Anand Suspi, author of 'Half pants full pants', speaks to Sanchita Sen


'Don't judge a book by its cover', they say! But we do judge, because that is the first thing one notices about the book- its cover! Read the author and advertiser's mind to know about the book and what goes into designing its cover. . .

I wanted something that immediately takes the potential reader back to the 70s. The coins do this in the simplest, most evocative manner. They also work as a metaphor for the two sections of the book – Half Pants and Full Pants. The overall look is illustrative of the modest, frugal times we grew up in.

Sanchita: We read about how you started writing a diary on your childhood and then one episode rolled into another and finally got shaped into a book. Do tell us about the trigger that got you nostalgic enough to sit and jot down the travails of innocent childhood?

Anand: The book is an accidental piece of work. One day, about six years ago, I sat down to write a page to convince myself that I could write beyond advertising. I spent an hour thinking of what to write about. Arriving at a topic itself was confusing. I then remembered a few childhood incidents and felt that this was a good starting point and I could easily fill a page or two. I started with one, moved onto another and kept rolling for the next 45 days. It was fun, nostalgia felt cathartic and unintentionally, I had put down a sort of childhood autobiography. The only audience I had in mind was my childhood friends.

Sanchita: The book is being compared to having the same feel as that of ‘Malgudi Days’. According to you, is that true? How does it feel to hear this?

Anand: It feels humbling, but not surprising at all. Balki was the first to read the entire manuscript and he compared it with Malgudi Days. Now that the book is out, a lot of readers have said similar things. It is true to a great extent, by default and not design. The notable difference would be that all the stories in the book are real-life anecdotes. The milieu I grew up in was so similar to the world of Malgudi Days – small South Indian town (Shimoga), middle class parents (dad was a railway guard) and Brahmin upbringing (God and temples, righteousness, academics, respectability etc.) From the setting to conduct to human values, there are a lot of similarities. Between the 1940s and the 1980s, the world hadn’t changed much.

Sanchita: Hailing from the advertising world, you tell us how important is the title and the book cover in ensuring sales of the book? And what thought went into your title and book cover?

Anand: An attractive design is important to catch the eye, especially for a debut novelist. It can be attractive in a thousand ways, but it’s important that the design represents the content. As far as sales are concerned, I don’t think the design will do much if the book does not capture the mind and the heart.

My business partner Harpal, a designer by profession helped me with the cover design. We went through various concepts and finally settled on this. I wanted something that immediately takes the potential reader back to the 70s. The coins do this in the simplest, most evocative manner. They also work as a metaphor for the two sections of the book – Half Pants and Full Pants. The overall look is illustrative of the modest, frugal times we grew up in.

Sanchita: When was the best time of the day for you to sit down and write about those fond memories of childhood that finally went about to become this book?

Anand: I used to write for an hour in the mid-mornings and an hour in the evenings around 7 PM. I would read the day’s work before sleeping.

Sanchita: Sneak peek into your next project.

Anand: Advertising is my livelihood and that takes up a lot of my time. I’ll hopefully get down to my second book in about six months. I have a couple of ideas and they are squabbling with each. The day one scores over the other in my head, I’ll start putting pen to paper. Writing a book (like most creative pursuits) needs a lot of commitment, patience and sustained energy. I hope one of the two ideas gives me all three.

Rapid Fire Round (First thought that comes to your mind on hearing these words)

a.      Innocence - Dogs
b.      Trains - Countryside
c.      Era – No internet and mobile phones
d.      Quaint - Forts
e.      Towns – Contentment


About the Author

Author Anand Suspi

An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.

Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

His book 'Half Pants Full Pants' is available at:

Amazon.com                    Amazon.in                    Amazon.co.uk

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