Today, I finished reading the book ‘Laburnum For My Head’ by Temsula Ao. The stories were short and crisp describing the lives of people of Nagaland. Every story was different from the other with a strong narrative. But this post is not a review of the book. After reading her book I felt compelled to write a post appreciating not only hers but the works of Indian writers and thus promoting them.
I have become an avid reader since 10-12 years. In this (short) duration, I read books from authors all across the global and enjoyed devouring their contents. But I have also come to realise that sadly, like all other aspects, we undermine the talent of Indian authors too. If given a choice between two books on a topic, we prefer a foreign author. We lack the will to appreciate our own!!
We were ruled by foreigners for centuries and now our brains are ruled by their ideas and thoughts, they subtly ingrain through their writings, musings or anecdotes.
In the recent past I accidentally came across two Indian writers – Arun Joshi and now Temsula Ao; neither are their books promoted nor are they heard about in book clubs.
Though I would not make any false claims about Temsula Ao because this is just one book of hers that I completed reading today, for which she won the Padma Shree Award in 2007. But Arun Joshi, a writer from 1970s was a chance but delightful discovery. His works are crisp, well-articulated, powerful, bringing the imagery and characters to life. I have already read three novels he wrote and intend to read the rest of them in the near future.
Shashi Deshpande is another talented Indian author who won the Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel That Long Silence. She has aged and unfortunately has not written any books in the last 4-5 years. Nonetheless her previous works are a treasure trove, a treasure I have collected over the years in my personal library.
Timeri N Murari is an absolute favourite. If you want to read any of his works…borrow them from me. He has written on various topics. The novels are descriptive and the memoirs are heart warming. Though through his memoirs I have embarked on many journeys with him but I am pinning for the day when I actually meet him.
I apologise, for I got carried with the thoughts of my favourites. There are so many more writers whose works I have admired. Amongst them are Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Sudha Murthy, Subroto Bagchi, J Krishnamurti, Susmita Bagchi, T Rangarajan, and many more. These Indian writers are a class apart. Their descriptions of our culture are precise and vibrant. They bring alive not only the lives of people but also bring forth Indian thoughts, insecurities and prejudices to the surface. So, indulge in the works of Indian authors (too). They may not be celebrated writers, nevertheless their writings are distinguished. Indulge in them and you’ll be delighted too!!
This post by no means tries to draw a comparison between the Indian writers and others. It is merely to draw your attention to the wealth of our country which we otherwise tend to overlook. Give our Indian authors their due and let’s be appreciative of our own. Next time, when you are out to select a book, make the effort to dig out one from the lesser known Indian authors.
Also, do share your recommendations with me. I’ll be more than happy to hear from you.