Story of the Week

Harbinger of autumn

My acquaintance with kash phool (Kans Grass) deepened when as an adolescent I read the novel Pather Panchali (first published in 1929) by Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay. His other novel, Aranyak happens to be my all-time favourite mainly because of its evocative depiction of the wonders of nature in places like Lobtulia and its surroundings which sadly do not exist anymore. I still vividly recall the scene where Durga and Apu run with great excitement to see a train passing through their village; the majesty and marvel of the steam engine hauling the train, smoke drifting out from it and curling back in the air, glimpsed through the banks of flowering kash phool grown wild all along the track. Of course the image of this spectacle got further imprinted in the subconscious when I saw the film of the same name (first released in 1955) by the great Satyajit Ray.

Two Questions with Author Paro Anand

Was there any harrowing experience finding a publisher?
My book of plays I took to many publishers. Everybody said there was no market for children’s plays which I thought was really rubbish because every school—and there’re so many schools—needs to do plays …

Two Questions with Poet Jayanta Mahapatra

Did you feel a sense of release each time you successfully completed a poem?
The joy is over once you complete a poem. You know you have to sit down and start the whole thing all over again. So the struggle begins anew, for a new flash perhaps.

Two Questions with Author Bill Aitken

Your cosy cottage in Mussoorie remains mostly enveloped in profound silence all through the year as its some distance away from the hub of the town. I guess this suits you perfectly.

A lot of people don’t like Mussoorie because it’s silent! In my book Footloose in the Himalaya I said that I have known several people who have aspired and sweated to get a house on the hills in an isolated locale where they can enjoy the silence. Once having got it and stayed there for three weeks, they say “Bhago!”

Two Questions with Author-Photographer Ganesh Saili

The best thing that has happened to you as a photographer…

Being at the right place at the right time with the right equipment and being able to get a decent picture. There’s no question about that. A good picture is a combination of all these things.

Two Questions with Author Namita Gokhale

The writers in today’s world are finding it increasingly difficult to find a niche for themselves. What strategies would you recommend for them to survive this sense of uncertainty and vulnerability?

What I’d suggest every writer is that they don’t identify their own personality with the writer in them. See, while you’re writing, you’re very vulnerable.

Two Questions with Author Ruskin Bond

Do you think not getting what you want is sometimes good luck in disguise?

You can’t get what you want all the time. So one must get used to certain disappointments and refusals. You can’t be successful all the time. Nor should you be, I think. It’s good to struggle a bit and learn to handle setbacks.

Two Questions with Author Irwin Allan Sealy

For you writing immediately after waking up is primary, all later writing is secondary as you say: “I remember lying awake in the dark, eyes closed for fear of losing those waking thoughts, that clear wet dictation that goes on and on.” Do you do it lying on bed every single day?

That’s what it is. That’s why you miss it so much when it is not happening. Of course, it can’t happen all the time. You can’t be ecstatic all the time. Otherwise that ecstasy is devalued in a way. The whole point of that ecstasy is that it comes so rarely. But you love it, you worship it, you live for it in a way …

Two Questions with Author Manoj Das

Do you think whatever happens to us is for ultimate good?
It is absolutely true. Although when we say this at our normal level of communication it appears to be a truism, a kind of hackneyed slogan. But as one goes on realizing more and more the whole meaning of life, and the purpose of our living and experiencing things, one understands that it is a fact, an ultimate fact at a higher plane.

Breaking Through the Clouds

He’s at war with himself.

What the deuce have I been doing here in this wilderness past few days trying to summit the eight-thousander? I can’t hang tough and brave the elements anymore, he thought.