Quick Take With Jayant Kaikini

A quick chat with the poet, lyricist and writer, whose collection of short stories, No Presents Please, has been shortlisted for the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018, the results of which will be announced soon.

Born in Gokarna, Jayant Kaikini is a writer of acclaim who’s known for his short stories, poems, lyrics for Kannada films, and scripts for films and plays. This Masters degree-holder in Biochemistry from Karnatak University, Dharwad, worked in Mumbai for several years before settling down in Bengaluru and taking up writing full-time.

His body of work, shorn of verbal wizardry, has endeared itself to one and all, winning several awards and accolades. This renowned writer is the recipient of Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award four times, the first one at the young age of 19, apart from several state and national awards.

His latest collection of short stories, 'No Presents Please', translated from Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana, has been shortlisted for the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018, the results of which will be
announced soon.

Excerpts from an interview:

Awards mean...

Wake-up call.

When did you discover your passion for writing?

When my hostel mates in college got their proxy love letters written by me.

What about writing excites you?

Unknown next line.

What are you most proud of writing?

The best is always yet to come. 

Your inspiration for your writings?

Absorbing and absurd human world.

What’s on your writing desk?

A couple of dear books that I will never read. 

Your all-time favourite read...

Ravindra Katha Manjari, Tagore stories translated to Kannada by Ahobala Shankar.

Your pet author...

Yashwant Chittal. 

Your literary influences...

 “Non literary” life.

You grew up reading...

Yashwant Chittal, A K Ramanujan, K V Tirumalesh, Poornachandra Tejaswi, Deepavali special issues, Sakshi literary quarterly.

Your current read...

Nenape Sangeeta, autobiographical reflections by Vidyabhushana. 

Your most indulgent habit?

Going to Gokarna, my home town.

Your worst habit?

Doing things in the last minute. 

What can’t you live without?

People, and a bit of chaos.

Your pet haunt...

Mumbai.

Your comfort food...

Homemade fish curry, rice.

If you could swap jobs with anyone, who would it be and why?

With the leg harmonium player (in The Company Theatre), because I love it, and want to learn it. 

A cause dear to your heart...

Mamate & samate (affection & equality)

How do you unwind?

Listening to Talat Mahmood & Mehdi Hasan.

What keeps you awake at night?

Dreams.

Something that never goes out of fashion...

Enjoying old film songs, and old fragrant books. 
 

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