Sunday, March 15, 2009

Six to nine at Albert’s 1589

His success in inspiring not his books

Daman Singh

Six to nine at Albert’s 1589

The Pink City is flaunting a different hue these days. It’s the hue of black on white and comes hardbound or in paperback. The heritage city is transforming into a major literary hub with literature festivals, reading sessions and book launches happening in quick succession.

The latest in line was the reading session on Sunday of the book Nine by Nine written by none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Second daughter Daman Singh. “Nine by nine is a nostalgic story of emotions, love and memories of hostel life. I always wanted to write a novel like this,” says Singh. The author was in conversation with mita kapur, CEO, Siyahi, at Albert’s 1589 where the meet was organized jointly by siyahi and Harper Collins India.

The interesting title of the book was picked by the author from the book itself. “After considering about 30-40 titles I just picked up this one from the book because it (‘Nine by Nine’) is the dimension of a room in hostel,” smiles Singh

The book is a tale of the lives and friendship of three girls Anjali, Paro and Tara who stay together in a hostel. “I was quite drawn towards the character of Tara and I had to make myself think objectively about the other two, It’s the personal life that provides a framework and to build upon,” says Singh.

Despite being a book on hostel life it was not inspired by Chetan Bhagat in any way. “His success is inspiring, not his books,” says Singh, adding, “Bhagat created a readership that didn’t exist, which is a very good thing. The concept of literary fiction holds no water. Popular fiction written well is just as good. There is place for all sorts of books and readers.” With the first novel out, Singh has started work on second. “The second is absolutely different from the first one. It is a story of father-son relationship,” she says.

It compels one to think what it is like being the PM’s daughter and Singh smiles at the question. “Unlike the popular notion, being the PM’s daughter does not change your life drastically, except for the security bit. My father has a sharp line dividing the personal and the official. Most official work is done outside and it’s a very unofficial house-hold,” she ends.

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