Upamanyu English, August Chatterjee is a stressed man these days. No, not a writer’s block, what has hit him is the change of guard at Rashtrapati Bhavan. His duties as joint secretary (training) in the ministry of defence also include looking after ‘ceremonials’, that is, making sure big events like the Republic Day (you will never spot him at the Jaipur Litfest, from Jan 24 to 28), Independence Day, change of presidents etc pass off without any glitch. So when Pranab Mukherjee takes over from Pratibha Patil amidst pomp and show, the MoD team will have to make sure the horses’ ‘bun-bags’ are there in place to catch their poo.
After his autobiography (excerpted in Outlook last week), veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, 89, will be writing his first novel, a work of political fiction, that too in Punjabi. But he is from Sialkot in Pakistan and grew up studying in Urdu. He can speak Punjabi but not write in Gurmukhi. So, he is dictating the novel to a typist who is writing it on a Gurmukhi keyboard. It can be roughly translated as Why Can’t I See The Darkness?, and will deal with real events like the 1984 riots and the Gujarat carnage. Mr Nayar promises the novel will be out by the end of the year.
Journalist Nisha Susan is on to an interesting book project—the Malayali nurse. It’s a subject most of us, whether we live in Srinagar or Srirangapattinam, have encountered, but it’s never been properly documented. In fact, the ‘sister’ is quite ubiquitous even in the US or UAE. Susan is working on how this came about, how they spread, and of course the hardships they face.