In the charming, anachronistic bustle of Old Delhi, in a café nestled in an alley that winds down from Jama Masjid like a little rebellious story, Arundhati Roy talks about her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Its main locale is here, in this twilight city, but its story-strands spin out to encompass almost all the themes that drove her non-fiction in the 20 years since her first novel The God of Small Things. Excerpts from a conversation with Sunil Menon:
I think we have a marvellous book here. You do get the feeling, though, that the strands may have developed independently at various points in time, and you found a way to graft them together.
No, no…I was writing them simultaneously, laterally, from the beginning. I was not writing one chapter and then another.
So there really was a master plan…an architect’s draught.
Yes. That is, for me, fundamental to fiction writing.
So nothing goes out of hand in the writing, no...