Friday, 21 September 2012

Not So Nervous Nineties

(The following post has been written in first person.)

I was waiting for that black Dio to enter my building. Tuffy came. He parked his vehicle. Pulled up the seat and took out a Crossword plastic cover from the compartment. After a brief chat, he handed me the cover.

He left.

I took off the book. Khushwant Singh's face was all over the cover. Absolute Khushwant was the title. I just had Train to Pakistan in my mind which unfortunately I've never read.

Once I started reading the book, I realised the amazing human being he is. Never have I read a person write extensively about the partition and proclaiming his love for Pakistan but being a truly patriotic Indian at the same time. It wasn’t just reading the book but knowing who this nonagenarian was. It was about knowing who Khushwant Singh is. I have seen many joke books written by him in the school library. Never have I tried to read them.

He fuming on the various riots which happened in India reminded me of my Godmother Arundhati Roy. Their stark criticism and undaunting courage startles me.

The way Khushwant Singh openly talks about sex indeed took me aback. He has written a few books on sex but it shows the immense respect he has for them. He still goes to meet them.

He is 97. Nor is he underrated neither overrated. He is amongst the few writers in India who has got his due. He has a fetish towards Urdu literature and excerpts from them can be seen in his life.

He isn’t a great writer just like he confesses but an honest human being. Sadly as per this article (http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=122512) he won’t be writing anymore. I pity myself to have started reading him this late.

Let’s hope the dirty old man of Indian Journalism keeps writing. Some Sardars are hardworking, some head the government but some form into one formidable man. Khushwant Singh.

P.S. With inputs from Tushar Kathuria.

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