Chaya Babu interviewed me for India Abroad magazine, appearing in February 13, 2015 issue. An excerpt:
How did you develop him [Arya]? Does your personal experience inform his character?
…I started to become more and more sensitive to secrets, or what I thought were the secrets that men have in their heads. By that I mean that, growing up as a male in Indian society, there are so many things you experience and do–like sometimes maybe you’re an abuser, maybe you’re a molester, maybe you’re the creator of all these things that another part of your brain is looking and saying, ‘Well, that’s not right.’
I think in general, when it comes to the idea of a man, especially an Indian man, I see him as riddled with all these conflicting personalities. So I thought I’d take that and go through these varieties of personalities or roles that a man such as Arya would go through or create in others, either by committing acts of violence or simply being a part of the kind of society I’ve mentioned.
Do you feel there was a very narrow Indian narrative that’s put forth in mainstream publishing?
Yes, there’s a lot of stereotyping that goes on, but I don’t see that as anyone’s fault. I think that everything that comes to the surface has to be very easily touchable and accessible; if you have a stereotype, it’s easy to grasp. If you have an oily-haired person coming from South Asia, that’s an easy image to visualize. But if you want to dig deeper into how the person feels, if you have an image of a brown-skinned person, a human being has a very difficult time getting past that and reaching into that person’s psyche or emotional state.
Not discriminating is an acquired skill; it doesn’t come naturally. But great societies make that a part of life, helping everybody acquire that skill. I think part of growing up in India is that no one acquires this; no one has a humanistic approach.”