Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:13

#AskAnAuthor | In Conversation with Philip George & Geetha K, authors of 'Racket Boy: Where's My Country?'

Filled with his personal insights on migration, identity, and the universal quest for belonging, the book offers a deep exploration of one man's extraordinary life. Joining me today are the authors themselves, Philip George and Geetha K. Who will be talking about their collaborative process, the themes woven into the memoir, and the profound journey of sharing a deeply personal story with the world. Hello Philip and Geetha. Thank you so much for joining in

#authorinterview #memoir #sagafiction

Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:35

1. Pivotal moments from your personal journey & your understanding of home and belonging.

So, Philip, I'll start off with the first question for you. Your memoir span six decades of your life, from your roots in Kerala to your experiences in Malaysia and England, exploring themes of migration, identity, and belonging. Could you maybe talk a little bit about some pivotal moments or experiences from your personal journey that have shaped your understanding of home and belonging?
Philip George
@Hartono · 3:46

@Ramya

But then when Margaret Thatcher came into power in around 1979 onwards, I saw a decline in the english standards and also a rise in xenophobia and right wing thinking. And as I stayed longer there and gained knowledge, I realized I've got a problem with my identity there and found Italy and where I went and with it being a latino country and a spiritual and christian catholic place, I felt more at home in the Italian. Temperament and culture suited me much better now as to sense of belonging
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:19

2. Your definition of success a d fulfillment?

As an add on to my previous question, throughout your life, you've held diverse roles from factory worker to banker to solicitor. How do you define success and fulfillment based on your diverse range of professional experiences?
Philip George
@Hartono · 3:57

@Ramya

And then when I got my a levels at night school, I managed to get my five year UK residence and then went back to the banking industry for a while, for about six months and resigned from there and became a full time student at university doing a law degree. And then I qualified as a lawyer. And with the help of badminton I went up the law ladder and eventually became an equity partner. But all in this I had no choice but to survive
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:21

3. The significance of the title?

And ever since I came across the book, I've been very intrigued by the title Racket Boy. I'm sure it holds some special significance. Could you share with us the story behind the title and what it represents to you personally?
Philip George
@Hartono · 0:53

@Ramya

The significance of the title. There was no. Initially, I thought there was no story and nothing was preplanned. It opened the doors to the inner sanctum of english life. And the significance of that was through badminton and taking things to the limit and having a friendly relationship with failure. And all that came from my positivity with the badminton racket. And as a result of that, Keeda and I decided that the book should be named Racket Boy. So the title took a life of its own
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:15

4. Looking back on your life...

In your retirement in Tuscany, you reflect on your journey with a sense of fulfillment. How has this phase of your life allowed you to look back on your experiences with new insights and perspectives?
Philip George
@Hartono · 1:27

@Ramya

And I'd already been going there on holidays, hitchhiking there and traveling there from England and reading its Renaissance culture, literature and slow life and appreciating stillness and connecting with simple things like cutting the grass, looking at nature, going for a run in the morning, cooking, having a siesta, drinking a glass of red wine. And nothing was. Nothing was rushed as he was in England. So it's a slow, easy life
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:15

5. Geetha, what drew you to Philip's story?

So, Geetha, thank you for joining in. I have a few questions for you, as well. As a co author of Racket Boy, what drew you to Philip's story and what motivated you to collaborate on this memoir?
geetha krishnan
@kranthasi · 1:40

@Ramya

And Philip's colorful life experiences, spanning decades in Malaysia, England, Italy, and other parts of the world, his many, many interests, you know, such as sports, law, cultures, people, psychology, mentoring young people, and certainly his extensive travels, everything provided great fodder for my debut memoir. That was followed by a first FaceTime call between KL, where I'm based, and Tuscany, where Phil lives. And one thing was quickly established
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:15

6. Transitioning from an educator to an author...

You've transitioned from being an educator to a writer and editor, how has this shift influenced your approach to storytelling, particularly in the context of memoir writing?
geetha krishnan
@kranthasi · 1:22

@Ramya

But to answer your question, Ramya, my background in education and years of doing interviews for the magazine involved a lot of interaction with students and people from many walks of life. And I think this has given me a lot of patience, and I think I cultivated a receptiveness to the fears and vulnerabilities of people. And I've also become a little more empathetic. All these, I feel, are qualities that are very important for connecting with people, which in turn is a paramount quality for memoir writing
geetha krishnan
@kranthasi · 0:44

@Ramya

And for someone who was doing it for the first time with record Boy, I basically had to learn on the fly, you know, especially about asking the right line of questions to extract as much as I could from Phil, to identify the themes in his life and develop a good narrative arc. And it. It just helped because I. I am a fairly good listener and I soak up stories like a sponge, and I've always had a knack for synthesizing a story out of the flush of information
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:37

3. Your collaborative process with Mr.Philip George..

Also, throughout your career, you were engaged with diverse forms of writing, from language teaching to novel writing to writing memoirs. How have these different mediums shaped your perspective on storytelling and communication? Also, could you share with us your experience of working closely with Mr. George on this memoir? How did you navigate the collaborative process and ensure that both of your voices were authentically represented in the book?
geetha krishnan
@kranthasi · 1:41

@Ramya

My job was to deliver an honest story of someone else's life, and I think I remain faithful to that. And I must say, this whole process has been an absolutely dynamic learning experience for me