AN ODE TO WOMANHOOD
The inaugural session of Kalam Amritsar opened on June 7 with Pratyaksha Sinha, who is a well-known name in Indian women’s writing. Known to explore the complex and intense emotions of women through her poetry and fiction, Sinha discussed her latest book, Barish Gar (Rainmaker) in a lively conversation with Preeti Gill, Ehsaas Woman of Amritsar, and a literary agent and writer herself. The Prabha Khaitan Foundation launched its flagship Hindi program at the Taj Swarna, the Foundation’s partner in the Holy City.
Sinha, who works as a manager with the Power Grid Corporation, calls herself a ‘weekend writer’ and said that she pens down her experiences and thoughts to find a break from professional monotony. The conversation touched upon many aspects, ranging from Pratyaksha’s style of writing, the body of work, her new book, to the importance of translation, her relationship with her publishers, and the critical role of a literary agent. Talking about Barish Gar, which revolves around the lives of three women, Sinha told the audience, “We, as individuals, are isolated in a way, even when we are trying to merge exterior selves with the on-goings of life. It is about the challenges of life and how we get back to it with hope and positivity.” Sinha said that she took her time while writing Barish Gar. “I wrote it over a period of ten days and left writing the book for almost six months. At one point, I did feel that such a long interval in writing a single book is not good,” she said. “It is the story of three women and revolves around a house. The book has many characters, a home, its walls, and the women - the widow Iravati and her two daughters, Saran and Deeva. Then, there is also a tenant, who is one of the key characters in the story,” Sinha told the audience in Amritsar, throwing light upon the novel. On the use of the Hindi language, Sinha said, “With the emergence of English as the language of economy and market, regional languages have got overshadowed. English is labeled elite while other languages of the land struggle. But things seem to be getting better for regional languages as blogs, social media platforms for independent writers have opened up. Every regional language has to be nurtured and it has to reach people. We need to celebrate our native languages,” she added. Recipient of the Sonbhadra Katha Samman in 2011, Sinha has two published works, both compilation of short stories - Jungle Ka Jadoo Til Til and Pahar Dopahar Thumri. Her works have also been translated in Norwegian, one among very few writers in India who has such works to her credit. She is also working towards making her readers familiar with several variations in Hindi, which she says is the essence of any language.