Chennai-based writer and journalist Krupa Ge is working on multiple projects currently, across formats. But the one that she is most excited about is her recent foray into screenwriting. “Personally, I think there is a lot of space being made for women there now,” says the two-time author, whose second book, a work of fiction titled What We Know About Her, was longlisted for The JCB Prize for Literature 2021 and shortlisted for the Women Writer’s Prize.
In an interview, she talks about the vintage teakwood desk she writes on, the butterflies outside her window and her love for Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid. Edited extracts.
Describe your current workspace to us. Has it always been this way? Or has it evolved over the years?
After years of resisting it, I gave myself a writing nook when my second book was published. From when I was a kid, I wanted to live in a house with a balcony, but I’ve always lived in ground-floor homes. During the lockdown, feeling quite boxed in, we decided to knock down the walls of one of our rooms that faces a small patch of green and put in French doors. That room is the study now. It was also necessitated by my shoulder injury. Sitting on sofas, on random chairs, or the floor while writing and working over the last decade had taken its toll on my shoulder. It was on the doctor’s orders that I think about a PC instead of a laptop. It all came together with this new writing room (with) a dedicated desk, a zoom-friendly plywood partition for a backdrop, and a great green patch just outside. Both my desk and my chair are, like most things in my home, vintage teakwood furniture. They are cheaper and more durable than any online store or branded store selling compressed or solid wood furniture. I also love the fact that my Connemara library-inspired replica teak chair has a swivel feature.
How would you define your daily relationship with this space?
There are days when I don’t enter the space at all, and there are weeks when I cannot leave the space. There are days when I like to sit on the red bean bag on the floor and stare at the rain or the rare birds or butterflies as I make a mind map or sit in on a work call. It has slowly evolved into a quiet, comforting, unintrusive space where I can live and work.
Tell us about some of the eureka moments you have had and major works that you have done from here.
I wrote one of the fastest pieces of work I have ever written sitting in this space. I haven’t really shared it with anyone yet. I am allowing it some time and space and will probably return to it by the end of the year, but I guess having a space like this can and did bring an extraordinary amount of focus; something I might have overlooked before.
If you were to trade this place for another, what would it be?
I was on the Jayanthi Residency in the winter of 2017 in Ranikhet. It would get so cold that I would wait for the sun to come out, so I could go sit on the terrace by the kitchen, praying the monkeys don’t come out to play. The black masala chai, the glorious Himalayan range, especially Trishul, for the backdrop, and superb Kumaoni food at the down-to-earth Royal Mountain Hotel in Kalika, Almora…what I would give to go back there.
What’s the one thing that has always been at your workspace over the years?
A notebook and pen.
The first writer whose work you followed closely/sometimes imitated. What about them appealed to you?
Jamaica Kincaid. I found her writing of women and their lives very clinical yet very beautiful.
How has your writing evolved over the years?
I think I am not tentative anymore, if I want to write something, I do it. Though this hasn’t meant that I am writing indiscriminately, all over the place. I have shut my social media down even. I write what I really truly want to when I want to.
Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative individuals and their relationships with their workspaces.