The best of both worlds

Book Reading

The best of both worlds

The British Library, in association with Toto Funds the Arts, hosted a reading-cum-launch of Randhir Khare’s latest novel, ‘Walking through Fire’ and Athena Kashyap’s first volume of poetry, ‘Crossing Black Waters’ in the City recently.

The evening offered an interesting mix of poetry and fiction. The two authors, who were in conversation with each other, were experts in their own right and clearly passionate about writing. The reading opened with an informal chat between the two authors. Both began reading out interesting excerpts from the book. They read the passages that they particularly liked and had enjoyed writing. 

Athena Kashyap is a young poet, currently based in Bangalore. ‘Crossing Black Waters’ is her first published volume of poetry that was released in the US and India earlier this year. Athena has written about the things that she grew up with and the influences in her life. Talking about her latest collection of poetry, Athena says, “It’s a lot about living in two cultures and reconciling to the different identities.

 The pains of settling into new intellectual spaces is captured in the book.” Athena recollects her growing-up years — her family moving out of Lahore, her stay in the US and reunion in Bangalore. “Also, women and caste and class issues have always interested me,” she adds. She further states that she has juxtaposed her life in Lahore with her experiences after moving to the US. “Mine was a constant process of reinvention and the whole issue of transplanted identities has been recollected,” she says.

Randhir Khare is an award-winning writer, artist and teacher who has published more than 20 volumes of poetry, fiction, translations and non-fictional works. Randhir’s latest book, ‘Walking through Fire’, is inspired by the happenings in his own life. “A lot of people ask me if the book is about my life. I tell them that it is a book that is inspired by the story of my life but one that has been fictionalised.

It is about walking through difficult times and drawing courage from within to move on,” he says and adds, “It is impossible for me to fabricate stories. My latest book is about the events that I have witnessed and the situations that I have grown up in. There are tales of child abuse, children who grow up in a disturbed family environment, religious issues and the impact of coming from a mixed culture,” he explains. 

Those who were present for the book reading say that they were treated to some great prose and poetry. Savitha G says, “I’ve read Randhir before and got to interact with him for the first time. The stories are woven out of his own experiences and that makes all the difference.” Rahul, a young painter, observes, “I love poetry and book readings give you an insight into the writing style. Randhir’s work always has a human touch to it.” 

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