Archive for the ‘Sepia Leaves’ Category

Dear Friends,

a few days back Prerna Shah from The Good Story Project got in touch and we did this interview around mental health, writing and Sepia Leaves.

Please read here…

Dear Friends,

late in October, Preeti Gill invited me to participate on a session on Mental Health and Illness titled Let the Light In.  Nirupama Dutt, Gayatri Gill and me discuss mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic with Ravi Singh, Speaking Tiger Books.

Please listen here …

Dear Friends,

thank you for all your wishes for the translation of ‘Sepia Leaves’. As I said in that post, every few weeks there is a new friend reading, talking, commenting, sharing about the book. I feel very satisfied that the book continues to resonate with us.

Here is a new blog I accidentally tumbled upon. Reader Smitha Murthy says, ‘Simple prose, haunting images, and relentless in its portrayal of the author’s beautiful family, ‘Sepia Leaves,’ reminded me of all the sepia-tainted memories of my life. The people, shadows, ghosts, thoughts, scars, words – all brought up in vivid technicolor. This book isn’t perfect. Just like us. And that’s perfect.’

Thank you Smitha.

Please read here …

Dear Friends,

Humbled that we keep talking about Sepia Leaves 13 years after it first appeared. Also, A Book of Light in which the updated Epilogue to Sepia Leaves appeared. In fact, humbled we continue to talk about all these books.

Thank you!

Please read here …

I was pleasantly satisfied by this post on Facebook by my friend, poet Rachana Kulshrestha.

20
May

Sepia Leaves: Reader Comments

   Posted by: aman Tags:

Dear Friends,

on Mother’s Day this year, Jaya Nigam posted her comments on Sepia Leaves. As I said earlier, even 13 years after the book was published, every few weeks I get one or more messages about the book. The book evokes personal memories. It continues to live in the readers’ hearts.

I love it that Jaya has written in a language other than English – the language in which the book is written. Thank you Jaya! My respect to Jaya’s Mausi. May she find peace.

Click image to enlarge.

Dear Friends,

Ms Saba Bashir from Books etc recently invited me to speak on Sepia Leaves. I posted the video on Facebook. It is short, 7.25 minutes long.

Please click here to see …

Dear Friends,

last evening, I made a post on social media on how I feel returning from Bhubaneshwar/Odisha after attending the SOA Literary Festival.

I am thankful to The Samikhsya and Kedar Mishra for carrying my yesterday’s post on my experience. Odisha continues to shower its love upon me. Grateful!

Bahut Bahut Dhonyobaad!

Please read more here …

Dear Friends,

my friend Hema Gopinathan has assessed my book Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines in the context of my earlier works Sepia Leaves and Roll of Honour.

It is interesting to me, as a friend of the author, that Amandeep Sandhu’s latest book is a non-fictional account of the whys of Panjab. His earlier works were autobiographical fiction of his childhood through the lens of mental health and his formative years as a student in a boarding school during the violent insurgency days.

This one, Panjab – Journeys Through Fault Lines, though seemingly a travelogue/ reportage of the ground reality of Panjab, feels like the third part of a trilogy of self-examination as the canvas broadens and the author goes deeper within himself. While the earlier two dug deep into the private, personal surface, it is only logical that the author would not find the encompassing truth in the inner landscape of memories and would have to make the journey to the outer, the land of his foremothers and forefathers.

The book begins with the haunting line, ‘If you want to understand Punjab, be ready to count it’s corpses’. A few millenia ago another man, Vikramaditya went looking to retrieve a corpse, but that was only possible once he answered the corpse’s twenty-four questions. Our wholeness is dependent on the acceptance and integration of all our parts, not just the good but also the dead, decaying bits.

Panjab… examines 16, Satt, Berukhi, Rosh, Rog, Astha, Mardangi, Dawa, Paani, Zameen, Karza, Jaat, Patit, Bardr, Sikhya, Lashaan, Janamdin. The solah anna that make up the kadwa sach of Panjab today.

It’s a searing often disturbing narrative, the author keen on neither sparing himself nor us the readers as he dissects the complex 16 layered wound, each exposing the next.

There is something to be said about the clear dispassionate eye of the critic, standing tall, giving us a sweeping view of all that they think is wrong with the system and how to fix it. The way the British ran a sharp knife right across body of Punjab with the cool eye of a surgeon, in what they thought was the least painful way to bisect a nation, a people.

But this is not that book, for Amandeep is not that writer. While he writes with the clarity of the outsider, he also writes with the longing of a long-lost son returning home to embrace his slightly dented, damaged mother. It is in many ways more a pilgrimage than a travelogue.

The rips and tears across fabric of Punjab match the ones that were etched on his soul by the inter-generational trauma of his ancestors and you watch as he carefully examines and matches the two seams hoping to find answers that would if not heal, provide a voice for himself and a people whose suffering has been ignored from time immemorial.

 

Dear Friends,

I love it when friends and readers respond to Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines. As a gift in the new year, Sheila Kumar responds to the book. Sheila is an old Panjab hand. She was in Panjab in the early 80s. In fact, in Kapurthala, when I was in school there. Thank you! Means a lot!

I open my New Year account of book reviews with a book I read slowly, attentively, absorbing everything it had to give.

Amandeep Sandhu`s PANJAB is many things to many readers.

There are those like me, who was once familiar with the pinds and the jind of what Sandhu calls the outlier state (and you must read the book to know why he does so). For us, the book is an updated ready reckoner, albeit in prose, of how things were and how things are.

Then there are people for whom the state stands for paranthas and lassi, juttis and parandis, bhangra and Lohri bonfires. This is based partly on perception, partly on stereotyped images. The book is an eye-opener for them, debunking several public perceptions and exposing the grim reality. On how bad the drugs situation is, on the ground. On the Land of the Five Waters being severely strapped for clean water. On its various deras (socio-religious organisations), the people who flock to them and the powers that control them. On the Khalistan movement, on Operation Bluestar, the last a sorrowful refrain which the author keeps returning to. On the Dalits of Punjab. And much more.

The past, historical and political, impacts this frontier state like few other states. Sandhu, who is a Sikh, yet stands at one remove from Punjab, trains an impartial but deeply compassionate gaze on all issues concerning the faith and the faithful.

Such an informative read. At the end of it, one wishes to unknow what one has just learned, to go back to dreaming of mustard fields, a boisterous people and a land of plenty. But reality is alas, reality.

A special hat-tip to Orijit Sen’s stark and compelling cover design.

Note: Below the review, look for Sheila’s review and Q&A with me on Sepia Leaves. This is a triple treat. 

Please read more here …