Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s writing style has been compared to Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. However, his ingenuity emanates
from music and photography more than books or authors as he thinks these comparisons are “ lazy” and “reductive”.
I had set up a home in Moira, Goa. Isheta Salgaocar introduced me to her father, Dattaraj Salgaocar, patron of Sunaparanta. Raj invited me to the board of his institution and I initiated the Shanghvi Salon the same year, a conversation programme exploring how work is made and the challenges of the artistic process.
Isheta and I have different but complimentary strengths. At heart, I’m a village boy; she is worldly, cosmopolitan. I hate crowds; she can work a room like she owns it. I’m interested more in private conversations with artists; she can make sure they deliver on time. We are also close personal friends, I’ve grown to find it also keeps alive our friendship, as I am not someone who can chat about nothing or meet friends at parties. I find that sort of socialising vacuous. To build a working
relationship on shared passions and a singular motive for growing an institution has been an extraordinary boon.
Goa gives me a great mix of solitary calm and the freedom to meet people outside the complications of city life. Very few folks are going to do a power number when they’re on the beach. I like the ability to drop by a studio practice, to work with local artists and see how they think about work.
If you read my books you will see those subjects were at the heart of both novels. My belief is the debate around the sexual self has to transcend the banality of category,. There are few things as boring to me as straight or lesbian. People are sexual and this means they will always find ways to live, desire and explore love. We seek out people for many things—conversation, sex, money, love. Not all of this is going to come from the same person or the same gender. Be open. Be true to yourself in the moment.