Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tamarind, Sweet And Sour

This evening the call finally came: that Tamarind City, my portrait of Chennai, is out of the press. A copy should reach me in a day or two, and the book should be hitting the stores in about ten days.

Unlike Chai, Chai, whose draft got transferred straight from my head to the printing press without being subjected to rewriting or even editing, Tamarind City is the result of hard work. One could have always worked harder, of course, but there is no end to it: at some point you have to tell yourself, "OK, this is it. I can't work any harder."

For a year and a half until the end of 2011, I had hardly any social life -- or personal life, for that matter -- to speak of. Almost every waking hour outside the office was spent working on Tamarind City. During these dark months, when I was blind to everything else in this world except the laptop screen, the possibility of my seeing or holding the book in published form seemed remote. Very remote. It would feel as if the book would forever remain a word document on my computer.

Today, that remote possibility has become reality. Tamarind City is no longer an idea in my head: it has finally taken the shape of a book that will reach the bookstores in less than two weeks. Considering all the struggle that went into its writing, I should have been elated when I got the call this evening. But far from it. It doesn't matter anymore.

I have realised by now that if I want to be a writer, my entire life is going to be one long struggle, and that it would be stupid to celebrate the end of one struggle without realising that another round of struggle is waiting round the corner.

At the moment yet another unwritten book is staring me in the face. It's an ambitious book: a portrait of present-day Calcutta. I don't want to spend two years writing it: I will be too old by the time it comes out. At the same time, I cannot afford to spend sufficient time in Calcutta because I now have a job that is going to keep me firmly anchored to Chennai. On top of it, I seem to be enjoying the job, as a result of which I find the sensations of Calcutta fading and the memories blurring.

I am, however, determined to set the Calcutta book rolling before I feel good about the publication of Tamarind City. I find overlaps more assuring than long gaps.

19 comments:

Mom with a Dot said...

Prefer overlaps to long gaps? Hmm Absolutely. I should try it too, anyway, lets see. Oh BTW, Congrats on Tamarind City ! Got carried away thinking about the last line.

Diptakirti Chaudhuri said...

Congratulations... Looking forward to Tamarind City!

Sepiamniac said...

Whoa :) Congrats!!!

Sriram V said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

So, back to the PR exercise for your new book with every post talking about that? This blog is not what it used to be. Mourning the sad demise.

Vinod Ekbote said...

Bishwanath, COngratulations. I am aure it will be a bestseller. Do let me know if there is going to be a launch in Hyderabad.

Nilu said...

Congratulations!!! Looking forward to reading the book.

Vijay Dwivedi said...

Congrats Bishwanath, looking forward to the release.

பத்மா said...

congrats plz let me know of the release function at chennai

Eswar said...

Can't wait to grab my hands on to it

Anonymous said...

congratulations and good luck! looking forward to reading your new book.
e2d

Soumya said...

Congrats...and best wishes :)

Sudeep said...

I remember how it was stuck in the doldrums for a long time, and Rima & I would wonder when the sails would catch wind again. They finally did, and how !!!

In case you have lost track of how long back it started, your publisher still thinks you are with Times. Try: Tamarind City

winding river said...

Biswanath, congratulations...yeah, I know overlap is always better...overlapped two projects and they are out of my 'system' now... thinking of two more...good luck with the Calcutta book...get it done...there is no time like now...and will there be a Tamarind City launch in Biriyani City...?

Jai

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I missed my grandmas Tamarind tree. I used to make Tamarind candies before.


Raquel

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I love the taste of Tamarind candies, a combination of sweet and sour.


Michael

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Mithun K said...

Read the extract of the book at http://www.firstpost.com/living/sex-in-the-city-meeting-indias-no-2-sexologist-322008.html

You have a way with words for sure. I own a copy of Chai, Chai and after reading this extract, I am sure to get one of Tamarind City too!

Sreemathy Mohan said...

Awesome book, Tamarind city. You have covered each and every detail of the city for sure, and it was enjoyable too. Especially, regarding Parthasarathy temple entrance (one for Y, and one for U) - And one more thing, you should have written about "Puliodare" from the same temple (which is unique and they use only pepper and not chilli for seasoning.. For fitting the title of the book!