About Sudanand Rajan
Sudanand, a self-described jack of all trades, flew jets for over two decades, first with Jet Airways and then with Air Asia Malaysia. His passion for motorsport has seen him participate in over 160 races, securing podium finishes, race wins, and a national championship. Yet, his journey doesn’t stop there. As Director of Ortho-One, a leading orthopaedic hospital, Sudanand has also delved into the world of healthcare.
In his free time, Sudanand finds solace in reading, playing the piano, crafting model aeroplanes, and meticulously building model railroads.
LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content.
Sudanand: Beethoven’s Last Symphony is an existentially themed coming-of-age novel comprising the elements of a mystery, a Greek tragedy, a powerful emotional arc, historical events and frequent allusions to the transcendental power of art, literature and music. A little more than a decade ago, a crisis of faith immersed me in philosophy and existential literature, following which my daughter was beginning to question the world around her. ‘Beethoven’s Last Symphony’ was my reply in the form of a story, even if not exactly an answer, to my daughter as well as to those of my willing fellow travellers in humanity’s existential peregrinations to whom I wished to offer not only an arresting tale but also a story suggesting alternate sources of meaning and purpose, particularly pertinent in a world that tends to offer these through certitude of notions that are as yet beyond human grasp except through theological and metaphysical speculation.
LiFT: Why you chose this title?
Sudanand: ‘Symphony’ refers to ‘Timeless Love’, the incomplete three-part embedded narrative akin to the three movements of a symphony, which is penned to its conclusion by the young protagonist, Zoey. Beethoven, the famous composer’s titular namesake, is the main narrative’s deuteragonist, even if debatably so! As the story progresses, the reader apprehends the thematic significance of the novel’s entire appellation.
LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer and what’s your inspiration behind it?
Sudanand: A friend read a few of my essays and suggested I write a novel, and, voila, there began my journey of authorship in 2017. As for the inspiration, refer to my answer to the previous question.
LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?
Sudanand: Possibly a successful author with another book or two published, or another obscure has been. Hopefully, the former!
LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?
Sudanand: While the good quality of a book may be the necessary condition to ensure its success, it is in no way a sufficient condition. With tonnes of books flooding the market, marketing and advertising are the only means to provide visibility to a book lest it be lost in the heap of literary obscurity.
LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?
Sudanand: I consciously try not to be didactic in my writing, or at least not overly so. Nevertheless, I wish to convey a message of meaningful optimism amidst the tragedy of existence and the rising incidence of nihilism among the youth.
LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?
Sudanand: Besides my professional roles as a pilot and hospital director, I was a racing driver for many years. My other hobbies are sketching pencil portraits, aeromodelling, railroad modelling, reading, playing the piano, air rifle target practice and fitness.
LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?
Sudanand: Play the piano, read or annoy the hell out of my daughter or fiance!
LiFT: What if your story will be adapted as a movie? Whom would you want to work as a director or actors in it?
Sudanand: I’d fancy Spielberg as the director and Adrien Brody as Flight Lieutenant Zimmerman! I’d have loved a younger Michelle Yeoh to have played the role of Joanne, Shirley Yeung as Esther Goh, K.J Apa as Ariston, Julie Andrews as Hannah Miller, Melissa Benoist as Beatrice and Irene Papas as Eyos.
LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.
Sudanand: Not immediately, though I do have three individual story ideas. I wish to spend another year reading up on some literature and philosophy before I resume writing.
LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?
Sudanand: Read some of the best works of literature out there! There’s plenty, and there’s no better way to improve your own writing skills.