India: Crossword Prize and most rejections: Anees Salim on his novel ‘The Blind Lady’s Descendants’

AneesSalimI started writing this book shortly after my first manuscript fetched me a few rejection mails. I had just landed my first job and I was living hand to mouth on the top floor of a rundown hotel. The floor had only three rooms besides mine but they were always uninhabited, so I practically had the whole floor to myself, complete with the luxury of a spacious terrace, a pretty view of the city and pin drop silence throughout the night.
Halfway through the manuscript I learned why the rent was ridiculously low: the previous tenant had ended his life in the room by hanging himself from the ceiling fan. Talk about coincidences: I wrote the first draft of The Blind Lady’s Descendants, which is actually a long suicide note of a twenty-six-year-old, in a room where someone had killed himself. I wrote most of the early version of this book with an eye on the ceiling, shuddering at the lightest sound.

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