Monday, 16 March 2015


Deepa Subramaniam enjoying her holiday in Maldives
I was this person who would admire the sea from afar or sit on a cruise boat dressed-to-the-nines and delicately dip my hands into the clear blue water...
Until I went on a solo trip to the coral sea to experience The Great barrier reef in Cairns, Australia, one of the seven wonders of the world. Even as I got into the submarine boat, and seeing the breathtaking scenes from underwater, I wasn’t even remotely imagining that I would be able to get into the water.
Clearly it was a rash decision , instigated by one and  all who have done it before , I braved the deep sea and dived from the boat which was tied firmly to a pontoon and my hand firmly holding the lifeguard.
Needless to say, this life changing experience left me breathless and then there was no looking back and I was officially declared a water baby…and a water destination holiday became a lifestyle.

Maldives remains a distant dream for many even for those who live in Asia because of the misconception that it is not an affordable holiday destination.
Yes, Maldives is frequented by wealthy resort-goers and famous people like David Beckham and Michael Phelps and the room rates can go up to or over 2000 USD per day. So for my friends who would love to see and be seen the right spots could be the beach villas on the land, the water villas built on stilt over the lagoon or tree villas perched above the ground at Four Seasons Resort Maldives, Kuda Hurra & Landa Giravaaru , Taj Exotica Resort & Spa ,Cocoa Island Resort, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadaaha, Jumeira Devanafushi , Six senses Laamu, Angsana, Ihuru, Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort.
You can’t go wrong on any of these and trust me,  the return on investment on this expensive holiday is worth every penny.

At the same time, it’s just like any other destination which has varying deals to suit budgets. With a bit of research, a bit more bravery and leaving decisions to the last minute, is how you can get a great deal. Kuredu , Baa Atoll,Bandos, Angaga Island,Komandoo , Irufushi etc are affordable island destinations with nonetheless the same breathtaking beauty.
And my dear single friends, Maldives may be a romantic destination but please do not let this deter you from seeing this supremely gorgeous island of the world.
And finally, it’s a safe place for a holiday with the awesome local Maldivian people who just make it easier for you to have a great holiday.
So with all the basic concerns clarified, all you have to do is to book the shortest flight to Male via Kerala or Colombo (ex India) and you are ready for an awesome water adventure that you cannot forget for life.
If you land at the Ibrahim Nasir airport after 10 pm make sure you have a proper reservation or you will be in for a surprise because the airport is shut after 10 pm and you have to book yourself into a local motel for the night until the islands open in the morning.

The success of a Maldivian holiday is defined by the resort and the island you choose because the resort-stays are a package deal that includes a mandatory drop and pick-up from the Male airport, room rate and food which is paid as an advance. So once you decide the resort you are more or less trapped in the island for the rest of your stay..Of course they offer to take you to other islands if you wish to see them.
The unique feature of Maldives is the concept of “one island one resort". The  minute  you set your foot on  the island of your choice of stay you instantly become the owner of the entire island. No outsiders can enter the island except the ones who stay in the resort and your privacy is intact.
The archipelago in the Indian ocean has 1190 islands renowned for its natural pristine beaches to choose from. Although, each island has its own distinct feel and character, all islands are blessed with perfect coral beaches, lush tropical vegetation and  warm shallow waters. No matter where  you are , Maldives will never let you forget that you are in an island surrounded by breathtaking turquoise blue water and  white sand which overwhelms you with a sense of calm and tranquility that transports you to another world.

What I loved the most was watching the sunrise from the backyard of my own private beach and  enjoying the breakfast  sitting close to the edge of the water and never getting out of the shallow cool blue water till sunset, hammocks in the ocean and a table for two in the middle of the ocean.
Awesome local food with a bit of an Indian/Srilankan influence and the daily dose of musical entertainment at the lobby for the  in-house guests.
Dive centre, scooter driving, underwater photography , snorkeling, shark point views, shipwreck views, night spa with kundalini rituals for tantric traditions, kite-surfing..the list of things you can do in Maldives is endless!

 So put off that  buzzing city holiday for now…. blend with nature and see how naturally you fit into that world.

Friday, 13 March 2015


This was definitely an OMG! moment for us — when we came across this beautiful Masaba Gupta creations from the Monochrome Mania Collection for

The cut, the flow,  the structure and the contemporary prints (knife, television, typewriter and the bicycle) — Masaba had us at 'mono'.  We also loved the pop of colour — yellow, pink and mint green — in the monochrome palatte. 

About this collection, Masaba had said: 

"This is my most fearless and free-spirited collection yet, and is designed for women who represent that attitude."

Well, looks like the lady has hit bull's eye.  Take a look at the pieces, among the range of jackets, skirts, shirts and dresses that caught our attention... (photographs courtesy:

The Final Cut Pallazos

Graphic Traffic Dhoti Skirt
Knife to know if shirt 
Sharp shooter jacket 
Taxi Cab Shirt 
Flutter and Flatter Jumpsuit


The Great Mosque of Agra, (c) G. Gasté, circa 1906

A photo exhibition paying tribute to the people and the magic of India at the turn of the twentieth century through the works of Georges Gaste who was born in Paris in 1869 and died in Madurai, India in 1910 — this one's for photography enthusiasts and history buffs.

Over a century after Georges Gasté’s death in Madurai, the Institut français in India offers a new life to the photographic work of this French Orientalist painter.  The project  — GEORGES GASTÉ IN INDIA : 1905-1910 — comprises of 34 remarkable photographs taken by Georges Gasté during his sojourn in India in the first decade of the twentieth century. And they will be showcased at the National Gallery of Modern Arts in Bengaluru

Georges Gaste
 The artist as an inspired reporter captured the daily Indian life — religious scenes, celebrations, crowds and markets. The pictures are 'strong' in its narrative, which is as close to reality as possible. There's a depiction of pathos of human life in the frames. This could also be the reason why these photos still have contemporary relevance. 
The exhibition also showcases colour reproductions of his paintings and a few of the letters written by the artist. A documentary film on Gasté’s life will also be screened in the gallery.
Constant-Georges Gasté was born in Paris in 1869 and died in Madurai, India in 1910. Trained from the highly selective Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris, Gasté was a noteworthy painter of his time. Reputed among the French Orientalist movement, which focused on foreign -especially Nothern African and Middle-Eastern- cultures, he received multiple awards at the Orientalist Salon in his lifetime. 

Pilgrims by the Ganges, Benares, (c) G. Gasté, circa 1906
Two retrospectives of his work were organized at the Grand Palais after his death, in 1911 and 1913. His most famous canvas, The Brahmins’ Bath, is conserved at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Following a trip to Northern India in 1905, he settled down in Madurai in 1908 where he breathed his last. In the nineteenth century, while the theme of the journey to the East was most often adopted as a way to excite the fantasies of a few Europeans, artists like Gasté refused to fuel this perception – certainly exotic and fascinating, yet far from reality. In addition to the remarkable composition and lighting effects, his work presents an ethnographic interest: due to the proximity between the painter and local populations, those photos narrate the everyday life in Agra, Benares, Delhi and Madurai at the turning point between two centuries.
Exhibition is on till 27th March at the National Gallery of Modern Art, 49, Palace Road, Manikyavelu Mansion, Bangalore 52. Phone: 080 22342338. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

A Dancer and Musicians near the Pond of Teppakulam, Madurai (c) Georges Gasté, circa 1909

Sita's Terrace, (c) G. Gasté 1906

The Boatman and the Taj, (c) G. Gasté 1906


Thursday, 12 March 2015


Boots featuring upcycled italian vintage shawl with regal pattern
 in black / gold / Ferrari red
Can you make a pair of sturdy boots with a flouncy 50-year-old ball gown? Or stilettos out of vintage carpet? You can, if you are a talented designer that go by the name Anna Zaboeva — shoe designer/founder of Pleasemachine Style Lab

This spunky designer handcrafts gorgeous artisanal footwear, because she wants you to contemplate your contribution to the environment. "Are you adding to the colossal waste that is swallowing the world or are you being a responsible citizen of this world?" she asks. The footwear is sold under the banner Pleasemachine, founded by Zaboeva. Pleasemachine is based on the concept of sustainable living by recycling or up-cycling discarded materials. Each shoe has a unique character.

Born in East Siberia in erstwhile USSR, where her parents (a geologist father and telephone mechanic mother) went to build a town called Ust-Ilimsk, Zaboeva grew up in a household where recycling was a necessity. She remembers making a bunch of accessories out of blood infusion pipes when she was admitted to a local hospital for a brief period.

Recycled textile plus leather boots

At 16, Zaboeva went to study "light industry engineering" in Novosibirsk University, but discovered a passion for "visual works". She discontinued her engineering course — just before final exams — to attend a "cameraman course" and began exploring the world of documentary films. The journey eventually brought her to Budapest, Hungary as part of a young filmmakers' workshop. She decided to stay in Europe to pursue her dreams. When in 2007 she won a scholarship to study at the University of Applied Arts and design, she chose to study about leather. By the end of the academic year Zaboeva was making basic footwear — "flat sandals and shoes of cemented construction" — but she was hooked on to shoemaking; a trade that would later become a tool to promote ideas of conservation and sustainability. 

"When I came to Europe I witnessed tremendous household waste," she says. "I noticed the growing irrationality of mass market consumption and lack of choice for those who were aware of its short and long term effects." 

In Europe Zaboeva encountered huge piles of discarded clothing and home furnishings in dumpsters. She began collecting cast-off materials — vintage carpets, colourful nylon dresses with funky patterns, upholsteries. She was addicted to dumpster diving.

Recyled vintage fabric

"It was an abundant source of material supply," she says. "You never knew what you'll find in it, and it was fun to dig dumpsters with friends." Over the years Zaboeva's collection pile kept growing in size. And she says, she knew she was going to use them in making shoes. She made her first pair — flat sandals with leather soles — out of a vintage nylon dress. Shoes made out of recycled material became a good medium to communicate her ideas about the environment and conservation. By 2008 her shoes made out of shelved textiles sold right off the shelves at lightning speed. 

Zaboeva's passion for filmmaking has led her to record the 'before and after' history of the shoes that she creates. "It is a great storytelling tool and the shoes are only a part of a long story of transformation of an object. I think people want to participate in this process of sustainability and conservation much beyond just being consumers of these shoes; keeping a visual diary of the process of recycling gives them something to relate to. And hopefully reconsider their decisions about wastage." 

It takes Zaboeva anywhere between a week to two months to make a pair of shoes. Once a shoe is made, she detaches herself from it. "It goes on to live its own life," she says.  Zaboeva's creations are inspired by being in the moment and the oddities of this world. And she prefers "spontaneous designs that praise chance and randomness". And her boots...they are made for thinking!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


King Jassim
He is a Rastafarian soul; body, Indian. King Jassim is a Reggae & Dancehall singer-songwriter with beautiful dreadlocks flowing down his lean back. He is also one of the founding members of India's leading hip hop band, Low Rhyderz. 

2014 saw him release a track called UPLIFT with an  emerging Russian alt. rock band. On Feb 6th, 2015, which coincides with Bob Marley's birthday, he released his solo debut album, READY FI RULE.

READY FI RULE, King Jassim's indie solo debut album has eight songs 8 songs and covers reggae, raggamuffin, dancehall, bass, world and pop genres. The musician has collaboorated with Bharath Kumar and Subtracktor from Bangalore, Mukul from Delhi, Original Dub Master from Venezuela, Zafayah of Roots Rocket Label from Bulgaria, Odory Gs from Sudan on this album. 

The music video to lead single, TAKE IT AS IT COMES was shot on the beaches of Maharastra, Goa and Karnataka. Directed by a British film maker Sal Yusuf, the video will be released in April 

Jassim followed his heart to make music his life, way back in 2006.  He hosted India’s first & only exclusive Hip Hop show on the radio called Party At The Shack on SPIN #44 , Worldspace Satellite Radio Network, which beamed through out Africa, Middle East & Asia. He, along with the rest of LOW RHYDERZ, became the first ones in India to play caribbean and urban music in clubs as DJ sets thus forming Low Rhyderz sound system DJs. 

You can watch King Jassim rock the house tonight - 11th March - at The Humming Tree, in 12th Main, Indiranagar from 9.30 pm onwards.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015


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Are you a sports fan? Would you ditch everything to catch a game? Then Turkish Airlines is looking for you. 

Turkish Airlines is calling for epic sports fans.

If you are the 'chosen' one then you get to travel — from 28th March to 20th April — to seven different countries and watch 10 sports events. Hold your also get to meet Messi and Drogba in person. 

To participate, you are to fill a form on their website
Upload a video or photo either on Instagram, Vine or Twitter to prove that you are THE epic sports fan. Don't forget to use the hashtag #EpicFan

Experience in watching sports 
Good knowledge in using social media
A sense of responsibility
Solution-oriented personality
Compatible with teamwork
English speaking (preferred) with no restrictions on travelling. 

The winner will get to attend basketball, football, tennis and golf events in Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, UK and UAE.

Due date: 13th March, 2015.

Whatcha waiting for.... logon to and prove to the world that you are a mother of all sportsfans. Good Luck!


Author Chhmi Tenduf-La

STATUTORY WARNING: Long read. Lots of laughter. 
Witty and poignant. Two words that best describes Sri Lankan author Chhimi Tenduf-La's debut novel The Amazing Racist. It is warm and filled with pathos in its depiction of the lives of two men — a racist, cancer-stricken Sri Lankan father-in-law and a British son-in-law. The men draw the readers into their lives. And unknowingly, Thilak and Eddie grow on you. We spoke to the 40-year-old author who sports a polished pair of funny bones. But before that, here's a synopsis of The Amazing Racist.

The Amazing Racist
If Eddie Trusted, an English schoolteacher in Colombo, wants to marry Menaka, it is Thilak Rupasinghe, her orthodox terror of a father, whom he must woo. Eddie tries to connect with Thilak in desperate ways. Even after marriage Eddies endures Tilak's taunts. And when Menaka leaves Eddie for another man, Eddie becomes the caretaker of the old man. But will he ever be good enough for Thilak who calls Eddie a "white bugger" and who hates the colour of his skin?
Published by Hachette India. Rs.399 

Let's start at the beginning. You are half-Tibetan and half-British and have lived in many countries. How did you land in Sri Lanka?
My (British) mother was born in Simla, India, as her father was working there at the time. My father was born in Darjeeling and went to St Joseph's before being sent to Phillip's Exeter Academy in the States. He was actually commissioned by Doubleday to write a book about being a Tibetan in difficult times - but he never finished it. His family left Tibet because of the Chinese.

My paternal great grandfather was a favourite of the 13th Dalai Lama. His name was Sonam Laden La and he was known as Sardar Bahadur (a British title conferred on him). He would also answer to titles such as Lord Chamberlain of the Court of Tashi Lumpo (a title specially conferred on him by the 13th Dalai Lama) Depon (meaning General Commander in Chief) and Dzaza (meaning Lord).
I was born in Oxford and moved to Hong Kong aged 6 months, then back to England at 5. A year later we moved to Delhi because my grandfather died and my father wanted to be close enough to help out with the family hotel, the Windamere in Darjeeling. Whilst in Delhi, I am told we played often with Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi’s kids at Vivek Bharat Ram’s house, but I was too young to be able to say for sure whether my parents exaggerated this story or not.

My father wanted to settle down in a Buddhist country and we knew Sri Lanka well from holidays; a few months after arriving my parents had set up the Colombo International School, where I was educated myself until I went to Eton College. Amongst my peers there were Jeffrey Archer’s son, James, Bear Grylls and Prince Dipendra of Nepal who gunned down his family years later. I went to Durham University and then worked in London for a couple of years before returning to Sri Lanka to help run Elizabeth Moir School, my mother’s third school.

And you are now married to a Sri Lankan...

My wife, a former criminal lawyer, was born in Australia to Sri Lankan parents, so she is a good mix of East and West. She speaks to me in an Australian accent, and she speaks to her work colleagues with a Sri Lankan accent which she thinks is authentic but she sounds like an American trying to mimic an Indian accent. We married in 2011 under a banyan tree. She was the one who encouraged me to take writing seriously.

Are your in-laws in The Amazing Racist? 
Sadly, no. We’re building a house at the moment so had to sell our apartment and move in with them, so it would have been a mistake to write about them. My father-in-law is the most laidback non-racist man in the world. My mother-in-law is as original a character as you will ever meet. Comedy gold. She will be the subject of my third book as long as we have moved out by then.

Where and when did The Amazing Racist come to life? 

I am not one hundred percent sure, but I think it was at a traditional wedding of a foreign friend to a Sri Lankan girl. He had no idea what was going on; the priest was dressed up in sarong, but wore a Madonna headset and was chanting gibberish in a helium voice. I could see my friend trying to follow what he was saying but he was doing all the wrong things, his father-in-law cringing next to him. There, on a stage in front of me, was a showcase of how different cultures can be.

You say that 'Uncle Thilak' is partially modeled after your dad. Which part?

My father would sometimes blast his employees, whilst wearing a wig, fake nose and stick-on twirling moustache. People never knew when they were meant to laugh and when they were meant to be serious. He would terrify dinner guests with ghost stories and very rarely give anyone else the opportunity to speak. He was a real joker. He was also incredibly strong and brave and beat terminal cancer twice, like Thilak, whilst smoking, drinking and playing golf. That’s where the similarities end as, unlike Thilak, he was absolutely devoted to his wife and kids. We always came first, and God help anyone who ever tried to take us on if he was around. In fact, he always said cancer would never beat him until we were old enough to look after my mother and he kept his word. And he was not a racist.

What I love about this story is the relationship  between the cranky, powerful, cancer-stricken, racist old man and the most ordinary, almost weak, Eddie  -- it unfolds almost organically without being sappy and in-your-face Bollywoodish (it could've easily gone that route). How easy or difficult was it breathe life into them?

That’s very flattering but I honestly don’t know. I’m not sure if I had any ideas other than that this would be an odd couple relationship. I just sat down and wrote about two types of people I knew well. Their interactions seemed natural to me.  

By the way, did you go to a writing school?
I have never been to writing school, but am fully aware that I have a long way to go as a writer. Thus, I take advice and criticism quite well; or if I don’t, I learn from it.

For an outsider, you have got the Sri Lankan culture down to a pat in the novel. What is it that you absolutely adore about them and what's the one thing about Sri Lankans. And what about them drives you crazy?

We arrived here just before the riots of 1983. I know the country better than I know any other; I feel like an insider who can make fun of the country, but if someone else did so I would defend it vehemently. Sri Lankans love a good laugh and very rarely take themselves too seriously; they can be self-deprecating, far too honest about weight gain and ageing, a bit sensitive, but overall just very kind. They are abysmal drivers though and old wives’ tales here hold a bit too much power over people, from drinking milk and eating white rice when pregnant in order to have a fair child, to rubbing cologne on your head if you have a headache. There are a lot of similarities with India. I also love that Sri Lanka is small enough that it makes it realistic to aspire to be the best in the country at something. Aged 11, I was national freestyle, breaststroke and springboard diving champion, then I went to England and got thrashed.

Most debut novels are autobiographical. Even though 99% of authors deny it (but nobody believes them, really). How about The Amazing Racist?

A friend of mine said she struggled to read this book without thinking Eddie Trusted was me, until she came across the school owner, Jimmy Walsh, who looked like Keanu Reeves; then she knew that’s who I was basing on myself.  She was right, even though I look nothing like Keanu- it was more the underlying vanity of it. I don’t think I could write Eddie as me without becoming too vain. However, a lot of set-pieces in the book did actually happen to me or to people I know. That is the only way I could be sure I was not getting carried away with unrealistic comedy.

The novel is laugh-out-loud- funny. I laughed aloud when Uncle Thilak says "But he's white" when he meets him for the first time and pat comes the reply from Eddie: "But, I tan well".  Humour in the novel is  organic. Not forced. Are you a 'funny man' in real life? Do friends and family say "Chhimi you are hell of a joker"?

That’s fantastic to hear that you laughed out loud. Wherever I go with my wife, she makes sure she laughs very loudly when I tell a joke with a straight face so that people do not take me too seriously. I embarrass her on a constant basis.

My mother, brother, sister, niece and nephew are jokers; my two year old daughter is already a joker. She wakes in the middle of the night saying, ‘I’ve done poo poo,’ then when I rush to check she says, ‘Juuuust Joooking!’ That makes me very proud.

I will never say I am funny, but I do always try to be. Having said that, in writing the novel I didn’t go out of my way to make it humorous, so I am pleased that you say it did not seem forced. I just get into a zone and write and sometimes I read it back and can laugh at my own jokes which I cannot do in real life. I used to teach until I realized my classes were 30% syllabus, 70% jokes, but at least I think it kept the students awake and relaxed them a little. Actually it was probably more like 20% to 80%.

On the surface, in the novel it seems like Eddie takes a lot of beating due to his skin colour. But when you really listen to the way  Eddie tells his story you notice that he too is racist in his own way -- in his observations about the native people, their behaviour and their country. Do you agree? 

I battled over whether the title, The Amazing Racist, referred to Thilak, Eddie, Sri Lanka or the world in general. There’s a great song in the musical Avenue Q called ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ and I think that holds true. Certainly, you’re absolutely right, Eddie is possibly more racist than Thilak in that he doesn’t realize he is. Instead he patronizes Sri Lankans and that is something very common that I have observed with foreigners, especially those less travelled, when they come to subcontinent.

The novel is doing very well in Sri Lanka. Looks like they can laugh at themselves, Otherwise for all the fun you have poked at them in the book they might be burning your book. 
Yes, the shops in Sri Lanka keep running out of stock and I believe Hachette India have been forced into a second print run just a week or two after the book was released here. Sri Lankans are the world champions at laughing at themselves. In fact, if I don’t laugh at my friends here they get offended.

What are some of the comments that you have received from Sri Lankans about the book?

It’s not been out long, but everyone has told me they have an uncle like Thilak. Perhaps the most pleasing comment I got was when a friend told me that I had got the emotions of child custody battles just right. I guess all I needed was the incredible love I have for my daughter to understand how painful that could be.

My friends have been very positive about the book because they know I use real people and real names in my writing so they are suddenly all much nicer people. Sri Lankans love giving helpful advice so I have also been told how I should change the book even though it is very much in print already.

It’s not been out long enough to get offensive comments but I remember once when I used to write a column, this lady came up to me at a wedding and told me that my writing was becoming a bit boring and then added that I was looking a bit plump and that I wasn’t ageing well. 

Is writing something that you have always wanted to do -- like from the time you jumped out of the womb -- or something that you chanced upon? 

Apparently I was always a storyteller and wrote a comedy song called ‘stinky bum bum’ aged two – there’s a good chance I stole it from someone else, I’m not sure. Through school I would write comedy poems to read on the coach to football or cricket matches. From the age of 15 whilst at boarding school, I started writing stories which I hoped would develop into novels but I kept turning the protagonist into a half-Tibetan, half-English fifteen year-old boarder of impeccable talent and sex appeal.

Are you a full-time writer? If yes, then you must be a very rich man :)

I work at a school we own, in management, and I also help with university applications. I used to teach economics and some sports too. I have done the maths on how much I will earn per book, and it’s not pretty, so I can’t imagine myself ever being a full-time writer. I stumbled into education really, but the job satisfaction is second to none.

What's your writing process?

When I am really into the process, I go to school early and try to write before anyone else gets there. A couple of hours a day and I can whack out 2000 words without thinking much. At night I will read over what I have written and make a mental plan for the next day, sending myself emails as reminders. I don’t plan or research a great deal, so I never have writer’s block. Often this means I write junk but, even in writing that junk I am learning.

How long did it take to write your first novel?

The first draft of this took about two months. The first novel I ever wrote stayed with me for about two years, but I was using it as training. It was rubbish, but I learnt so much from it. I did have a few characters I am proud of and I still steal bits from that first novel.

Is writing for you like making love or giving birth? 

I do kind of close my eyes, write and hope I don’t disappoint so I guess there are some similarities. In terms of childbirth, I knew what the cover of my book looked like before it was printed, but when I saw my daughter for the first time, that really was the first time.

Any writing quirks?

Unfortunately not. I just don’t take it too seriously, so I don’t need to face east or chant while I write. I’ve read of sportsmen who get into a zone when they get onto a pitch. I think that is a bit like me at a computer. I honestly have no idea where I am going, I just write and enjoy it.

Your first thought when you received your first copy of the book?

My first thought was, no more economy class flying for me. Then I checked the price of business class and my contract for royalties and decided I would stick with economy after all. I was also quite scared. I thought that a lot of people had put a lot of time and money into this book. It better sell.

Authors you like to read. And why?

I am a bit of a good time Charlie when it comes to reading; my favourite author tends to be the last one I have read. Having said that, I do love Sri Lankan books like Chinaman and Island of a Thousand Mirrors because they are familiar in some ways. It is the life I am used to, and Sri Lanka is an amazing setting for any novel because of its diversity, humour and the civil war. My second novel has been influenced by the writing styles of Chuck Palahniuk and Mohsin Hamid. I like their punchy, cool and modern voices.

Genres you hate to read and why?

Fantasy. I just can’t do it, I don’t know why. Maybe because I see so many opportunities for humour in it, but I think it takes itself too seriously. To be fair, I have never given it a chance. I might love it.

Tell us about your wife and child. What role do they play in your writing career?

My daughter, Tara, is everything to me and it has changed me in that I no longer think about myself much. For example, I now look at other people in photographs rather than myself! This makes me more observant. My wife is my best friend. She is an avid reader who has read the first page of a thousand books, but that’s all. I discuss plot points with her and she always says, ‘Oh My God, that’s your best ever’ and then she shops online.

What are you working on next?

My next book, Panther, is about a former child soldier gaining a cricket scholarship to an elite international school.   The problems of school, first crushes and sinister school masters, are just one part of his life as he tries to forget a far more dangerous world and battles the anger that is born of his terrible past. It will be sent the edits for that soon as it comes out in July.

Currently, I am writing my third novel about a woman who was adopted as a baby, returning to Sri Lanka to connect with her eccentric birth mother, revealing some horrible family secrets. Since the main character is based on someone I know and see often, I am being overwhelmed with new real-life comedy material. This is the first book I have written which makes me cry with laughter while I am writing it – this person, without knowing it, is that funny.

Now for the mundane and mandatory questions. Sorry, gotta ask them....

what inspires you?

Business Class. Also a sporting hero, a movie, or a cheesy speech. Most of all, I am inspired by my daughter’s unconditional love and how selfless my mother and wife are. 

Your dream novel

Catch 22 – humour without being slapstick. Very hard to find.

Something that you wish you had written

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. The only book I have ever read that has made me laugh out loud. 

Something that you would never write even if Bill Gates promised you all his wealth.

I would never write a bad word about Bill Gates, just in case. Without sounding like a mercenary, I think I would write anything since there is scope to find either humour or emotion in every topic, however despicable.  

If you are allowed to take one book with you to heaven (we are going to heaven, right?) what would it be?

I would have to take one of mine because with all the time I had there I could try to improve it. Also, then my father could read it.

Your other pursuits in life

Sports, more passive than active these days, TV, films, good food and the gym.

Family is huge for me, as are animals. We took in a street dog at the same time my book came out and named him Eddie Trusted.

On your work desk

Pictures of my dogs, my daughter. Otherwise a hell of a mess, but I know where everything is.

Describe yourself as a writer

If I was to use an analogy I would say, as a writer, I am like the cricketer who just goes out and plays the game for enjoyment rather than being tied down by scoreboard pressure. I don’t take myself too seriously. This is a hobby which I love. I didn’t need to be published, but of course that makes it much better. If ten people told me my writing was terrible, I would probably agree with them, but still do it for fun.

Is the person and the writer two different entities or are they one and the same?

I hope they are the same because after tax and agent fees, I don’t want my royalties to be split any further