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Word's Worth

Between reading and writing, investment banker turned author Lavanya Sankaran, after the grand reception The Hope Factory, is doing what all writers who’ve found their calling do – writing her next fiction. Every word she writes, we find, is worth its weight in gold.

What’s the first word, which today, makes your world go berserk?
“Hello?” The sound of my phone ringing when I am writing. A knock on the door, ditto. Anything that disturbs that quiet space drives me bananas.
In laying out the red carpet, you.... (fill in the ellipses with the vicissitudes, emotional and otherwise, which you experienced through the writing of  the collection of your short stories).
Had to juggle a young baby and a desire to write. The stress of a first book. Wondering if it is going to go well. Whether it would ever get published.

As a woman who had numbers at her fingertips, what really, during those years when you chose to be an investment banker, defined your world?
I worked at an investment bank years ago in my early twenties. What defined my life was: 100 hour weeks, late nights, coffee – and falling asleep over books.

For the better and for the worse, how has that world changed?
No comment. I am not familiar with investment banking today. It’s been years.

As a person who connects with the power of the pen, what, in your experience, has been this tool’s most memorable adventure, in conquering The Hope Factory?
Exploring the worlds of the protagonists, Anand and Kamala, who lead lives very different from mine. Their Bangalore is sometimes different from my Bangalore – and it was lovely to discover new aspects of my beloved city.

A day in your life...
Starts with writing. Ends with reading. In between, I swim, walk, do yoga and strength train. Pretend to attend to other chores and responsibilities. Ignore them and stare at the rain, play with the dog, listen to music.

On your table we see...
A battery of chargers for my laptop, phone, and kindle. A pile of books, waiting to be read or referenced. A pen-holder, notepads, snail-mail, which I unfortunately ignore and stockpile until the invitations expire, reading glasses. A bottle of water and a dirty coffee mug.

In your kitchen, there are...
Fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese and unpolished rice. The best home-made dosas in Bangalore prepared by my cook. The sound of laughter and steel bartans.

The closest people in your life are...
Frequently found in books. Also discovered in my family, friends and other writers.

In bringing hope to the world, through your novel and the fellowships at Lekhana -- tell us all about it.
Sangam house runs a wonderful retreat each year, currently at Nrityagram, the dance village. The Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship is an annual bequest to encourage new writing in India.

Right now you’d rather be...
Reading on a beach in Goa, watching my phone float away on the tides…

Up next...
More fiction.

What's the last word, which made your world rock?
“Hello” – This time, a friend calling just when I was thinking about her.

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