Celebrated Indian author Usha KR has mentioned the legendary broadcaster Vernon Corea in her novel ‘Monkey Man,’ published by Penguin. Her principle character Shrinivas Moorty listens to the voice of Vernon Corea on Radio Ceylon. She writes: ‘Shrinivas Moorty could say it was the voice of Vernon Corea that had seen him through puberty. At a time when Indian radio stations did not play ‘English’music, Radio Ceylon was a life line….’ Usha KR goes on to mention that listeners knew Vernon Corea so well.
Monkey-man begins on 3 January 2000. It is the start of the new millennium. On Ammanagudi Street in Bangalore, a strange creature is spotted. As the beast seizes the imagination of the city, the first people to sight it—Shrinivas Moorty, a teacher in a local college, Pushpa Rani, who works in a call centre, Neela Mary Gopalrao, secretary to an influential man, and Sukhiya Ram, her office boy—are invited to talk about it on Bali Brums’s hugely popular radio show. What was it that they saw? A bat? A malevolent avatar? A sign of the displeasure of the gods? The grotesque mascot of a city that is growing too fast and crumbling too soon? Or merely a monkey that has lost its way?
Using evocative prose that reflects her profound understanding of human nature, Usha K.R. delves into the lives of her characters and their unexpectedly linked destinies in a city that has grown from a ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ to the frenetic hub of the country’s IT industry.
Usha K.R. has been writing fiction for over three decades, beginning with short fiction. Her short story ‘Sepia Tones’ won the Katha Award for short fiction in 1995. Her novels include Sojourn,1998;The Chosen, 2003; A Girl and a River, 2007; and Monkey Man, 2010. . “A Girl and a River” won the Crossword Award in 2007 and was listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. “Monkey Man” was short listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian literature 2012 and was listed for the Man Asia. Usha lives and works in Bangalore. Vernon Corea visited Bangalore with his family in January 1975. Wherever he went people remembered him and Radio Ceylon.
Usha K.R. on her best selling novel ‘Monkey Man.’
Usha K.R. talks about her writing: