: The word “moonographic
” is my intellectual property. Please handle it with respect!]
Sometimes I get a piece of advice that I cannot fully act upon. This is regarding the area I should look for to cull my themes for writing. As per the advice, I should write only those things about which I am absolutely familiar, say the situations that I have lived through and the characters I have actually come across. Yes, they make a special reference to the few stories I have written for my book, “The Remix of Orchid”. [Going to be self-published this month]
In fact, there is a story in first person POV where the setting is a SCUBA diving site, and another where a sex slave is rescued from Kuwait to be rehabilitated in the beautiful island city of Port Blair. According to them, if I have no experience of Kuwait, not even of a tourist, how authentically can I write about the place? Moreover, if I am not a SCUBA diver and do not even know swimming properly, how can I sound convincing in my story?
The quibble is correctly pointed out, but not fully supportive of another commonsense counter-point. Does that mean that I have to be a ghost to pen a story on a ghost? Or die to write anything about death?
Yesterday I met a professor in English to discuss about the point. He does not think the way others do. He poses a question: how could Kafka write on America without visiting the continent? I don’t know much about Kafka and the book the professor was citing. But nevertheless it was encouraging.
I think there are two ways of looking at this—either give an insight into the characters and situations as an insider with depth and details, or depict a newcomer’s point of view with freshness shedding new light on them. Both have the promise to succeed.
That said, I should explain this with an example. In India when a girl goes to her in-law’s place after marriage, she weeps, sometimes with poetic expressions. That highlights paternal attachment the girl is called upon to leave behind, the girl’s own fear of adjustment in a new environment, her symbolic appeal to her husband for plenty of love and protection, and so on. When newcomers without any grasp of the internal essence of this emotional scene are called upon to describe their first impression they will certainly say that the girl is not willing to go with her husband. Is it true? No, the girl is very much willing to accompany her husband; rather she is thrilled. But while developing upon their observation as the new observers find the same girl smiling behind her bridal veil after a while, they take the whole scene of cry as a fake enactment. Is it true? Definitely not.
If I am to write an appealing prose on behalf of that so-called inexperienced new observer, I would write something like this:
“In India marriages are the occasions to shed tears. The bride, much against her will, is sent to her husband’s place and she weeps in agony. Sometimes she cries with pre-learnt couplets, rhyming remarkably with their syllables matching. She not only cries sonorously; she makes others cry too.
“But that is not the end of the story. Hold it, a little later you will yourself be surprised to learn that the crying business in an Indian wedding is all farce. Just at the end of the village, the girl starts smiling, in anticipation of the romantic things that will unfold shortly. So, one can surmise that there is a lot of hypocrisy in everything we see in their weddings….”
So, what is the conclusion? One must go to moon to write stories with moon-setting. It is time that our lunar cosmonaunts penned some moon-specific stories. Just for authentic feeling, isn’t it? It will be a new genre—moonographic genre, or something.
ByA. N. NandaBerhampur//13=12=2006