February 23, 2020
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"Now I have To Lay My Guts Open"

Inderjit Badhwar, a product of St Stephen's and Columbia School of Journalism, and former executive editor of India Today, on sex, truth and publishing:

Gireesh G.V.
"Now I have To Lay My Guts Open"
Why did you choose a new and unknown publisher?
I did send it first to an agent in New York but they wanted too many changes that would have meant giving up the basically Indian character of the book. Then I tried Penguin India, but David Davidar was too busy writing his own book. And when Anuj Bahri approached me for his forthcoming publishing venture, I agreed. I can’t go around peddling my book to New York like Rajkamal Jha or Ravi Shankar. In a society where everything is for sale, the only freedom left to a writer is not to write for money.

Did you use so much sex only to sell your book?
Sex is a very important part of the novel in describing the mature relationship between the narrator and this Isadora Duncan-like character. Moreover, the narrator is thrust from this puja room in Raipur to the total and absolute sexuality of the Beat generation in the US. Most of what I describe is true: the sexual repression in college where boys jerked off on Playboy pictures, the notice boards in New York where you were invited to parties asking you to bring your own condom...

As a once books editor, how does it feel to be on the other side?
You have to lay your guts open and be prepared to bleed in public.

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