Monday, Dec 05, 2022
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A Pair Of Keen Eyes

A Pair Of Keen Eyes

He had dressed for the evening—making me feel shabby in my jeans. A white suit, red shirt and a red handkerchief in his breast pocket. He might have been Tom Wolfe, except for the wheelchair. "Most people think you are dead," began Anil Kuruvilla, a friend from Uganda. Sasthi Brata, author of My God Died Young, a cult book of the 1960s, didn’t take offence. He was more keen on getting the protocol right. "I will first buy you drinks at my favourite pub, and then we will go for dinner," he said.

Since My God was reissued a couple of years ago, Sasthi has attracted a new generation of fans. The title was taken from Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and duly acknowledged—but that didn’t prevent the great Nabokov from suing Sasthi for using those four words. "I didn’t think he was serious, but Nabokov was notoriously litigious, and I was forced to pay," recalled Sasthi. "Years later, I reviewed a book of his interviews where he had altered the text of the original. It was a literary rather than a financial revenge, but it felt good." Sasthi has been working on a book for nearly three decades now. "I will probably die before I finish it," he says, without expecting anyone to demur.

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