On winning the Booker
India, of course, has bec– ome such a success-oriented and prize-thirsty culture, in all the ads and in everyone’s dreams everyone’s always winning a prize, and so, it mattered here to the middle class. But I feel vaguely humiliated in having to discuss a prize in more depth than my own book.
On the commercial success of her book
But I always used to say, I wish I could’ve been paid back in meals or something because the thing that complicated my life very deeply — far more than the Booker prize — was the commercial success of the book. That made me have to deal with something I never anticipa– ted or sought, and being as political as I am, it was very difficult.
On success changing the equations in her life
No, it devastated my life in many ways which was not nice. I am somebody who doesn’t — I don’t come from the bosom of some stable family, I didn’t have any stability. All I had were relationships I have forged myself, in many of which I was the waif, the most vulnerable person. And suddenly, I was loaded with all of this and it just changes your equation.
But I like this part the most:
By most standards, I probably qualify for being anti-national. I don’t have a nationalistic bone in my body. It’s just not my instinct. Yet it’s incon ceivable for me to not be here, because it’s everything that I love. And it’s not to do with flags or constitutions or any of that. But if I go away for one week and I come back and see some ZEE TV in the immigration lounge and the mouldering ceiling, I just feel so happy. It’s just so many things —even the quality of light, the rag g e dness of things around, the environment, the food, the colour, ever ything — it’s not even external. I’m just a full desi — full-time desi in that way. I just feel, where else can you be? Where else can you interpret the darkness and all its layers? There’s all the coded jokes and the whole sense of history... It’s not like one is looking for a new life in a supermarket.
Those italics are mine. Something that I have been wondering about too.