Literature, in our nation, is never given the power that it should be given. I consider those people privileged who were lucky enough to be acquainted with the feel of those yellow pages of a classic piece of art on their fingertips.
Growing up, all I knew that literature was something about the stories that your grandmother tells you when the whole town is out of electricity or when there's a storm raging outside and your family wants to divert your attention so that you won't have nightmares.
Now, I won't deny that folklores are an essential part of literature but, we were never taught that folktales meant something much more than random ghost stories. As soon as we were old enough not to be scared of that raging storm, we stopped craving for those folktales.
I grew up wanting to believe in something, anything but I had nothing to put my entire faith into. I unknowingly fought with my grandfather because I wanted to opt for "arts" after my 10th. Until then, I had no idea what was the meaning of literature. When I first read Shakespeare, I felt something stir within me. But, it was not until I read Hosseini and Arundhati Roy that I realized what literature is for me
I did not fall in love with Classical or Romantic literature, I fell in love with the literature of the countries suffering the same fate as India's. I fell in love with the literature of Hosseini and Rushdie because I live in a world where their hearts reside. I fell in love with the literature of post-colonization because that is the world where I belong to. I fell in love with the literature of my ancestors because their pains and suffering are just way too overwhelming to be overlooked
Tonight, as I lie in my bed, with Rushdie's Shalimar the clown in my hands and as I read and re-read his words "This was peace with more hatred, peace with greater embitterment, peace with deeper mutual contempt" my eyes tear up, these are the tears of agony, desperation, helplessness, tears for those souls who'll never be able to read such masterpieces and mostly, the tears of not being able to read all that is out there in this world, my world, our world,
in this tiny lifetime