to do with my time and energy. (Ok, that sounds a wee bit despicable!)

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Courage. And a sense of humour.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Also courage, laced with a sense of humour. I don't see any reason why there should be a difference in what makes a good man and a good woman.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Awesome." It's getting to the point where I irk myself. When writing, I tend to make my favourite characters 'smirk' and 'grin' a little too much. What can I say, they're pretty awesome people!

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Who: my husband. What: my muse.

16. When and where were you happiest?
Here and now.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I were well-trained in a martial art.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would ask for more patience, particularly with people.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Nothing. I'd say my greatest achievement is yet to come, but I don't hold much hope for something like that. I'm really a very ordinary person.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A dog. Preferably a Siberian Husky, but any dog (mongrels included) is fine.

21. Where would you most like to live?
I think by the sea. Or in pleasant woods, near a river.Near moving water, for sure, and not in a place that gets too cold.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
Nothing. There are of course, many things I like having - my books especially, and other things without which life might become rather inconvenient. But I have no possession so treasured that it can't be let go of.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Helplessness. The sense of not knowing what to do when something is just plain wrong, or unjust.

24. What is your favorite occupation?
Writing. Unless day-dreaming and sleeping count?

25. What is your most marked characteristic?
Eternal optimism.

26. What do you most value in your friends?
Acceptance, preferably unconditional. Of course, friends have the right to berate, cuss and even sulk. By loyalty in the face of (my) stupidity is priceless. 

27. Who are your favorite writers?
It's a longish and eclectic list. Isaac Asimov. Herman Hesse. Rudyard Kipling. Bill Waterson. J.R.R. Tolkien. Kalki Krishnamurthy. I should also add Arthur Conan Doyle to the list. Not only did I grow up on Sherlock Holmes, but I think Mr. Doyle taught me how to move stories forward through dialogue rather than description. There are many others who I love to read and re-read, and this list could go on and on…

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Ummm… Batman. I like heroes that have some element of darkness within that they must live with or overcome, rather than completely idealized figures.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Never really thought about this! It would be some loyal commander-type, I think; not some king or queen of yore.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone who can act with courage and compassion is a hero in my eyes.

31. What are your favorite names?
I really like the name Govinda, which is why I used it for my character and the title of my first book. "Govindambhajamoodamathey" – "chant the name of Govinda, you fool," AdiShankara sings to a fellow scholar.
My father was a big fan of AdiShankara, particularly the kind of conviction he must have had to address one of his peers as "you fool". I guess that is what the name Govinda signifies to me. Conviction.

32. What is it that you most dislike?
People who abandon, abuse or neglect dogs (any animal companion, for that matter).

33. What is your greatest regret?
I regret every harsh word spoken, and every gentle word left unsaid. And I really, really regret that I don't seem to learn not to make those mistakes over and over.
My greatest remorse, however, is that nearly fifteen years ago, while waiting at a traffic signal, I saw a woman run by in tears, dressed in but a nightgown and with her hair disheveled. I thought of getting down from my auto-rickshaw to inquire, if not help, but I was already running late and the traffic began to move… The woman's image is still fresh in my mind, and it haunts me till today that I did nothing.

34. How would you like to die?
Calmly, and with full awareness of my passing.

35. What is your motto?
narayanaya vid mahe
vaasudevayadhimahi
thannovishnuprachodayaat
We shall know the divine spirit within, we shall meditate on the essence of all beings. Thus, the all-pervading shall blaze forth.

 

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