Frankly I don’t know what to make of Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, I have always considered her to be one of those over rated Indians writing in English. And this time she does fail to keep me interested in a story centered in Kolkata and that too the Tollygunge area. Seems too close to home, too mundane and after about 10 pages I am not really sure why this book was written. It is these kinds of books that make me wonder whether I am being too snooty about writing a book. Somewhere in my mind is a block which says what I write has to be of Universal nature compelling to my readers. However, the current scenario in fiction writing is either sex, fantasy or just plain everyday life and two bit social media fueled philosophy.
I remember my attempts many years ago to write out side my comfort zone. What I did was that I started writing not as the person I was but by stepping into the imaginary shoes of another character who is different from me. What I noticed then, and what has plagued me since then, is my inability to be uniform in my opinions, dialogue as well as thought processes as this other person. My attempts usually ended up looking rather flaky and weightless to me. Especially attempting to write anything beyond my own experiences seemed a difficult task.
But off late I am once again thinking of attempting to be the ring side audience and a narrator in a new story. I would really like to create something new and finish writing a story instead of abandoning it midway because it looks and reads like a silly scribbling of a teenager.
Looking at oneself with too critical an eye can sometimes prove to be a hindrance.
Let’s just say I owe it to the E.L. James, the Sylvia Day, Chetan Bhagat & now Jhumpa Lahiri, to actually sit down and write a story I want to tell and not worry whether the reader will like to read it or not.