From finance to fiction in India and Pakistan

Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:17am EST
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By Tony Tharakan

NEW DELHI (Reuters Life!) - Finance and fiction seem like an unlikely mix, but a number of Indian and Pakistani novelists are finding their stints as finance professionals may have helped ward off writer's block.

While there is no direct link between mastering the markets and writing novels, a career in finance does seem to have had its merits for former Wall Street banker Anish Trivedi.

"I think once you've had to convince people to part with their money by giving them a cogent, compelling argument in as few words as possible, you learn to get your point across pretty rapidly on a page," says Trivedi.

Trivedi, who lives in Mumbai, gave up a seven-figure salary to pursue his writing dream. In "Call me Dan" he took a light-hearted look at arranged marriages and one-night stands in 21st-century India.

Some novelists who move from other careers to writing success mine their experiences for fiction. John Grisham has done this with law and Robin Cook, an ex-doctor, with medicine.

Yet the financiers-turned-novelists from the Indian subcontinent chose to set their characters in worlds far removed from dollar wars and hedge funds.

Private equity professional Sarita Mandanna wrote about star-crossed lovers in the period novel "Tiger Hills" while Pakistan's H.M. Naqvi, a former World Bank employee, explored a post-9/11 New York in "Home Boy."

Amish Tripathi, who works in the Indian insurance industry, found his calling with "The Immortals of Meluha," historical fiction set in 1900 BC.   Continued...