Friday, 20 November 2020

Write About Things That You Know the Best: Navtej Sarna


By 121 News

Chandigarh Nov. 20, 2020:-Write about the things that you know the best was the advice from the career diplomat and celebrated author Navtej Sarna in the session on 'Tracing Footsteps" with Cauvery Madhavan as his copanelist.

Moderated by Col Ashvin Sharma, Navtej Sarna and Cauvery shared their travels, experiences, and life's learnings in the session.

Recalling his encounter as a young man in a book launch with veteran writer Mulk Raj Anand whom he asked for advice to write, who told him to write about himself.  If you can't write about yourself how would you write about others, Mulk Raj Anand had advised him.

Cauvery who lives in Ireland and is the author of 'Tainted' and many other books said that reading anything and everything is essential who wants to get into writing, and in so far as the subjects are concerned they are all around us.

Navtej Sarna shared the research and the work that went into writing about Maharaja Ranjit Singh's son Dalip Singh in his heart-wrenching book 'The Exile" which has been fictionalized in so far as the narrative is concerned to bring in the emotional and psychological aspect of Dalip's life, but dates, and other facts are real and even conversation is based on the letters that he wrote.

He informed that he is working on his next book which is another historical fiction around the time when Jallianwala Bagh massacre happened but there were other social cultural changes happening in Punjab that form the backdrop of the novel.

Cauvery talked about 'Tainted' the fictionalized story of the Irish soldiers in her book, who were in Punjab a hundred year back and who rose in mutiny against the British at that time, and the aftermath of the Irish nationals left behind.

The Indian version would be released next month or so in India, she informed.

Session on 'Pain and Pride' focused on the political and socio-economic situation in Punjab including the riots of 84 which continue to form the backdrop of writings of Bangalore based author Amandeep Sandhu and another author and US based podcaster Sarbpreet Singh and bringing out the turmoil of the generation that went through some trying times, including farmer suicides, drug abuse, casteism, and social injustice.

"To be Likeable and to be Happy" focused on the younger generation and their extensive engagement with social media.  Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava author of her debut book, "
Stoned, Shamed, Depressed- An Explosive Account of the Secret Lives of India's Urban Teens", joined from Dubai, along with tv producer, author, creative director from Mumbai, Naomi Dutta, moderated by motivational speaker and author Vivek Atray.

Jyotsna lamented the distressing situation of social media dictating the lives of the younger generations lives, leaving them confused and for them right or wrong is irrelevant since they want to be socially acceptable and be seen as successful whether it is any competition or getting through the class. Each one of them are fighting for identity amongst their peers.

Naomi Datta said with tongue in cheek remark said that 2020 is the perfect year to be a 'potato', which her book is all about and said, people are seeking validation from others in this 'weird bubble' that people are creating around themselves.

The panelists regretted that the millenia is missing out the realities of life, and are least concerned about the right or the wrong way of doing things except that they are focused on getting results by hook or crook. 

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