Friday, July 04, 2014

At the launch of Pankaj Sekhsaria’s The Last Wave’

There isn’t a day when at least one memory of my stay at Andamans doesn’t surface in my mind. One day it is the memory of the two nights I spent at the resort at Kalipur, all alone in that large guest house, listening to the sound of the furious wind blowing all night, going to the beach early in the morning and watching a fisherman walking over the rocks that had been exposed at low tide, another day it is the memory of watching the wisps of clouds hovering over the densely forested mountains on the way to Mayabunder through the windows of the bus, and the clear sea at Port Blair. I can never forget that trip, and the three months I spent there though it is more than eight years that I have been there.

But it wasn’t until after I returned from Port Blair that I came to know Pankaj Sekhsaria. I read his passionate articles on conservation of wildlife, our nature, and the damage that is being done in the name of development in The Hindu. Since I had been in the Andaman islands and had fallen in love with the place I followed Pankaj Sekhsaria’s articles on the Andaman Trunk Road and other issues avidly. Much later I got in touch with him in Hyderabad. I found him humble and down to earth. I remember he had told me about the novel that he was working on but I did not ask him what it was all about. When he announced on Facebook the launch of his novel at Hyderabad in the last week of June, I instantly decided to attend the event.
Last Friday evening I was at Goethe Zentrum for the launch. There was a small crowd but there was no one from the usual crowd I see at book launches. Gita Ramaswamy launched the book and Usha Raman talked with Pankaj about the novel. It was interesting to listen to Pankaj talk about his experiences while working on the novel and the ambiguities he experienced while writing about the Jarawas and the way they were being exploited. Some of the incidents he narrated about the local people in Andamans treated the Jarawa women enraged me. I also feel strongly about conservation, and since I had been to the Andamans the novel would be interesting to read. I bought a copy and had it signed by the author. Sometime soon I will read it and also maybe do a review here on the blog.



thnks Vinod and it was really nice to see you at the book launch the other day. I hope you do like the book too and I look forward to discussing it with you once you are 'done' with it. Pankaj

Vinod Ekbote said...

Will do, Pankaj.