My Personal Chat With : Author Kamlesh Chauhan
Q. Ms Kamlesh what is it that convinces you that your book should be reviewed? Why should people be interested in reading your book?
K. I have lived in this beautiful country for …….years and have done my best to keenly observe the culture here. I have particularly noticed the clash of American and Indian culture. Most people in India aspire to migrate to America or to some other western country. The life here as portrayed in Hollywood films or what they have heard about it from NRI's who occasionally visit America and paint very rosy picture of their own life here is mostly misleading. Though human feelings round the globe are similar and akin to each others’, the cultures are miles apart. Any foreigner who comes to America finds another world here and it is almost an uphill task to get adjusted here and assimilated into the western culture. I have attempted to give an idea of the problems the Indians who come here face. This trend is not healthy either for them or for the American society and I have tried to discourage these Indian aspirants to stay back in India and make the most of their life there.
Q. Kamlesh from what you have told me I gather that your main concern in the book has been on the predicament of the migrating Indians. How do you feel the American readers would benefit this book?
K. I wonder if American public has any authentic picture of the NRI’s life as they live here. The younger generation comprising the children born in America has a different perspective of the Indian life and to them India and her culture appear as aliens. I would like to be forgiven for a question that I feel I should ask you as an American. Would you like an American to forget his country and severe roots from the American soil and the countries’ people? Of course the question of loyalty to the country is not involved in our discussion as Indians who have become naturalized citizens of the country are as much loyal as any Native American and are advancing the excellent image of America. There are NRI's who have key posts in many governmental and other organizations. Similarly no American would betray his country’s interests. But I am convinced people in both countries need authentic information so that international understanding and peace could be augmented.
Q. Do you think your book would meet the expectations of the American readers?
K. Yes and also to some extent no. The tastes of reader everywhere differ. I feel thrillers and crime fiction has a large readership and novels on social themes don't have that large readership. But still a big section of the society seeks novels on social themes. Books like the mine would be welcome in libraries and teaching institutions if they are in English. But the NRI's would certainly benefit from the book as the nuances of English or American English are not fully comprehensible to most of them. But there are Native Americans too who know Hindi and would welcome the book.
Q.Kamlesh, do you mean to say that NRI's expect the American media to carry news, reviews etc. about India and activities associated with Indians?
K. Yes I do. Indian papers are not readily available here. In most cases they reach the readers a few days later. Naturally the American papers should include material concerning Indians who reside in America in a sizable number.
Q. Mr….There is a flood of new writers and all want their books to be published, more to earn money than any other concern. They have very poor knowledge of Hindi literature or literature in general. if every book is published, the publisher can't even recover the money he would invest in promoting it. How then do you think Saat Samunder Paar would find readership?
PR. Books are written and rejected outright without even as much as a glance at their title. Books only of known writers are published and advertised for. Once the reading public becomes familiar with their names, every book they publish is sold. But let us not forget that every one was a first timer and fame comes later. Hence it is for the media to come forward and encourage promising works that a message and also afford some hours of relaxation. Saat Samunder Paar is a book with message for the Indians who inspire to migrate to Western countries in treasure hunt dreaming of Utopia and are very soon disillusioned and frustrated. They are given a morphed picture of the life NRIs have in the west as they shy away from confessing their miserable existence there. The book is an eye opener for them.
Q. You mean to say that only the people who intend to migrate would benefit from the book?
PR. Yes and in addition I would like to say that the book deals with a powerful social theme that is of universal interest. It has a web of human relations we find in our day to day life and has a universal appeal. The general public would find this book very interesting. The author has observed life from the perspective of a true Indian who shares the joys and sorrows of the people of Indian origin and would like her compatriots to avoid the pitfalls of western life. The style is so simple and yet it gives a very good picture of the suffering of the women who were victims of circumstances to go to America and were destined to suffer there. Theirs was a journey of no return. Besides certain aspects of literature and art have to be subjectively appreciated and can't exactly be described in words.