"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our Religion & Bookworm: Revised

Just saw Misbah-ul-haq's final bow at the ICC 20/20 World Cup - poor man - no idea what he was thinking, though. 6 runs from 4 balls. We were so there, before he took that poor risk and bam! Out. Caught from behind. Oh sadness, sadness, sadness.

We can be happy for one thing, however: he singlehandedly turned the match around. Nerves of steel, the commentators said. Well, those nerves had to run out at some point, and sure it was terrible timing, but at least we didn't lose in the humiliating way we could've. So there are things to be pleased about.

That, and the realization that whatever the interim period, cricket remains our religion, where sects and the various divisions play no role whatsoever. It's amazing that a sport can bring people together like that.

In other news, I feel I've done my fellow desi authors a disservice by claiming that their work isn't as minded as it should be, and although I remain adamant in my opinion that it needs to tackle more mainstream dialog to make a greater impact, the work they have done shouldn't be ignored. After all, maybe it's important for us to remember the time of Zia and the East/West Pakistan shift and all the hatred that erupted in those times. That the Land of the Pure was inevitably born from a whole lotta blood. Sure, it doesn't deal with the present, but hey! It's a great way of giving us some measure of closure on the past, right? Right.

In that vein, Trespassing wasn't an altogether bad novel dealing more along the contemporary lines of the Gulf War's impact on the Pakistani population's thought process. 'Twasn't bad, as fictional desi analyses go. At least, we've got mainstream English writers, right?

But enough of this. We need more, damn it and subjects that haven't been touched on, or that people have been too afraid to talk about. There's so much to address - our country's got stories sitting in its veins - good Lord, even the shit it pours out's got a story to tell. Brilliant, eh? The multicultural, multi faceted, multi-colored society of ours needs to be addressed in its fullest capacity, and why must we, by definition write only about one specific city may I ask? To embrace the country, is to embrace it in full, to live it and I think that's one of the things that makes Islamabad a great place to live in - you're sort of removed from the inbuilt narcissisms of other cities - you make impressions on a more open-minded scale, less afraid so to speak, to understand. Of course, this could just be for a subset of people - the same subset that exist in limited minorities in any city of this country of ours. So maybe I'm just babbling? Maybe. It's always a possibility. One of the fundamental things about being a desi writer, is the capacity to babble, and to babble with conviction.

In other news, we've got a little "add-to" story running up on the E-zine forum, which, if all turns out well, we'll incorporate as a combined story effort by several of our members. The history of this lies in the original Internet Kahani begun by one of our moderators, while still at Orkut, in fact among its early and formative days. She began it and asked each of us to contribute a little bit to it, the next post starting off from where the last ended and though it began by a man being chased in the dark, it ended with the man having somehow made it into the desert, with a snake for a companion until finally being bitten by a vampire and being condemned to the undead! It was a great effort by each of us bringing to light the diversity of our skills and styles, and a story rich in both description and imagination was conceived within the few short weeks that it ran. In an effort to bring back that sort of imaginative team work, I've restarted it obviously with a different storyline.

If you're interested to read it, unfortunately it isn't public yet, so you can either wait for December, or you can join us and contribute. It's a fun little exercise.

Anyway, Numb seems languishing in its hole somewhere and if I wait for long enough, it'll disappear from my conscience altogether. But that mustn't happen.

Wish me luck - I may need it.

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