I have a full pot of coffee and a keyboard. It’s time to talk about… India.
In 2007 I lived in India for six months. It was a part of grad school. There were certain things that were supposed to happen, and many things that did. I had several book ideas around that time, but I never felt quite like it was time to write about the place.
You see, the subcontinent and I – we have a complex relationship. How else could it be? India is incredibly complex – incredibly nuanced. A country with such varied languages and religions is necessarily complex. And I have all the corresponding feelings.
I am lonely, crowded, dirty, divine, beautiful, sad, angry, excited, curious, and enamored all at once.
My time there was challenging.
It is more than one book.
Any single experience could be a novella, if not a full-length novel.
So what’s changed? Time. Perspective. Self. It would seem it is finally time to talk about everything there. And I feel ambivalent about this book, moreso than my memoir.
I feel ambivalent because of the political situation there – how writers are treated. I feel ambivalent about the strange mixture of peace and violence, freedom and censure. I have no idea what will be in this novel (okay, I have an idea…) but part of me recognizes the very real possibility that I will piss someone off. I may never be able to return.
Seven years ago I didn’t want to. Now I don’t know.
Of course this is all speculation. The book isn’t written. I have no idea how it will be received – by anyone. I have no idea what it will be like. I mean, it is an expat story. Expat stories may be dark where native ones may not. And in a place that feels so different from WASPy America, with an outside perspective, I have an opportunity to talk about both places, highlighting the pitfalls and glories of each.
Let’s hope I do them justice.
With love and coffee,
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