Past and Present
Tatler Malaysia|September 2021
Debut novelist Viji Krishnamoorthy’s 912 Batu Road isn’t just a 15-year-journey that finally came into fruition, but a powerful, sobering story about the best and worst of humankind
Koyyi Chin

In-between the conflicts of war, the clashing of cultures, as well as the personal struggles of the protagonists as they wrestle with both heart and mind, 912 Batu Road is a cleverly woven tale of fact and fiction, interspersed with personal instances of writer Viji Krishnamoorthy’s life. From the unique retelling of forgotten war heroes like Gurchan Singh and Sybil Kathigasu to the little not-so-secret life of the author, like how the book’s title is actually based on the house her father grew up in (there’s more where that came from, so keep your eyes peeled), this gripping tale is a timely reminder that despite the tumultuous times we live in today, there’s always a tomorrow to strive towards.

When I took over as editor of R.AGE in 2014, I proposed to revamp the section to focus exclusively on Viji Krishnamoorthy (VK): Did you know that I never intended for that chapter to become a book? It all started when one year, I just couldn’t figure out what to give my husband for his birthday; we were in Pangkor for a holiday where I gifted him the first chapter, handwritten with a pen. It was about this fictional moment between a fiery young Indian girl named Gomathy—whose name I scrapped and had it changed to Gheeta instead—and her subdued, dutiful Indian mother. But then, my husband proceeds to tell me that I ‘shouldn’t leave the chapter hanging’ and that I should develop it more seriously! It was at that moment I wondered if I’d made a mistake. I was an extremely reluctant writer, you see, I never liked calling myself one, but my god was my husband irritatingly persistent. So, to finally get him off my back, we sat down, talked, and came up with the framework of the story.

Talk to me about that framework—what was the novel’s setting inspired by?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TATLER MALAYSIAView All

Nadia Ismadi

The SaphX Technologies co-founder and CEO created her fintech startup with the objective of helping gig workers access financial institutions, which typically shun them

2 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

On The Road

With remote working becoming the norm, enjoy a change of pace with ideas that combine work and play

2 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

ASIA'S MOST STYLISH MALAYSIA'S GOT STYLE

Yes we do—and our honourees for 2021 are living proof. From polished and immaculate classicists to irreverent and trend-defying iconoclasts, these trailblazing individuals are the ones to watch

10+ mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

A Season to Remember

Huge-scale Oktoberfest celebrations used to be all the rage in this country. Whatever happened to them?

3 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

More Than Just Digital Art

We speak to two NFT experts and a digital artist to understand why NFTs are here to stay and the potential they hold beyond the realm of digital art

4 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

Black Beauties

American artist Mickalene Thomas, who has changed the way we look at Black bodies, is presenting her life’s work in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong this autumn

8 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

Celebrating Two Decades of Passion and Dynamism

Luxury watch retailer Swiss Watch has grown to become one of the leading watch retailers in the region with a presence in four countries

5 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

The Kids are Alright

Entrepreneurs Shiva Shabani and Calvin Yu discuss channelling your inner child and their eyewear brand, Sons + Daughters

4 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

Recharge and Reconnect in the Maldives

From private islands to comprehensive public health and safety measures, the Maldives is a safe haven that guarantees its guests a stress-and-worry-free vacay

3 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021

The Magical Four

No need to head outdoors for a spa treatment. Nourish your skin at home with La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Collection

2 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

Malayappa Swamy rides Kalpavruksha Vahanam

ON the fourth day of ongoing Brahmotsavams, Lord Malayappa Swamy blessed devotees from Kalpavruksha Vahanam and Sarvabhupala Vahanam.

1 min read
The New Indian Express Chennai
October 11, 2021

The first Philippine Film Industry Month

CELEBRATING PH's FILM INDUSTRY

2 mins read
Manila Bulletin
September 5, 2021

Left proves right

Pinarayi Vijayan’s focus on welfare schemes, infra projects and good governance reaped rich dividends

5 mins read
THE WEEK
May 16, 2021

Low contact tracing is major factor in COVID-19 surge – DILG

The current close contact tracing ratio of one is to seven is far-off from the desired one is to 30 ratio under the “Magalong formula,” a factor that led to the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

4 mins read
Manila Bulletin
March 16, 2021

ME & MY SHELF: Benyamin's Top-10 Reads

Benyamin is an Indian novelist and writer of short stories in Malayalam. His 2008 book Goat Days won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award. Another novel Jasmine Days was awarded the JCB Prize for Literature and the Crossword Book Award (both in 2018). His latest works include Al Arabian Novel Factory and Body and Blood.

5 mins read
Reader's Digest India
August 2020

MALAYA RUBTECH INDUSTRIES -TO NEW HEIGHTS WITH RADICAL NEW-GEN IDEAS

Founded in the year 1988, the renowned MALAYA GROUP, famed for its unique, unblemished quality of TSR (ISNR) grades and various grades of RSS, is steadily scaling new heights with big expansion and diversification plans by incorporating groundbreaking innovative New-Gen ideas

10 mins read
Rubber Asia
September - October 2019

Enough Is Enough

The #MeToo movement swept through India last year and its ripples are still being felt. Meet the Women in Cinema Collective, who are fighting the good fight within the Malayalam film industry.

4 mins read
VOGUE India
October 2019

Actor Dileep's Arrest Uncovers The Dark Underbelly of Malayalam Cinema

Actor Dileep’s arrest uncovers the dark underbelly of Malayalam cinema

4 mins read
India Today
July 24, 2017