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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa


Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Chapter 9. A Puff of Air


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· 9 ·


June 8, 20171

Proust bit into a tiny French tea-cake and reeled in a cache of childhood memories so expansive, it required 900 pages of print to contain them. Very few of us have the capacity to unleash anything as heroic as A Remembrance of Things Past, but epicurean indulgences that recall the moments of childhood bliss still determine the flavors we favor, and retain if not their capacity to transport us to a state of grace, to at least consign us to a satiated torpor that very closely resembles it. My childhood favorites were not candy, but doodh-na-puff (milk froth) and kharya-ni-jelly (sheep-trotter jelly). For some obscure reason doodh-na-puff was a winter delicacy. Mother asserted that the milk had to be exposed to chilly night-dew in order to froth, but the rational remained arbitrary and suspect to me. The milk could, of course, be induced to froth also in summer, provided we drove 7,000 feet up into the Murree Hills. This British-built Himalayan resort, where were rented sundry dangerously listing summer cottages, was cold enough during the monsoons to warrant log-fires. When the right confluence of circumstances prevailed—whether we were down in Lahore in winter or up in the hills in the summer—the gallon pot of sweetened, stir-boiled and thickened milk was placed in an elevated ← 65 | 66 → wire-mesh dolee, and exposed to night-dew beneath the stars. On these occasions, Mother...

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