Book Talk: Former financier writes of love in the new India

Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:06am EDT
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By Tony Tharakan

NEW DELHI (Reuters Life!) - Former investment banker Anish Trivedi portrays a changing India in his debut novel where coffee and croissants are on the breakfast menu and youngsters earn more than their fathers ever did.

"Call Me Dan," recently launched in India, is a light-hearted look at the new India where arranged marriages and one-night stands are part of the protagonist's search for love.

The novel revolves around Gautam Joshi, aka Dan, a 30-year-old call center executive in Mumbai with a penchant for late nights and women. Trivedi, who lives in Mumbai, gave up Wall Street to run a media company, act, host radio, and write. He has written two plays. He spoke to Reuters about his career shift and writing:

Q Did you set out to write about Mumbai and India's youth?

A: "I wanted to write about the change that today's youth are seeing in India and how it has made a change in their lives. While earlier generations were amongst the first to be born in a free India, this is the first to be born in the country after economic reforms and liberalization were introduced. After decades of experimenting with socialism and government control over all aspects of our lives, we now have a society that flourishes in one of the most dynamic economies in the world. As the protagonist in 'Call Me Dan' says, we skipped a generation compared to the rest of the world."

Q: Any reason for making Dan work in a call center?

A: "Call centers and other industries like them are emblematic of the new Indian economic landscape, more so because they offer a young workforce the chance to earn high salaries, significantly more than their parents could. They are the drivers of change in this country, giving economic freedom to a whole strata of society. Placing the protagonist in one allowed me to use the duality in his life as a device to draw on the differences between the environment within and outside his home and the society in which he was brought up."

Q: Tell us about your research for the novel.   Continued...