Sunday, April 3, 2011

Attia Hosain - 2

Finished Sunlight on a Broken Column, late into the night. An indescribable experience of living through the times and the energies of early twentieth century India flowing through her ceaseless story. I immensely admire her. The conventions of the time are pitted against the passion to assert one's individuality, the fledgling new self, and the two clash and intersect and joust wonderfully at every conceivable moment, of happiness, triumph, defeat and despair. It is the storehouse of a historical moment that can never again be retrieved in literature. And the poetry of her passions, the exquisiteness of her flowing words come closer to their Persian and Urdu provenance than anything else depicting that history in English ever can. Even as she renders her world to us in English, I finally find myself confronted with a giant of a mind, a beautiful woman whose luminosity I treasure.

Turning the last page of her novel was like finishing a lifetime, in tears, in smiles and in reminiscences.

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