Too many things are happening this year. But I just cannot put off writing this blog post any more.
My second book is out, finally after almost a decade. The first one came in 2003 and the time in between was spent writing boat loads of print articles in English and Gujarati with a doctoral thesis on the side that trailed along for six years. I did become a lazy blogger but I promise I’ll make up for it soon…
This Gujarati book titled યુરોપમાં હરતાંફરતાં – Europe through the eyes of a contemporary Gujju girl, is a travelogue of my first two years in Europe [the second part is already in the making for the following two years].
The story behind this book involves some gorgeous corners of Europe, some out of the world experiences with beautiful people and some unexpected snubs from expected publishers before I went to ever bankable Gurjar prakashan. Anyone aware of Gujarati publication industry knows they’re the best there is and I’m glad the project finally went to them.
I opted for the traditional publishing cause no matter how advanced the self-publishing industry has become, Gujarati readers and the marketing channels are yet to experience that revolution. Gujjus travel a lot and they are not known for being great readers, they do love to see the world, gush about their experiences and share it with others. That’s exactly what I’ve done here. It’s not a guidebook [though it can help you figure out your itinerary] it is more of a personal view point and experiences with splashes of fun here and there. If you’ve traveled a lot, wish to travel or just like a light informative read, chances are you’ll enjoy it.
I’m still in Germany and haven’t been able to launch it but the book has launched itself on the store shelves in Gujarati section.
The experience of writing could often be very different from publishing it. I had this content ready since 2009 but one publishing house that I choose for its contemporary attitude turned out to be very lazy and after holding my text hostage for a year, they didn’t bother to reply me. When I forcefully got my text back, they still hadn’t broken open the seal. Oh well, I thought it was time to aim higher without losing hope and I went to Gurjar. The experience turned out better than expected and in spite of my long distance relationship with work, this book finally saw light of the day last week.
Things do get smoother when you have powerhouse of parents but I won’t turn it into a sappy thank you note.
Gujarati literary circle is very much a closed cult where there are very few young faces. I wasn’t very serious about writing in Gujarati earlier as apart from a bunch of respected old writers, hardly any new names were coming in. I love the way Kajal Oza and Jay Vasavada have come up and made a place for themselves. As for the new generation of Gujjus, the fact that many of them cannot read Gujarati sort of frightens me and makes me want to hold on to the language with a really rich tradition. Thankfully, there are more than enough readers out there, they should have more to read which isn’t recycled or translated.
As for this being a travelogue, I’ve my list of favourites ranging from Bill Bryson to Paul Theroux. I also remember reading Ramanlal Shah’s Gujarati tralveogue Passport Ni Pankhe as a kid. I wasn’t intentionally planning to travel and write about it. Kumar Palan brought in a lot of happy changes in life, and instead of changing the course of my writing, he added many new possibilities to them.
I’ve started to believe the best journeys are those that take you to unexpected destinations…
– The book is available in Crossword Ahmedabad and some other book stores across Gujarat and Mumbai, if they don’t have it in stock, they’ll arrange the order if you ask for it.