Friday 30 October 2009
On cloud 9!
OK so I'm floating in the air!!! There is a spring in my step and a smile on my face! And one of the reasons is a mail I wrote yesterday to an author I greatly admire. Let me give you a background. As a reader, I am inclined towards fiction. Non-fiction doesnt interest me much. Yet in my list of 4-5 best books read till date, there features a non-fiction book called "The City of Djinns" by William Dalrymple. It is a tribute to this city I love and cherish - Delhi. William came to Delhi with his wife in 1989 to write this book but the warmth of the city enveloped him such that he could never leave and settled right here. When I was on his website yesterday, I thought as a writer, I love it when people come and tell me what they liked in my work. So, I decided to write to him and do the same. Here is what it said:
I am quite certain that you get enough and more fan mail which makes me doubt that this mail will reach you. Nevertheless, there have been very few books which have made an impact on me like The City of Djinns did and as a writer myself, I felt its best to let you know that.
Born and brought up in Delhi, I have affection for the city that is difficult to understand or explain. Besides being a literary masterpiece in terms of the art of the language, the love that you have for the city reaches out from the book and grabs the reader. It is difficult for even the hardest of cynics not to soften when you whisper about the alleys of this city and the secrets it shares. The book is not a string of words but rather like an old woven quilt which is patched together with colorful pieces, each unique in its own way and yet collectively stunning.
It is strange that it sometimes takes someone from outside (though you have now lived here much longer than most of us) to rediscover the beauty of a city. Shantaram did the same for Mumbai though in a manner which was more about getting under the skin of the city. The City of Djinns unveils Delhi in a fashion which is elegant and almost ceremonial, layer by layer.
The book besides having a constant place on my bookshelf is also my favourite thing to gift to people I am close to. So that they can better understand a city which is so close to my heart.
Thank you for writing it.
I thought that was the end of it, untill 2 hours later, I saw in my inbox - A REPLY FROM WILLIAM DALRYMPLE!!!!!!!!!!
Ah thanks Harnoor: what a sweet letter! Love to know what you'd make of my latest: Nine Lives, the only book I've written with no mention of Delhi!
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