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A new voice

Kanishk Tharoor Photo R. Ravindran.   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN;R_RAVINDRAN - R_Ravindran

His mastery over subjects like politics and culture is too well known to narrate. And now Kanishk Tharoor has embarked on a journey to explore the world of fiction writing with the launch of his book of short stories “Swimmer Among The Stars: Stories”.

The launch at the India Habitat Centre recently saw his father Shashi, wife Amanda and distinguished guests from the field of literature.

Speaking matter of factly, the author said, “The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me – getting married and my book being released. It has been very exciting.”

Commenting on writing while in conversation with translator Arunava Sinha, he stated, “It is something which comes naturally to me. I have always loved fiction and this made me start writing early. I wrote my first work of fiction when I was a child and it was named ‘Sir Kanishk and the magic lamp’.”

Born and raised in a polyglot family made him realise the importance of languages. This also influenced him to write stories of “Swimmer Among The Stars: Stories”.

The two hours of the evening were spent with Kanishk reading excerpts from his stories and answering questions from the audience.

Asked why he started his writing career with short stories and not novels, he said, “I am, in fact in the process of writing a novel. Also, even though short stories do have different challenges than novels, a short story allows the kind of playful freedom that a novel sometimes does not.”

The launch also saw the author getting surprised when he discovered that his story, “Elephant at Sea” had some traces of reality. A man from the audience while introducing himself as the head of operations of the Cochin Port, said, “We have a beautiful painting at the port, which shows the elephant being put on the ship.

The ropes were tied around it and it was lifted to about 60ft high. This painting attracts a sizeable crowd for its uniqueness.” He asked Kanishk to come and see the genesis of his story.

To this, Kanishk replied that he felt all of this was surreal and that he was shivering from this revelation. “To have my story go out to the world and come back to me is a wonderful feeling.”

One can bask in Kanishk’s creativity while reading the book as most of his short stories have a tinge of his own experiences.

‘Elephant at sea’ has been developed from a story his father’s friend narrated to him as a child, ‘Swimmer Among The Stars’ from his fondness for languages and ‘The Tale of the Teahouse’ was inspired from a Soviet film.

The evening had light hearted banter as well when Arunava asked Kanishk, “You are sure you wrote the story, aren’t you?” as Kanishk also has a younger brother, Ishaan Tharoor, who also has flair for writing.

Arunava said he was shocked to read such profound writing from such a young man.

“Why aren’t you a rebel? You’re 31, you shouldn’t write so wisely, it doesn’t suit your age!”

Arunava also described him as “a Faulkner among the sea of Hemingways” (a similarity to the book’s title, “Swimmer Among

The Stars: Stories”) as Hemingway was assertive whereas Faulkner was aloof and humble in his writings. And that, Kanishk proved in the evening that he surely was.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 12:41:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/A-new-voice/article14014065.ece

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