Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Losses and gains of life


Reportage of Diplomat Pavan Varma's foray into fiction.
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Death. Much as we know that we are born to die one day, we hope that the “one day” is in someone else’s fate and not ours... and, when we realise that we are living on borrowed time, we lose all our bearings. Death or rather how to deal with death is the premise of Indian diplomat and writer, Pavan Varma’s first fiction, When Loss is Gain which is published by Rain Tree, an imprint of the Rupa Publications. The book was launched in Pune recently.
Referring to the theme, Varma says, “It’s when the finality knocks at your door that you suddenly realise that all these years, months and days, you have been engulfed by the minutiae of life, tyranny of the trivia and fail to see the benediction of the feeling of just being alive. In other words, the book asks us how we treat our life.”
The fiction is set in Delhi and Bhutan, where the capital and the nation state are the metaphors for Hinduism and Buddhism.
Having lived in Delhi and now serving in Bhutan as the Indian Ambassador, Varma says, he has had the opportunity to observe the religions and philosophy of the two countries. “Hinduism represents joy, embracing life, while the key word in Buddhism is Dukha or sorrow. The protagonists, Anand, a Delhi-based lawyer stands for joy, while Tara, who is on the verge of renouncing her life reflects the Buddhist thought,” says the author of 16 non-fiction books.
The dialogue between Anand and Tara, interfaced with desire, overlap the dialogue between India and Bhutan. The core is highlighted through Sufism as the book has plenty of couplets written by Mirza Ghalib and Bulle Shah.
Calling it a fast-paced narrative, Varma says, that the book is about each one of us — how we look at life and how concepts like death, life, joy and sorrow are relative and redemptive. What is loss for us could be gain for others...

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