Thursday, August 13, 2015

Being at Cornell University and Bagdora airport at the same time

Thanks to Kunal Raj for this image

Being at Cornell University and Bagdora airport at the same time
How writing a  book  let my mind transcend

I recently learned that the Cornell University Library has Rustom and the Last Storyteller of Almora now available as part of the English literature catalogue in the iconic Kroch Asia collection.  Imagine that, I told myself.

While I will like to believe that this is because the book is good and the librarian has great taste – the reason behind its presence on a shelf at such a historic place could be something more mundane – like a donation, or maybe a good salesman that pushed it across with more significant work. Who knows or who cares? What really blows my mind and fascinates me to no end is how art allows the mind to travel. This discovery also gives an answer to questions I have struggled with ever since Rustom and all those horses in my mind bolted. ‘How does it feel? What really inspired me to write? Why did I put myself through this?’  

Typically, I reply with a shrug. A smug ‘I really don’t care’ look. Not because of a supersized ego, or any poetic reason a better writer can string together, but because it really feels like nothing. The sales. The feedback. The reviews. The newspapers. The excitement in some voices when they discuss the book or diss it. I shrug. The physical translation of an emotion, any emotion to be more precise, that does not exist inside of me.

Why this lack of a response? Maybe a part of me knew that the book will work out and this is but an anti-climax, the playing of situations already played out in my mind. Or maybe the way I am wired lets me call upon only limited set of emotions. Who knows? But the Cornell discovery, and insignificant things like a friend reading an inflight magazine review, and I running into the book in a hotel someplace, and when a reader shared a picture of a Rustom sticker on the New York Public Library’s currently reading wall – these are the things that thrill me. Move me in ways I cannot describe.
It’s the travel I guess. The splitting of my mind into little sheets, bound together with a fancy cover that lets me exist beyond wherever I am. The distances the book moves, taking my soul with it when my body cannot. Its mere existence – celebrated or ignored in the homes of strangers. That’s where the kick lies. That’s when no in the nothing is erased. That’s when a disinterested shrug dies, and a shiver running across my mind is born.  When that complete stranger, a pretty brunette with thick glasses I would like to imagine, picks up a copy of the book in a university or airport somewhere and for a brief moment of time we share the same mind and thoughts.

I know I have written about this earlier, but I can still not get over how writing or any act of creation provides us the opportunity to transcend physical distances and time. To have your own thoughts, brilliant or otherwise - spawned originally in one place now finding rebirth across oceans is what the creative journey is all about. A song that comes to your mind late at night, now being sung by someone else in another pin code.

Do art. Seriously, go create. It makes it all worthwhile. This ability to have your work take wings is why one should write, sing, paint and mould shapes out of thin air. The one simple cure to live beyond your years.

Rustom and the Last Storyteller of Almora by Gaurav Parab [Hachette] was listed by the Times of India and Business Standard as one of 5 weekend reads , The Hindu calls it a Genre bender, The Statesman ‘An Almost Perfect Debut, The Lucknow tribune calls it a debut to remember, The Pioneer calls it Cinematic, The Vistara Air inflight magazine a Good Book on the Shelf, the Sakaal times says its ‘sheer brilliance in storytelling’ while the Bangalore Mirror calls it an unforgettable story. It is available in leading bookstores and online here

1 comment:

Vinay Garg said...

That is a great Achievement, Gaurav. I have been to Cornell's Library lot of times, and it is the best library I have ever been to. I never imagined I would see your text from the other side of rack. Wow!

Brilliant, waiting for your next book. :)