Interview: Cyrus Mistry

Cyrus Mistry tells Time Out why he can now devote his time to writing without fretting about odd jobs: TimeOut Delhi

Cyrus_MISTRYCyrus Mistry – not to be confused with the chairman of the Tata Group with the same name – made headlines this year for being awarded $50,000 for his second novel, Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer, at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The DSC prize for South Asian literature is a generous sum of money, especially for a writer from this part of the world, where writing books is almost unanimously considered an abysmal career option. It has not only catapulted this reticent and soft-spoken author, playwright and scriptwriter to fame, but it has also ensured that Mistry can commit to writing full-time.

Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer takes us to the last of the pre-Independence Bombay days to give us a ring-side view of the unknown community of Parsi corpse bearers, the khandhias, whose job it is to carry bodies of the dead. It tells the story of Phiroze Elchidana, the son of a respected priest, who, to marry the love of his life, has to fall from grace and live a life of a social outcast by becoming a corpse bearer.