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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Little Off the Track

Recently I attended a literary function in which a speaker said that every Indian should read the mythologies that are Indian. One starts realising what a glorious culture he or she hails from. Well, things are always easier said than done. There are only so many years in one's life and all that one can read during a lifetime is only limited. Awareness--yes!--one should have that. It's always helpful. I think I should start reading those novels that base their themes on our glorious mythologies, like "Yagnyaseni" [in Oriya] by Pratibha Ray and "Sita Puni Boli" [in Hindi] by Mridula Sinha. In that function I just referred to Mrs Sinha was speaking about Sita, the character she has based her novel on and I saw her crying while delivering the speech. What an extent a writer can go just to live the character he or she writes! I think many in the audience shed their tears too.
Hanuman, the monkey god and the greatest of the devotees of Lord Ram, was as much knowledgeable as he was powerful and there is no doubt that Valmiki had endowed this character of his opus with versatility unmatchable in its sweep in the entire gamut of mythologies in India. He was detailed to fetch Vishalyakarani or Samjivani herb from Gandhamardan hills so that the extract out of the herb would revive Lakshman lying in coma on the battlefield. Ram knew that nobody except Hanuman would be able to deliver the goods, for it was Hanuman who had the ability to work under the compulsions of geography and time. But reaching Gandhamardan Hanuman could not trace the herb. And, lo, he uprooted the entire hillock and carried it atop his left palm and reached the battlefield in Lanka taking the aeriel route, the shortest route. That was how Lakshman could be revived.

How is it possible that Hanuman, the greatest devotee of Lord Ram failed to recognise Sanjeevani? Is he not the same Hanuman who could recognise his lord owing to his supreme devotional power? And somebody who had the knowledge to know where his god existed should not have faced the confusion of recognising a mere plant which was so essential then. Is it that Valmiki consciously made the episode so interesting anticipating the expectaion of the readers of the Ramayan?

A driver knows how another of his ilk would behave under a given situation. This unwritten agreement is verymuch palpable in the discipline of the road. So is the case of a writer. I think I can enter into the mind of Valmiki. Look! He would have made his first draft like this: Lakshman was hit by a powerful weapon and fell unconscious on the battlefield; then Ram could come to know that Sanjeevani herb could revive his brother Lakshman but the herb was available in the forest of Gandhamardan which was thousands of miles away from the battlefield of Srilanka; so he sent Hanuman to fetch it; and Hanuman fetched the herb which in turn revived Lakshman. That could be the shape of the first draft of this particular episode in Valmiki's Ramayan.

Then in his second or subsequent rounds of revision, Valmiki would have added layers of narratives to his mythology and Hanuman would have appeared more powerful a character in the process. So, the earlier episode would have appeared just ordinary to the writer himself. How could he have allowed his Hanuman to simply go to Gandhamardan and fetch the herb? Would not it appear so uninteresting? So the demand of the plot would have necessitated further embellishment of the character and his action, say like uprooting the whole of the hill and carrying it via ariel route rather than just fetching the herb without any visual impact of his action as was the case in the first draft.

What do I intend to say here? Nothing...except that I have some understanding of the painful process of revision the author has to walk his drafts through. Oh yes, I should disclose it here: "The Roadshow" that I was shaping as a collection of short-stories would be a novel. Aha! I'm only thinking aloud! Now during the course of revision of a short-story collections, I have strayed into a bigger area. I'm feeling a little jittery--it's like drifting into the highseas while the process has started as a simple swimming along the creek!
A. N. Nanda




Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm Feeling Lucky

A new author, say it's me, desires that his work be appreciated...and there's nothing unusual about it. What's unusual is that even after lapse of considerable time, he refuses to accept the reality. There are more people in search of appreciation/recognition than people willing to appreciate. A demand and supply scenario! I sent copies of my recent book "एक साल बाद " to at least twenty-odd editors for review, but I'm not aware if at least one of them has bothered to review it. I've no urgency and I'm not going to investigate why it did happen the way it happened. At the same time I'm not willing to accept that my book is a bundle of trash and hence it received no attention. If I start accepting that, that'll be the end of my literary ambitions. And, lo, to make me feel right, I suddenly get some encouraging response. Here's one such response I received by post from one Mr Shishupal Singh 'Narsara', Adhyaksha, Sahitya Sansad, Sikar Rajasthan. I thought I can copy it to my blog.

"एक साल बाद" (कहानी संग्रह)

आस-पास के परिवेश में जो घटित हो रहा है वह कहानीकार . एन. नन्द के संवेदनशील मन को व्यथित एवं आंदोलित करता है और उससे उनके उर्वरा मस्तिष्क में और भावों से भरे ह्रदय में हलचल होती है तथा उसी से कहानी निसृत होती है। 'एक साल बाद' एक अहिन्दीभाषी कहानीकार का हिन्दी में रचनाकर्म है, जिसका हिन्दी साहित्य जगत में व्यापक स्वागत हुआ हैएक साल पूर्व ही आपका 'विरासत' कहानी संग्रह आया था, जिसमे उन्होंने डाक विभाग से सम्बंधित कहानियों को समाहित किया था। 'एक साल बाद' का फलक विस्तृत हैइन कहानियों में सामाजिक एवं मानव संबंधों को कहानी के सांचे में ढाल कर पाठकों को परोसा हैइनकी भाषा-शैली सरिता की तरह कल-कल बहती सी प्रतीत होती है, जिसमें सहजता एवं सरलता के साथ-साथ मार्मिकता एवं प्रभावोत्पदकता भी हैइन कहानियों में पाठक को अंत तक बांधे रखने की क्षमता भी हैमाटी की सौंधी गंध लिए ये कहानियां आम आदमी के इर्द-गिर्द घूमती हैंभाषा, शैली, एवं शिल्प की दृष्टी से तो ये उत्कृष्ट कहानियां हैं ही; कथानक चयन एवं संवेदना से सरोबार इन कहानियों में नए मुहाबरे भी गढ़े गए हैंयहाँ लेखक ने आत्माभिव्यक्ति के साथ सामाजिक दायित्व का निर्वहन भी किया हैलेखक साधुवाद के सच्चे अधिकारी है

आकर्षक मुखावरण और बढ़िया कागज़ पर विशुद्ध मुद्रण पुस्तक को पठनीय, मननीय एवं संग्रहणीय बना देता है


शिशुपाल सिंह 'नारासारा'
A N Nanda




Friday, April 01, 2011

In Pics

Here's how we went about releasing "एक साल बाद" ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1 and the pictures are taken by somebody whom I entrusted my camera [Sony Cybershot]. I cannot say that the best snaps could come out of it. The professional who had covered the event with his own camera had not given me the CD yet and I cannot wait till the snaps are handed down to me so that I can choose a few good ones for my blog. I've also a plan to post a couple of video clips but that will be later. So that is that.

On the Dias:-
From L to R Dr Srinivas Udgata, Padmabhusan, poet-writer-translator from Orissa; Dr Mrs Usha Kiran Khan, Maithili Novelist and this year's Sahitya Academy Awardee for Maithili literature; Sanjeev, the acting editor of Hans; Mr Vyas Jee, the novelist and Chief Secretary , Deptt. of Labour, Govt. of Bihar; Me the author and the owner of the blog; Mr M Abdali, the noted Urdu poet and Director Postal Services, Patna

Standing at the back Mr Rajesh Shukla, the Publisher of Vatayan Media

A crowd of listeners who came to make my function a thundering success. I know many of them had come prepared. I was so very impressed as one Mr Rathore from the audience sought permission to speak who was allowed by the chair. He made people listen to him with rapt attention. He had read my earlier book too.

All of them released "एक साल बाद" and made me feel happy about it. Thank you all.

My friends who believe in my ability more than I do: From left to roght, Vyas Jee, Me and Abdali.
A. N. Nanda