Over the last few years, from 2017 to be precise, I worked on a book on Chennai. The idea for such a work came about when Dr Nirmala Lakshman of The Hindu suggested it to David Davidar of the Aleph Book Company. He readily agreed to it and I started work on it.
Or rather I thought I had. In reality I did not do much for practically the whole of 2017. Then in 2018, after many apologies to David, which he was kind enough to accept, I really got going. Sarada made sure I did, enduring all the groans and also keeping an eye on me to ensure I did not slacken off to watch Guru Dutt/Meena Kumari/Sivaji/Savitri/Uttam Kumar/Suchitra Sen movies. It took a good two years to complete the book.
Pujitha Krishnan of Aleph was a fabulous and I must add, a very patient editor, in whose hands the manuscript transformed into this book. Covid intervened and that meant added delays. Many people I wrote of in the present tense passed on necessitating rewrites. Anyway, at the end of it all, here is the book.
I hope you are calling ‘A’ and not ‘The’ biography said my dear friend Dr AR Venkatachalapathy. And he was quite right. A city can be looked at by different people differently and this is my point of view. I hope readers enjoy it.
During the course of the writing, I lost three people very dear to me. My father, who first took me to Fort St George when I was six, died in 2017. S Muthiah, guru and mentor passed away in 2019 and then early this year, my father in law too moved on – he was the one who made me realise that the writerly life can co-exist with one in business, provided I accepted hair loss as collateral damage. I dedicate this book to all three.
The book is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.in/CHENNAI-BIOGRAPHY-V-Sriram/dp/9390652987 where you can buy the hardcover and kindle versions. It is also available at all leading bookshops, particularly Odyssey in Gandhi Nagar.