Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Regained in translation : Banaphool's short stories

Reflections:  Figment of the author’s  imagination.  Reading Arunava Sinha's recent translation of Banaphool's short stories was like revisiting a dear friend after years. I had first read Banaphool's writings in the original Bangla long ago during my school and college days. To re-read them in an accessible and smooth English translation was a great pleasure.

High quality English translations of many literary gems from our bhashas are now being published. It's a boon for book lovers, for we can now read masterpieces orignially written in a language not our own.
Banaphool's simple language and spare style belie great depth and rich nuances in his writing. The twists of plot reminiscent of O Henry; the fine touches of irony and humour; understated emotions of great depth and complexity; discovering poetry and beauty in everyday things; These stories are worth reading for all this and much, much more.

Read my complete review published in Deccan Herald

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Bookaroo 2010

 (young Riddle of the Seventh Stone enthusiasts eager for autographs )
(friend Sonja Chandrachud's session with ghouls and goblins galore )

Participating in Bookaroo 2010, recently held in New Delhi, was an amazing experience. Personally, it was reliving my childhood when students of city schools sat around me enjoying a daramatized reading fom Riddle of the Seventh Stone. Anita Roy, my ever supportive editor from Young Zubaan was lively and exuberant as ever. The best part was when the youngsters caught up with me later and mobbed me for autographs and said the session was "awesome".

Obejctively sepaking, while the enthusiasm is contagious and the number of visitors are increasing exponentially at India's first and biggest children's literaure festival, there's a long road ahead. The vast majority of our millions of educated middle class parents and teachers are yet to be convinced of the importance of inculcating a love for reading among young people. Parents will readily spend hundreds of rupees on fast foods and junk foods, but books, no matter how well written and produced, are widely considered a waste of money.

Also, we are yet to overcome the colonial hangover. A large number of Indians still consider Indian books to be inferior in standards to foreign books.

There are plenty of people who do not want to read, who know all there is to know and don't care about anything else.

And, there are also events like Bookaroo. May there be many more! Here's my complete roundup published in Deccan Herald