The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Remix of Orchid-I

[Now a bit of self-promotion...of course with your permission.

I'm through the writing phase of my next book which will be a collection of short stories. Obviously, it is going to be a self-published one. Or else how long should I wait for a real talent-hunter to come to me with an overwhelming offer to publish my storywares? Enough is enough; I've already spent three years in searching and if I add the time spent on writing and revising it, it will be ten years. So, am I not justified to do everything on my own?

Now there will be three to four posts in this curtain-raiser series. Earlier they have been posted in my other blog which can be reached through this link and its archives. So, here you are--my self-promoting literature.]

Is it possible to cull stories from a dull continuum of events where beginnings are as inconspicuous as denouements? Oh, yes—we still have a place on the earth where time dawdles at will and nothing exciting ever happens. There, waves lap the shore and winds swish past the ancient trees for no purpose, with no reason. Dull monsoons and wearisome summers leave no trail of consequence. Characters appear interesting, but not inspiring. Nobody makes a story happen there; all that happen are just the crude and the predestined—like a tsunami or a sudden volcanic eruption. Is that then a land story-less?

A search for stories in this story-less land could be an extra-ordinary saga in itself. It is possible—if not an effortless endeavour—to discover plenty of storyware in stones and ravages, waves and showers, crustaceans and centipedes… and finally, in struggling humans—whether they are out for existence or for excellence. Everything is so different here! Its ancient desolation, its splendid anonymity, its inscrutable resignation—all make it sweet and invulnerable. Its difference yields stories for itself. One day a peculiar belief sets in: something is in the making here despite all the semblance of immutability. Writing stories for it then becomes an act of clairvoyance, inspiration, spontaneity, and thrill—it becomes an act of abiding faith. Events get inspired to happen. Interesting, isn’t it?

The pristine archipelago of the Andamans proves it is not a story-less land. Gladly, it bares its soul to one who understands it. It does not demand anything tall like building a concrete bridge to the mainland or joining the river Ganges with the river Galathia. It just wants somebody to listen, a patient listener, an empathetic listener. After all, who does not like a patient listener? Even a rubber crab of Aberdeen Jetty or a ghost being of the Wandoor beach or a school of barracudas in a prodigious diving site off the Haveluck coast join the swelling crowd of characters who have something to say. As they whisper their heartfelt, stories get chronicled. Dreams are created, and realized like those quick-flowering shrubs of Saddle Peak. Small mistakes remain small in reality but big and frightening in dreams; a well-wisher never stops till he has realised the cost of his benevolence; a sex-slave is emancipated from far Kuwait to be honourably rehabilitated in the liberal surroundings of the Andamans; a mother behaves like the police while she expects proof before welcoming her son; a group of environmentalists relish wild-life delicacy; a group of novice gather and go gung-ho to bring gold medal for the islands in a national hockey tournament; and so on. All of them are believers—they believe one day somebody will listen to their stories, echo them in the assembly of sympathetic listeners, and make them as important as they are. “The Remix of Orchid” samples their story of existence, packs all their passions, and presents the first-ever opus of its genre. It just waits for a publisher’s nod to reach the receptive hands of the readers.

Between 1995 and 1998, my work took me there, affording me a once-in-a-lifetime the opportunity to see the islands that dot the azure surface of the Bay of Bengal from Myammar to Indonesia. I have seen the islands in their scenic resplendence, trekked the highest peak of the territory, run into mid sea turbulence that accompanied the return monsoon, waited for days together in the remote islands for a boat, had miraculous escape from a floundering aircraft midair amidst the slashing hailstones, and so on and so forth. I have fished at lonely jetties using lines and hooks, participated in firefighting efforts in a disastrous fire in a marketplace, drunk the sour-smelling coconut toddy to please an unsuspecting tribal, written poems to dabble in creativity…. I have talked to everybody, listened to all. I was agog with stories and felt I could write something with an authentic feel of the place. “The Remix of Orchid” is the result of my six long years of work........
A. N. Nanda
Berhampur, Orissa, INDIA


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