June 24, 2009

In Chicago the weekend before last

Don't quite fit into the narratives of desi writing (and, guess what, one of my panels at Kriti was What If I Don't Want to Write About India) but there was something about being among South Asian writers. Such as discovering I am not quite done being one either. No, I haven't been trying to escape my "culture", but certain modes of writing which it seems "Indian writing" has made a culture out of. Am I less Indian because they are more so? And other such anxieties about forefathers; especially forefathers. My literary heritage - ill-fittingly and not-so-snugly there I stand - after Kolatkar and Jussawala. But what about mothers of my choosing. Or sisters. Or queens. Or gay boys. Or crazy playwrights. Or companions.

All such anxieties are in all such heads, I know. Identities, I told a friend yesterday, are dubious. But isn't it difficult to remember to be cunning and edgy when using identities. Isn't it easy to want to become an identity.

But Amitava Kumar during his Q&A reminded us that we don't have to choose. Audiences - and by extension, meanings. Different meanings can be made on different occasions. Now I sound like this; any other moment, I will revel in sounding a clarion for something else. Then something else.

Don't let that deflate you.

At the Not-India panel we talked about much more.

No comments:

Post a Comment