Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Tragedy helped me become a writer"

An experience with pain allows me to understand how other people are feeling

Aatish Taseer is a British-born writer and freelance journalist. The son of newspaper columnist Tavleen Singh and the assassinated former governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, Salman Taseer, he grew up in New Delhi. Holding strong views on political heirs — be it in India or Pakistan — he says: "It's very bad and an attack on talent, hard work and merit." Aatish feels people are disappointed when the society rewards a person's family connections and class. "If that's the reason why people can hold high positions, it will ruin the environment," he says. His debut book, memoir-travelogue, Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands, published at the age of 29, was an insight into his uneasy relationship with his late father. Aatish's novel, The Temple Goers was the story of an individual trying to discover himself. Noon (Harper Collins), launched recently, is about a young man who grows up trying to create an identity that transcends the one divided across India and Pakistan.
The author speaks to Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

You wrote in Noon: "The gaps in my life were too many, the threads too few." Was this an inference to your personal life?
No in that the narrator is speaking. But yes, somebody in England also said to me recently that the way my book is structured, it is as if it's the shape of the way people's lives have started to look — with a lot of fracture, disruption and upheaval.
My life has certainly some of that element in it. But it could be true of me as to many more people.

How much of Noon is fact and what percentage is fiction?
It's hard to say that, because there are always characters, models and situations, which become the origin and give you the idea for a story. But the resemblances to my life are mainly superficial. The resemblance — this half Pakistani and half Indian narrative — makes people think that it is for real. It's not. For the large part it is fictional. There's only a crust of non-fiction.

Full interview here Gulf News

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