August 08, 2020
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Shashi Tharoor

Writer and UN official on a visit to India as the face of his alma mater, Tufts University

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Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor
In India, you are the face of the UN. Is this a new profile?
I am on the University's board and proud of my Fletcher School connection. It's also a good break.

With the Volcker report controversy, this seems more like an undercover visit.
Ironically, this visit was planned a year back.

So you did not plan to meet the PM?
I would've paid my respects to senior figures in Delhi. It would be inappropriate not to do so.

Post 9/11 it's been difficult for Indian students to go to the US.
There was certainly a brief hiccup. But a backlash from US universities demanding more flexibility has changed things positively.

How do you balance your two careers ?
Both my careers define me. The trick is to use every available minute. Writing brings me relief from my otherwise high-pressured life.

So you never waste time watching TV?
Well, I haven't watched TV for entertainment in a long, long while.

You prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?
Both. But fiction needs time and space and in your mind for the imaginary world and its characters to develop.

And what do you prefer to read?
Both again. I have just finished Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian and Salman Rushdie's Shalimar The Clown.

Any talents or interests we don't know of?
Cricket. I composed several cricket fantasies in my childhood to last a lifetime.

Where did you feature in them?
I was the hero, the protagonist.

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