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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa

Series:

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 12. Letter to My Grandson

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· 12 ·

LETTER TO MY GRANDSON

Houston, November 2009

Dearest Cambeyses,

I know you have your heart set on joining a U.S. Navy. Admissions to the United States Navy are very competitive and require letters of recommendation from high ranking officials and people in power and this will entail hard work not only by you but also by your family. You are preparing yourself in every way you can: academically, physically and mentally. You have also applied for a job as a counselor in training at the Citadel where you will learn, among other things, leadership skills. Whether you achieve your ambition or not (and I pray you do), the experience will teach you a lot. At eighteen, your life shines ahead of you. To belong to the mightiest army of the mightiest nation in the world is a heady thing; but it carries with it a special responsibility. No matter what direction your life takes, I pray also that you will carry within you compassion and a sense of justice—values so dear to our Zoroastrian faith.

But this is getting way too preachy. Knowing of your interest in science fiction let us instead conjure up a visitor from some advanced planet in outer space. Next, let us imagine how he might report back on us and our view of ← 89 | 90 → creation, were he to descend on earth and land in America. The scenario might...

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