Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zooming in on small towns

What’s the most famous address in the world? Perhaps the one most people remember (other than their own, of course) is 221B Baker Street, the home of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, though it is fictitious. That’s the power of fiction.

We’ve been to most great cities of the world, along with some fictional ones like Metropolis (Superman’s hometown) and Gotham City (Batman’s abode), through books based in them. Similarly, the world knows more about Mumbai thanks to Slumdog Millionaire and Shantaram. And the theory goes for small towns too, cases in point being R.K. Narayan’s fictitious town of Malgudi in his Malgudi Days and Ruskin Bond’s short stories based in and around the hill town of Mussoorie.

While Narayan and Bond will always remain evergreen, a host of new authors are now revisiting small towns through their writing. Anjum Hasan explores Shillong in Neti Neti, Sarita Mandanna wanders through the coffee plantations of Coorg in Tiger Hills. Many of these authors — a majority of whom are first-timers — admit that it’s easier to base their stories on familiar ground. And where better to start than home?

Mandanna feels it’s all about writing about a place that one can best relate to. “I chose Coorg because it is visually appealing and since I was born and brought up there, I could visualise it really well. Tiger Hills is like an ode to Coorg, my hometown in every sense. When you first write, you always write about something that is close to your heart.”

Full report here Deccan Chronicle

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