It was far more than a book launch that Anu Vaidyanathan had when she recently visited Chennai: her memories took her back to long hours of cycling on the East Coast Road. “Chennai has definitely changed a lot from the authoritarian and conservative city I found it to be as a child,” she recalls. “I didn’t like it back then, but when I became an adult and started training as an athlete, I realised that the city had ethics of its own. You can be very sure of some onion seller offering you a coffee when you finish running, which is very unlikely in Bengaluru.
Also, it was an opportunity to meet my old pals, interact with them, though it was less than a day I got to spend in Chennai,” says Anu, who has her roots in Thanjavur, but was born in Delhi and brought up in Chennai and Bengaluru. A PhD scholar in Electrical Engineering from University of Cambridge, Canterbury, Anu is also heading an intellectual property consulting firm, PatNMarks. Anywhere But Home, a sports memoir, has Anu’s sports life as the central theme, with other aspects of her life intertwined.
“It is strictly a narrative of a sportsperson’s life, but it can also be viewed as a travelogue as it discusses the places I travelled to as a part of my sports career, which pretty much covers most of the continents. The book is titled Anywhere But Home because my aspirations have always taken me far from home and family,” says Anu, who was the first Asian to compete in the Ultraman Canada triathlon and Ironman Canada. It is refreshing to note that Anu prefers doing one thing at a time though she has established herself in multiple fields.
“I might have done varied things, but not at the same time. If I take up something, I dedicate my entire time for that. Even when I sat to write this book, I used to write from morning till night for one full month,” says Anu, who credits her editor Kaushika’s dedication that inspired her to give her best to the book. And in the process of writing the book, Anu has developed a liking for the whole editorial process.
“Writing is not new to me, but I’m not used to writing long format, say a book. Also, it is easy to tell what and how something happened, but to describe how you felt is something I had to make myself accustomed to. It’s an interesting journey,” says Anu, who has already started working on her next book.