After acquiring a BA in English Literature from Stella Maris College, Madras, Tulsi Badrinath graduated with an MBA from Ohio University, USA. Returning to India, she worked for four dreary years at Standard Chartered Bank before quitting her job to pursue her twin passions -- writing and dance. Her background in management helps her provide corporate executives with cross-cultural insights while interacting with them through the medium of dance. She is the author of two works of fiction, 'Man of a Thousand Chances' and 'Meeting Lives'. Tulsi Badrinath joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on her latest work of non-fiction, 'Master of Arts- A life in dance'.
Q. How did you restart your career in dance after quitting the job? Asked by: Jaya
A. I was performing even while working in the bank. Quitting my job allowed me to concentrate full-time on my dance and writing.
Q. Who are your favourite young Indian writers? Asked by: Ravi
A. Hi Ravi. When you say 'young' I'm not sure which age group you are referring to! :) I like Anuja Chauhan's writing.
Q. Master of Arts is well-felt and wonderfully articulated book. This is your first non-fiction book -- how did you decide on its structure? Asked by: Sudeep Sen
A. Thank you Sudeep. It took me some time to arrive at the structure. Once I had interviewed my gurus V.P. Dhananjayan and Shanta about their lives in dance,and six other younger male dancers, I had my 'material' to use Naipaul's word. It seemed to me that unless I wrote about my experience as a dancer, of beginning to learn dance at the age of eight, of the sheer joy of it, my 'material' would not come alive. So there are three strands in the book... my journey in dance, my guru Dhananjayan's remarkable life-story and that of the next generation of male dancers.
Q. you previous works were in the booker longlist - literature or dance - which would you pick(If you just had to)? Asked by: Kim
A. Hi Kim, Not the Booker longlist, but the Man Asian Literary Prize, which is called the Asian Booker. There is no difference in my mind between dance and literature. Dance makes literature/poetry visual, to the sound of music and my writing always weaves in some element of dance/art in it. No choice really. Both, together!
Q. Do you think the classical form art is getting diminished slowly? Asked by: preity
A. I think the quality of the classical art forms is in danger of deteriorating because artists do not get the right kind of support/patronage/funding. Equally times have changed. The kind of slow attenuated pace of learning required by the classical arts means that very few today have the patience to learn it. And if they do, they are ready to declare themselves 'guru's' within a couple of years! Whereas even a lifetime spent pursuing the muse of classical arts still isn't enough!
Q. Does mixing fact (non-fiction) and story-telling (fiction), a difficult combination? Asked by: Sudeep Sen
A. Hi Sudeep, that's an interesting question. In fiction, one has greater scope to do it. However, sometimes one has to invent details to shape the flow of events. In non-fiction, the difficult part is to choose the right or telling detail that one wants to present out of the mass of information one gets while interviewing people. Having chosen, one does have to shape the narrative which can be tricky because real life is messy...it does not flow to plot!
Q. I also want to be a writer. Please share writing tricks. Asked by: Honey
A. I wish there were tricks Honey. It would make a writer's life that much easier! If you want to be a writer, you have to start writing... write a little everyday. About something that matters to you, that you feel deeply about.
Q. Do you recommend others to quit their job to pursue their passions? What all they need to take care before ahead? Asked by: Priya
A. No Priya, in fact a lot of people told me I was making a big mistake when I quit my job. I knew it was the right decision, made at the right time for me, as it coincided with the birth of my baby. It depends on so many personal factors that it can only be an individual decision taken after a lot of thought. The chief thing to remember is that it is difficult to support a family relying purely on one's income as an artist- writer or dancer.