Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Land Less Traveled

I envy writers who have pages brimming with accounts of travel and simmering visions of places and their people.I look over my work and see the dearth of a sense of belonging.If I were to write fiction,my characters would most likely be individuals without countries;the kind who dwell in mirages and lose all sense of possession once the mirage is dry.If writers are paid by the word then I stake my claim to bankruptcy even before I intend to bombard publishers with waif-thin manuscripts.

I see my own country as an alien would behold a foreign land.All that I have learned about India is through minute conclusions drawn over a series of observations made on life in Bangalore and Kolkata.The two cities represent two ends of an infinite spectrum and the void of all that is left in between haunts me.Nevertheless these pangs of self pity have brought to my notice that India is a land less traveled by its inhabitants.

Most Indians probably see the land as they see themselves,given the fact that many of them either live below poverty or are too busy chalking out a 'living'.We are a race that cannot feel pride as we're ignorant of what exists.There are some textbook writers who try to add a hint of romanticism to dreary descriptions of natural wealth.There must be some unspoken sentiment that hints that the average Indian stands still and wavers only occasionally to look beyond his/her immediate surroundings.

I am reminded of what Amitav Ghosh said about how one cannot feel like a writer unless one has seen the world.Drawing inspiration from a textbook is like plagiarizing a prescription and calling it science fiction.Little wonder then that the premise of the great Indian novel hangs precariously from the string that fastens the great Indian assumption.Those of us who don't like to assume,have nothing more to offer save anorexic stories of alienation.


ankita anand said...

Have you read Kiran Nagarkar?

La Diva! said...

I've heard of his work but not read anything by him.