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Jeet Thayil
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When I recently met Jeet in Delhi, he could have gone as a mafia don of Bombay´s underworld in the 1970s. But then I do not know a single gangster who would be such a blessed multi-talent and such a colourful character. As a neo-novelist, performance poet, songwriter and guitarist, Jeet masters the art to combine his interdisciplinary affinity. Why should he always read from his sensational novel Narcopolis which earned him the 2013 South Asian Literature Prize and certainly a top celebrity status? He can easily lull audiences presenting excerpts from the book through soft, melodious, half-sung, lullaby-like whispers even when the sinister context should freeze the blood (or optionally heroin) in your veins. Jeet has travelled to many sleepless metropoles around the world since his childhood, but he also confesses that a nap is always a good idea. Innocently born in Kerala, a state in South India globally branded as God´s Own Country, he went to live in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay where he experienced quite some adventures until he landed up in Delhi. The Indian capital encouraged him to observe, by his standards, a relatively bourgeois lifestyle. I do not think that I will ever be able to hold a candle to him regarding narcotic expertise. Still I am not too depressed since Narcopolis had such a hallucinatory effect on my senses that I just had to inhale some pages to get temporarily stoned.

People
Jeet Thayil
by Robin Mallick