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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Remembering Tsunami is traumatic; one would always try to forget that. But how does one do that? Especially for those who have seen the beauty ravaged. Campbell Bay is no more the same island I saw then; The Pygmallion Point is now submerged. It is a place I had to pedal my way up to, ignoring the leaking sky and the rivulets in spate, the scree hurdles and the sea walls treacherously eroded, and at the end of the day when I could make it, it was an experience to recount. The same island is now lost much of its beauty. I'd love to revisit the island for the third time in my life.

W here cuckoos sing in November
Between thin spells of tickling drizzle,
The sky bends to whisper
Her endless sweet gossips,
The hungry waves rush in columns
To lick and relish the sparkling pebbles,
The shadow saunters by in lazy lull
Playing peek-a-boo with one and all,

There, the cool emerald island
Sings and sways
Just under the charcoal sky,
Call her just Campbell Bay.
She loves to be in close embrace
Of everyone that really matters—
The naughty surf and goody sand
The sylvan errand on leafy bed;
The moon hides her powdered face
Shy, behind the cloud blankets;
The moist smell wanders aimless
Building moods of delightful languor,

There, the enchanting island
Keeps humming the mellifluous tunes
In moments of ever contentment,
Call her just Campbell Bay.
The vast playground of fun and frolic
Where turtles rush for baby-sitting,
Building a sand castle in dexterous mould
Where megapode awaits her cheery offspring,
Banishing anxiety from worldly trifles
Where dolphins somersault playfully smiling,
Hopping crazily from branch to branch
Where primates rule the surroundings,
There, the enthralling island of the Bay
Lives on and on since the prehistoric days
Afloat on the ageless waves
Call her just Campbell Bay.

Away from darling home

A thousand of miles behind,
Hungry poor sells his sweat
For a bowlful of smelly rice,
Saves through his untiring years
A score of hundreds pies together,
His longing eyes fail to fathom
The length of waiting- endless forever,
There, the enigmatic island
Sobs for ages —every day
Singing songs of inspiring melancholy
Call her just Campbell Bay.
Here God gracious lives in jungle
On tumultuous surface of the Bay of Bengal,
In the sweat and tear of a toiling soul
Who had left Jharkhand before years a score,
Still slogging for a thousand bucks
Content with his Handi* a Rupee a mug,
A day would soon dawn in his life
He would foot the bill for his homecoming,
Here lies the Emerald Island
A little beyond the scary channel
Braving wave after wave
Call her just Campbell Bay.


27 / 11 / 1996
A. N. Nanda

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Speech II

Today I was awarded "Kamleshwari Sahitya Samman - 2009", by Jan Sahitya Parishad, Fatuha, Patna for my maiden work in Hindi, a short story collection entitled "Virasat". The citation speaks in many sweet words about my book and if I'm to translate just its opening paragraph, it should read something like this: "The stories of Shri A. N. Nanda, the eminent story writer in Hindi who hails from Orissa, present a lyrical flow that is full of empathy and warmth depicting the life of the people working in the post office. With an unadorned yet gripping style, the stories have the power to attract and hold the readers". Let me quote from it, "हिंदी के सुप्रतिष्ठित ओड़ियाभाषी कथाकार श्री ए. एन. नन्द की कहानियोंमें डाक जीवन की समग्र संवेदना का ललित कथा प्रवाह हैश्री नन्द के खुरदुरे शिल्प में भाषिक सौष्ठव के बीच कथा प्रवाह का संवेग पाठकों को बाँध रखने की क्षमता रखता है" Many poets, story writers, critics, lyricists, editors attended the function. From among them at least the name of one invitee I should mention who impressed me the most. He was one Mr Sagar Tripathy from Mumbai who besides heading Prithvi Group of Companies in the city, also composes wonderful poems, ghazals and shayaris. I could take down a few of the couplets and I'm going to quote one such couplet in my blog before I go on to key in my speech. The couplet is:

"इबादत, अर्चना, पूजा, बड़ी मन्नत से आती है,
महत भगवत्कृपा से बेटियां जन्नत से आती हैं । "
M y S p e e c h . . .

श्रद्धेय रामयतन बाबू, जन साहित्य परिषद, फतुहा के तमाम साहित्यप्रेमियो, डॉ शिवनारायण जी, मुंबई से आए हुए मेहमान श्रीमान सागर त्रिपाठी जी तथा गुजरात से आए हुए श्रीमान लक्षमन दुबे जी, समवेत सुधी वृंद, देवियो और सज्जनो....

लिए यह एक बेहद ख़ुशी का मौका है कि मैं इस भव्य समारोह में शिरकत कर रहा हूँ सचमुच, आप लोगों ने मुझे प्रोत्साहन देने का निर्णय कर मुझे यह अहसास दिलाया कि साहित्य साधना में साधक को खुद को कभी निसंग समझना नहीं चाहिए; समय पर उसे साथी और दिग्दर्शक ऐसे ही मिल जाते हैं

किसीने कहा है:

कहता है कि आसमाँ में सुराग नहीं हो सकता,
एक पत्थर तो तबियत से उछालो, यारो

मेरी कोशिश का नतीजा आप लोगों के सामने है, बाक़ी मूल्यांकन आप लोगों में हाथ में मैं तो सिर्फ लेखनी के द्वारा खुद को ढूँढने में लगा था और देख रहा था कि क्या ओडिशा की दाल मगध में पक सकती है? मुझे विश्वास था कि यह संभव है अगर उस दिन मगध से आए अशोक महाराज को कलिंगवासियों की आवाज़ भाई थी तो आज हो सकता है कि कलिंग से आए एक लेखक की भाषा मगधवासियों को भाए विचारों का आदान-प्रदान तो सदियों से चला रहा है

आगे चलता हूँ, और भी बातें हैं हर आफिस कार्यालय होता है, लेकिन पोस्ट ऑफिस घर होता है, यानी डाकघर जब मुझे मानवीय संपर्कों को लेकर कुछ लिख डालने की प्रेरणा हुई, तो मैंने चुना डाकघर आखिर डाकघर तो संपर्कों का संस्थान है और उसकी शुरुआत तो प्रेम से ही हुई कालिदास के "मेघदूत" से लेकर रवीन्द्रनाथ द्वारा रचित "पोस्ट आफिस" तक यही अहसास को चित्रित करते हैं मैं भी जुट गया "विरासत" की खोज में इंसान कभी-कभी सोचने लगता है कि अगर मैं कल रहूँ तो कम से कम एक will तो लिख जाऊं ताकि भविष्य के लिए कुछ बच जाए आज की बदलती हालात में जब डाकघर कुछ नया तलाशने में लगा है, कायाकल्प करने में जुटा है, ऐसी स्थिति में मैंने भी सोचा कि और देर होने से पहले कुछ लिख डालूँ ताकि भविष्य के लिए इतिहास भी बच जाए "विरासत" आपके सामने है, मूल्यांकन के लिए

अब मैं आगे बढ़ता हूँ, कुछ आपबीती बातों को लेकर ट्रेन में थर्ड क्लास बोगी अब नहीं है लेकिन साहित्यिक दुनिया उसकी परंपरा को भूली नहीं जब तक मैं प्लेटफार्म पर हूँ और बोगी में घुसने की कोशिश करता हूँ तो अन्दर वालों को कोसता रहता हूँ कि वे लोग मेरे अन्दर जाने का रास्ता रोक रहे हैं फिर जैसे भी हो मैं अन्दर घुस जाता हूँ अब मुझे लगता है कि यह मेरी जिम्मेदारी है कि मैं भी बाहर से आने वालों को अन्दर आने से रोकूँ क्या इस सिलसिला का कोई अंत है?

की दुनिया हर क्षेत्र में यह देखती है कि क्या प्रस्तुत किया गया है, लेकिन ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण है कि इसे किस तरह प्रस्तुत किया गया है चाकलेट खाने के लिए कितने आवरणों को निकाल फेंकना पड़ता है--संसार भर में अब कचरों के पहाड़ बन गए हैं साहित्य तब बच पाएगा जब हमें क्या प्रस्तुत करना है, इस पर ध्यान रहेगा कि कैसे प्रस्तुत करना है, इसमें ही उलझ जाने पर "विरासत" पाठकों के नज़र में कतई नहीं आती अगर मैं हिम्मत जुटा कर और खर्च उठा कर तथा प्रकाशकों के ना-ना से डर कर इसे किताब के रूप में सब के सामने नहीं लाता "विरासत" तो विरासत है; अपने बलबूते पर आगे निकलने के लिए मैंने इसे छोड़ दिया है--बिल्कुल कैक्टस की तरह चाहे वह रेगिस्तान में कैक्टस की तरह आगे बढे या बगीचे में गुलाब की तरह शर्त है कि इसे बिना सहारे के बढ़ते जाना है

आज आप लोगों की "विरासत" के प्रति आदर देख मुझे लगता है कि इस कैक्टस रुपी "विरासत" को आप लोग गुलाब का रूप देकर ही छोड़ेंगे धन्यवाद
A. N. Nanda

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meeting My Future Friend

Authors are bound to experience extreme mood swings. The pendulum could swing between extreme despondency and intuitional optimism. Just as I recapitulated my experience after publishing "In Harness" I wrote a blogpost way back in July 2006. And now I've a similar feeling to capture.
When a new writer, agog with a dream and plenty of literary ambitions yet unsure of the quality of the manuscript he is proffering, meets a publisher that is too experienced and too nine out of ten such cases, the publisher would stoop so low as to bully the writer. I'm sure about this, sure as hell. He would just flip through the pages of the manuscript with disdain characteristics of mediaeval aristocrats receiving tributes from their serfs, casting thereon his hasty and impatient glance, and then say something as ludicrous as this: 'Um...its style is clunky' or ''s oodles of grammatical errors' or even ''s too long-winded,' blah and blah. Why does this happen at all? Purpose: in the bargain that starts with the meeting, the writer has to be brow-beaten, psyched out and driven back foot so that the publisher can take all the laurels! If he is an author with only dreams that are raw and brittle, he would go back with his dreams shattered. It's possible that he would even burn his manuscripts.

On the other hand, if the author has skin that is thick enough to endure this, as well as a belief in himself, he would come back and try to tread a different path that is within his reach--say he'd resort to self-publishing or a vanity publication or name it in whatever way you should. Of course, while resorting to this, he should be sure that he has the talent to steer him through the thick and thin of a creative life.

Only last Saturday, I happened to meet a big sort in Indian publishing domain. I was introduced to him by somebody who, at least in money and in clout, is no less than the publisher himself but the friendship between them, as it appeared to me then, is not all that intimate. In fact I already knew the big publisher had published a book of this big sort on the condition that the latter purchased at least 200 copies of his own book from the publisher. I don't know if the big publisher had ever paid royalty to this big sort, nor had I ever asked him about that. Yeah, I could be anything worse than that but not a busybody :)

So, when I met the big publisher and got introduced, he opened the discussion by enquiring what I needed from him. So I said that I wanted him to read my book "Virasat".

And the big publisher flipped through the book and got up to his antics.

'You should have got your book corrected from somebody who knows the language well,' said the big publisher. That he was condescending was clear even from his body language. The less said the better!

More than anybody else, I know what all I did before actually publishing "Virasat". I had shown the stuff to eight different people: a colleague of mine whose second language is Hindi and who has done his M. A. in Hindi from Benaras Hindu University; an officer who is working as a Hindi Officer in the Govt of India office; a senior government officer who hails from Hindi belt and had earlier done a stint in Hindi journalism; a Hindi poet; a couple of my colleagues whose ability to edit had impressed me; a person who is himself in printing and publishing line; another one whose grasp of Hindi grammar is really praise-worthy. In the preface of my book I've gladly acknowledged this! Then how would I accept such an out-of-the-blue statement that the book is still crying for editing touch. Yes, during the editing process, I had all the time seen to it that there should be no over-editing that could have robbed the book off its originality. And I'm fairly satisfied that the people who helped me did not exceed their briefs.

'But I just created something to afford the taste of a raw and unadorned style, say, like eating a raw mango plucking from its branches or tasting a ladle of curry from the boiling pan,' I replied.

'I know all that, but there're people specialising in this work,' the big publisher said.

Then I reacted, 'Look Mr Publisher, there's no dearth of people writing better Hindi than me, but I had no intention of publishing something in my name without myself writing it. You'd better appreciate the honesty.'

Now the publisher seemed to relent, 'I agree the book has honesty and plenty of it'. A pause gone he added, 'It can be published under a different title, say like "Post Office Tales".'

I know publishers flood the market with the same set of stories of the established authors again and again but under different titles and that's their way of overselling popular authors of the day. And coming back to my book "Virasat", when he had decided that the book lacked in linguistic strength, why should he be hinting at such a thing as publishing the book under a different title? Was it that he had the objection to the title only? Or did it mean that he needed a few more sessions of Q & A to psyche me out? Who knows, one day he won't come back and tell me, 'Look your book needs extensive editing and this, you know, costs money. So the author has to bear this. Plus, you've to buy the initial consignment of five hundred books and it'll be a kind of no-royalty edition, and so forth.

I'd better refuse to be bullied. As a self-publisher, I've been able to circulate five thousand copies. There has been a decent ceremony as I got "Virasat" released; the newspapers and electronic media covered it extensively. There have been symposia on the book attended by reputed writers. At least twenty different newspapers and magazines have covered it so far. Newspapers have published rave reviews on this book; the national television channel has so far telecast something or the other about the book. I've a standing invitation to proceed to Delhi and participate in a television programme that'll review my book and interview me. Some literary magazines have, in their recent issues, published stories from "Virast" and a few more would be doing that very soon. I'm receiving letters, off and on, carrying readers' appreciation. People leave comments about my book in my blog. A local literary society is going to award me "Kamleshvari Sahitya Samman" for this book on 24th December. People who have so far said sweet words about my book are from different walks of life-among them are retired and sitting professors, people from media, government servants and judges, anonymous readers and well-wishers, people from Hindi belt and from outside. Some have liked its plot, some its style, some have commented on its honesty and some on its freshness, some have highlighted its humour and some its touch of empathy-people who love "Virasat" far outnumber those who, for some reason, do not like it.

There's something common among all those who don't like "Virasat". And should I tell what? No, I should not, for people who envy me today are my friends tomorrow. So, the common denominator is that all of them are my future friends, including the big publisher who fancied bullying me in our first meeting!
A. N. Nanda




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