4th December 2015, Friday
The third act of the evening was CITIES AND BEYOND, readings from the work of Githa Hariharan that was followed by a discussion with Randhir Khare.
Githa Hariharan has written novels, short fiction and essays over the last three decades. Her highly acclaimed work includes The Thousand Faces of Night which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 1993, the short story collection The Art of Dying, the novels The Ghosts of Vasu Master, When Dreams Travel, In Times of Siege and Fugitive Histories, and her latest book, a collection of essays entitled Almost Home: Cities and Other Places. The literary-travelogue writer Biswanath Ghosh (famous for his book ‘Chai Chai’) was initially slated to appear for the festival in conversation with Githa Hariharan, but could not make it due to unfortunate circumstances.
There was no lack of nostalgia present as the author read several excerpts from her novel, Almost Home.
A deceptively simple question was my starting point. What makes a place home? I mean home in the largest sense of the word – implying a sense of belonging, a sense of having stakes in the place and its collective life. I wanted to take on this question through the real stories of individuals, cities and countries – as they struggle with colonization, or the business of making a new nation, or poverty, or simply the day-to-day businesses of life: making money and love and culture, or being in the crossfire of power struggles. I live in a place where there are multiple stories on any given subject, including home. So I had to figure out how to bring all these together – the stories of searching for a home or juggling multiple homes, the pain and dreams of the homeless or those who have had their homes taken from them.