Straddling on a lone walk and scything on an elongated path pocked with the berserk crowd, caught in the madness of thick, sweltering heat and odors. Cabs and buses honking to swirl into chaotic direction, appearing aimless at times. A city caught into intoxication of its self.
Random thoughts caught my fancy and drenched into my own universe. Silence matters in chaos. Tale of a city made my own and footpath where every inch is occupied. Dappled sun forms an arc in the sky and glitter bringing the world of alien into a standstill. We are often at the crossroad and often alone in the brouhaha. Pain draws us closer to an identity formed in a city where loneliness becomes our alter ego. Love eludes us so does hate or the pain suffered by fellow travelers on the path occupied by beggars and the homeless. Noise and mayhem may never disturb a mind enraptured into stillness, or a break up tearing us inside out.
The restlessness and desire to run away from the madness often brings us face to face with reality, agony and pain. Anti dote of a life where nothing seems to be right and everything has no limit. Running away may not be an end in itself but then the heart listens to none, creating illusion and inventions in a world where human life is lost or is cheaper than water.
Intoxication proves to be a balm to the bruised heart. Walls often prove to be a shield to a lone soul, rubbing on the bruises encountered by the soul in a city of millions where a roof eludes the desperate. The lonely hearts shall straddle to conquer a broken heart and mirage reflected in the glass of cutting chai or admiring droves storming inside the local train. Life goes on, don’t they say. The constant struggles to make it big in Maximum City. Every one comes with the mind of an entrepreneur or dreaming to become the next superstar. Aspirations thrive for there is no tax imposed. Hope is nurtured, don’t we say! The rain shall come to wash woes and deluge.
What remains shall be entrenched in memories! Every step mattered and will always be. The heart is loyal to the city we once thrive in and no matter where fate takes us, belonging is all about this place we once loved making it a timeless affair. The conjured images stay forever for we are often the city buried in the soul. Secrets and sins may be washed ashore and lost to the crowd growing in numbers but bearing open to the soul, perched alone as we recollect ourselves.
The past is the present. Ancestors’ lineage and blood reverberate in every cell of my nerve and I for Identity never fades away. Cynics may call it discarded emotion or false patriotism. My great grandparents toiled in this colorful land, countless emotions, thousands languages and religions, we call India.
India may be born as an Idea. Historically and culturally rich, we stand tall as we verge to the past disowned or discarded by many. For me, it is not an idea but a country representing seamless, a metamorphosis on what makes me who am I as the person and the values I choose to stand for. Symbolism or grandiose effects have no place in my life. The wounds of the past and the displaced or uprooted from their lands as scars taking years and decades to heal, the people, grandfather, grandmother, mother, father taking the shape of ME. Tokenism is an over abused word. I am patriotic in my way, the actions and the things completing me as a person, adhering the rich legacy that gave form to the Indian constitution and secular values teaching inclusiveness and diversity, respect for every religion and ethnicity. This is my India.
I may be faraway from the land I call my own but the heart swells with pride every August 15, the national flag fluttering in the air and Jnana Gana Mana soars that even non-believers’ hearts are not left untouched. My patriotism is my patriotism. Your patriotism is your patriotism. I ain’t judging your thoughts. The freedom to walk the Indian streets and roads beyond city or village borders, the right to make love or sashaying into a new world is enshrined in the principles of democracy and constitutional values. Ever wondered why countless Indians making a new land their own are still touched by everything desi, food, culture, cricket, music and films beyond age and time. No short cut for we are not in quest of God but the voice of the dead and buried remaining alive through us. Our ancestors whose heartbeat thousand times for the country. Beyond emotions, traditions and manifestation, the heart that matters in the land I choose to call my own, undidactic as the element of choice may be and looming large beyond reasonable or ludicrous comprehension, rational or irrational.
Poverty is a bane. Not all men and women are born equal among the unequals. A battle we need to fight and which doesn’t remain embedded in the mind. A dream about equality, respect for women in rural and urban, where discrimination would be reduced to just a word, education for everyone, fighting this battle of malnutrition, proper hospital bed for every child. India belongs to all its citizens.
Everyday, the headlines sprang and sends us into depression reading about women being raped or facing sexual assault. It’s not what our ancestors wished for when they fought for independence, wrote the constitution, gave their lives for democratic, tolerance and human rights values, or dignity for every living but also non-living entities. We live in a restless and polarized politics era. I wish for the country to move beyond it and no child shall be seen as a Dalit or Brahmin. We don’t need to be a political martyr but the basic right to breathe free air where no child, man or women are deprived about what rightfully belongs to them.
History taught us how people have been driven outside their homes and leaving all belongings, crossing seas and oceans to a new land. The scars remain forever and we may choose to obliterate our identity but the irony remains that it never leaves us but come in unexpected ways to haunt. Let’s understand what India represents for zillions, the rich civilization and literature beyond the compass of veiled judgment that has no place if we choose to.
India resides in us, in me and you. You may not reside on the map but it scythes its way to pierce the heart. After all, mother carries a child in the womb for nine months, enduring suffering. How can child discard the chord binding the soul. You may be or not conceived by Mother India but blood transgresses generations, binding hearts and souls scattered over the earth in making you and me alive.
I may not be a Karmayogi. My Karmabhoomi is the country who made me who I am, the vast land of Sufism, Hindi music, traditional dance form, Bharat Natyam, arts, rich saints and bards, where language is learned by expressions, coupled with shaping my values, unfettered in my voice to protest injustice and take small steps so that difference of opinions are not only tolerated but prevails.
This is my India, the land of scholars and diversity. Our Independance is a day to reflect on our values, take pride in a democracy constantly moving and having the spine to correct the wrongs to let the world know we are One. This festive season, read the book, The Idea of India by Sunil Khilnani, one of the best gift to yourself in understanding and learning about the country.
Paromita Goswami is no stranger to the world of paranormal thrillers and spinning spooky tales, regaling her readers with mystery embedded in the racy supernatural world. As a writer, her works are diverse and not limited to one genre, as showcased by ‘Grow Up Messy!’ narrated from the eyes of a child that won accolades. In her latest The Clockmaker, the author wove a riveting tale about time traveling from past and present, blending in the present making it stuff best sellers are made of. In the blog interview, Goswami tells what went into the making of The Clockmaker and the next outing where readers should brace for a surprise coming soon. Work routine and the popularity of paranormal on whether it will find an audience with Indians are delightfully discussed by the writer. You can click on Amazon to buy the book, connect on the author’s Facebook page and Twitter.
How did you choose the theme of paranormal, blending it with the past and present in The Clockmaker?
Paranormal has always been my forte. In each of my work, you will see a tinge of it but not in an eerie fashion. In the jungle series, I explored the theme and must confess about enjoying the mystery to the hilt.
The clockmaker is the first book of the series coming as a standalone novel. Blending paranormal with past and present in the book wasn’t my choice. It was the character’s calling. I was only versed with the start and the end of the novel. The characters paved the way in flashing the narration and giving the shape. In this instance, it was paranormal.
Would you say The Clockmaker was the most difficult and complex written book and was the setting inspired by real events or Indian mythology?
I wouldn’t call it difficult since I loved the entire experience but when a challenge occurs, complex? I would say yes. Blending the two worlds and the paranormal part of it was complex. There wasn’t an ounce of real events. No, it’s all the way fiction.
The Clockmaker has garnered rave reviews and you are a writer not sitting on its laurel with the coming of part 2. What can readers expect and do you get conscious of huge expectations on your shoulders?
Thanks. Yes, now working on the second book of the series and it will be a standalone novelette. It will hit the stands and brace for August 2019 release.
Your career boasts of an interesting and diverse choice of themes such as Shamshuddin’s Grave, and Grow Up Messy, not to forget The Time Piece a preview, as a prelude to The Clockmaker, which seems that this theme is very close to your heart. Sometimes writers can be an obsessed lot and did the theme haunt you?
I prefer writing diverse themes. And yes, the story and characters haunt me till I put them on paper or the digital format. Imagine having sleepless nights because I am busy writing another story and the characters wouldn’t let me be at peace.
As a writer, it is very important to write what comes first in mind. Even if it’s a small thing and bugging to no end, you get it down on paper or laptop without wasting time. This I find very helpful. Because then I know what to work on next.
The Clockmaker opens in a terrifying and riveted manner introducing bauji meeting the hooded man, lost in a jungle. The tone is dark yet subdued. Were there different draft options for the opening chapter before choosing this one?
The prelude of a book is very important. It has to be alluring as well as give away what’s inside the book. I don’t make drafts for the scene of my books. But yes I do outline my story. It helps me to navigate from one scene to another serially. So I know what I am expecting in my scene.
Does the second part of The Clockmaker takes off where it ends and will the lovable couple Vicky and Kavya comeback together with Ashish, Lata and grandpa or will take off completely different characters. Any hint on the next outing?
There is no second part. It’s a standalone novel like I mentioned earlier. The next book in the series is spooky and a horror thriller by the name ‘A night @ Achanakmar’.
What is the reason so far very fewer writers are tapping into the theme of supernatural and do you think the market is limited into this genre in India?
Supernatural, paranormal, horror is a very popular theme outside India. However, the concept is being popularized in India as well and am sure we will slowly but surely find a very good reader fanbase.
What is your writing routine like and from where you observe the stories translated into words in your part of India?
I love to write when my world goes to sleep. So it’s late-night mostly. It helps me in other ways too. The best time for horror writing!
I am always inspired to write and draw from real-life incidents. In the case of Shamshuddin’s Grave, the story was inspired by a newspaper article. ‘Grow Up Messy!’ was inspired by the life of the early eighties narrated through the eyes of a child. The Clockmaker’s muse was my recent visit to a saree shop. And the list goes on!
Stillness at night’s crepuscule! Loneliness is beauty. Companionship and peace fulfilled in a sleepless city where hope stands unshaken, Dotted stars and chasing flies sitting on the parapet. The divine and majestic beauty surrounding the Queen’s Necklace engulfed my soul. Romanticism of couplet manifesting in an influx mind, pretty much like the populace. Dreams are bred in Maximum City.
Tinsel hope. I strode at slow pace. Gentle breeze simpered and traversing oceans. Throwing tiny pebbles into the water. Embracing the wind and thrusting arms wide open, holding the city tight. Love is the only constant. Unquenched thirst is liberating and completes the lost individual. Flawless moon, a flick of charm for the battered, victorious, unsung heroes and newbies. The city takes everyone in its womb. Mumbra Devi, Mumbai City!
A fascinating and routine night tale. A vagabond caught in its own world and a reverie unshattered by love interest, heartbreaks and unquenched thirst of romance yet I flirted every night with the city when chaos reigned supreme. An ever-moving tale knotted and what it took was a simple leap of faith crossing seas, intermingling with beads and sweat in the madness, constantly on the edge and cherishing self companionship.
Madness of falling in love, tasting the forbidden fruit where some call it need! Love was ultimately going to happen and perhaps the subconscious mind prayed to the tiny stars, the speckle ensconced in the sea, flowing and conjuring surprises. Ultimate break up and sob stories of unrequited love adorn the Mumbai days, stripping love of the necklace at night.
Tonga ride and horse trotted at snail pace. Lovers’ stealing a moment inside the nest. My eyes darted and roved at the impossibilities on Marine Drive where not a single reason exists for maximum happiness. A child’s somersault and regaling the audience to quench hunger! How many empty stomachs! Perhaps, no damn is given. Night roaming. I have the skies, stars and vastness of the sea for company. My senses are excited and belonging to the towering city offering mirage and realism in unequal…the undisputed crowned Queen surrounded by the horde of admirers, the bevy of people residing in the city. I lit a cigarette and crossed the road hastily, walking back to sleep. The train whistles and honking still enraptures the mind.