Thursday, 10 October 2013

A look in the mirror

I've been brought up on a diet of English and American Writing. I first read Indian writing in English in my late teens, loved some of it, found the rest quite pedestrian. But this is not about the quality of English or American or Indian writing.

As I make my first, tentative attempts at story telling, I've realised what this extremely western diet of literature has done to me. It's made me feel unnatural about using Indian names in my stories. At the same time, I feel false if I try to situate a story in any place but India. Do you see the dichotomy there?

More than the dichotomy though, I felt a gut wrenching sadness when I realised this. I like to think of myself as sufficiently over the colonial hangover. Of not looking up blindly to the west, of being sufficiently appreciative and proud of my culture. And here I am, fighting in my mind over what name sounds more attractive! This is what a lifetime of exposure can do to you. 

I am left with a sense of envy for authors like Murakami and Pamuk, who write in their own language and yet connect with audiences across the world.

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