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Meeting Amitav Ghosh

Malabi Das, one of the nine mid-day readers who participated in a Meet the Author contest held by the newspaper, won her a chance to interact with Amitav Ghosh yesterday. She narrates the experience

The Ibis trilogy is complete; the Flood of Fire is on the stands; and, I am going to meet Amitav Ghosh! I could hardly believe it. And, there I was shaking hands with him; sharing a table with a bunch of very informed fans of the celebrated author.

Readers listen to Amitav Ghosh with rapt attention as he answers their questions
Readers listen to Amitav Ghosh with rapt attention as he answers their questions  

I went to the reader's session with Amitav without any expectation, but I came out smiling like a cat who got the cream. Did you know that Amitav Ghosh writes his first draft with a pencil on a sketch pad and the second draft with pen on ruled paper? And that he probably writes 30-40 drafts by the time his novel was done?

In the warm, friendly atmosphere of the Business Centre at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Ghosh let us peep into his world — the world of Zachary Reid, Havildar Kesari, Shireen Modi, and Neel. So, how did he go about completing this colossal project — how did he handle the enormous historical data and weave it into these amazing works of fiction?

"Writing is like mediation. Every morning I sit on my writing desk and let my mind calm down, till it is like still water, and then I start to write," explains Amitav.

Now that the Ibis trilogy is complete what can we expect from Amitav's desk next? It may not be another work of fiction for some time, but we can look forward to some non-fiction that he is currently working on. I must admit, I like his non-fiction as much as I enjoy his works of fiction.

Thank you, mid-day! Signing off to return to my autographed copy of Flood of Fire (I am abandoning my copy on Kindle in favour of the hardbound courtesy, mid-day and Penguin Random House.)

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