With mystery, adventure and philosophy all rolled into one, Anuradha Majumdar’s “Infinity Papers” is an interesting read for young adults

In our childhood we all have read stories about inquisitive, intelligent and courageous children solving a mystery or a crime. In many of these, they were accompanied by a pet contributing equally in the solving the riddle. In the same vein, Anuradha Majumdar’s latest novel “Infinity Papers” traces the journey of three young children — Marina, Gautam and Tenzin — and a parrot named Spark to the lost land known as ‘Infinity’ which promises peace and beauty. In the process they have to counter the evil designs of a corporate bent on world domination.

Anuradha, an English literature graduate from Kolkata, is a trained dancer and choreographer based in Auroville (City of Dawn). After having contributed short stories and poems for her college magazine, there was a lull in her writing activity when in Auroville she became an active participant in building the experimental township – taking part in construction work, teaching at a school etc.

Trained in Bharatanatyam by Krishna Kumar Reddy, she learnt tai chi and kalari forms too. Dance performances and choreography revived her interest in writing. “Choreography is another form of storytelling but in a more abstract way. I used text and poetry and that connected me to writing,” says the author. Now a full time writer, Anurdha comments, “Dancing…gave me a sense of using language and time, rhythm, cadence, pace and vigour.”

“Life is much stronger than fiction. One reads and hears news, stories and happenings around and it does inspire writing. Though, at times, writing pre-empts events,” adds Anuradha, who has written “Parallel Journeys”, “Refugees from Paradise” and “The God Enchanter”.

Although she never intended to write for young adults, a chance encounter with an amazing owl led her into the genre. “After this I wrote down the synopsis of a trilogy. I got into it completely.” Incidentally the dedication in “Infinity Papers”, which she finished in three years, reads “To the owl in the banyan tree who spoke of freedom.” She zeroed in on the name “Infinity”, the mysterious place in the novel, when she finished the synopsis. “I used infinity as it can mean many levels and layers. It went down well with youngsters and parents.”

Of the three children, two are from south India and one is a Tibetan. The author’s visit to Dharamsala where she saw Tibetans very closely stimulated her to include them in her novel. “Though, we all have read about them here and there, they are not really on the map. Therefore, I decided to bring them into the picture.” This led to the inclusion of Buddhism and its philosophy in the narrative. “Spiritualism and philosophy are innate to India and hence I decided why not incorporate and include these elements.”

Infinity in the novel stands for peace, love, beauty and freedom and these, according to Anuradha, do not come on a platter. “These are not present in the world as certain forces – either political or economic or social or all three – do not allow so.”

How did the idea of including a smart parrot mouthing English, Tamil and Latin words and phrases come about? She explains, “As a child I had a pet parrot who spoke a lot. I also encountered an African grey parrot – a real personality – which spoke nearly 90 words. So the parrot in the novel is an amalgamation of these two birds. The phrases uttered were moulded as I wrote the story.”

Another sequel to the “Infinity Papers” and a book on Auroville by her are in the pipeline. Asked if we can expect more novels featuring the three child protagonists, Anuradha replies “Yes, there is a possibility of writing more stories based on them.”

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