Cruising in the literary winds

Saira Mujtaba

It is often said in jest about Lucknow, that one finds either a writer or a poet every time one kicks a stone lying in the path. Indeed the air of Lucknow is imbued with a literary fragrance and “yeh Lucknow ki sarzameen” continues to churn out litterateurs par excellence.

Monika Pant is one of the few contemporary writers in English Language who are carrying forward the literary torch that was once held by the likes of Attia Hosain, who showed that it wasn’t just in Urdu, but writers of this adabi shehar-e-lucknow have shown their mettle in the English Language as well.

Monika Pant has penned two titles recently. One is an inspiring and moving memoir while the other is a novel that truly reflects the angst of Young India.

Echoes from the Vortex published by Authorspress India, is Monika’s personal account of the days when she was battling with cancer. An illness that can often make people despairing; Monika drew strength from the simple pleasures of life and helped her in conquering the battle. Echoes from the Vortex is different from other such memoirs as it is in the form of diary entries, which Monika wrote while she was going through her experiences with life in that testing phase. Also, the entries are coupled with Monika’s poems that touch the heart with their simplicity and purity of emotions.

“My husband was my first reader who suggested me to publish it as it is, in the form of diary entries,” says Monika, who believes that no one else can imagine what is it like to be in the shoes of a person who is going through the traumatic experience. “At that time I got inspiration from a fellow teacher who had gone through something herself. At that time she talked to me…you really cannot listen to people who haven’t gone through that experience. When others tried to preach then I used to say in my head – “What do you know what is it like?” adds Monika.

Echoes from the Vortex will surely make you appreciate the smallest of things that every brand new day offers us.

Monika’s second title, Caught in Two Winds published by LiFi Publications is a novel that “explores almost all facets of growing up in the 21st century and where two cultures clash- an old world one and the other snazzy, snap-it-up one in the metros. In the midst of flux is a still centre, call it loneliness orself-realization.” While her first book was a catharsis, Caught in Two Winds is “her baby” in her own words. “I wanted to reach out to the young adults, the angst of the younger generation,” says Monika. The title itself suggests the conflict of minds- a conflict between tradition and the glitter of the world. “Caught in Two Winds is not just Shayoni’s or Sushant’s or Rahul’s story. It’s a story I could very well relate to,”says Mansi, a young visitor at the recently concluded Delhi Book Fair in the capital.

When asked to choose between fiction and non-fiction, Monika smiles and signs off by saying, “Fiction is way higher than non- fiction. It’s a creation. Character banta
hai…bigadta hai…then it comes on paper.”

Related Posts