Friday, March 21, 2014

The Throne Is Vacant

Full bloom in Delhi, mid-March.

The object of my worship lies beyond perception's reach; For men who see, the Kaába is a compass, nothing more. - Mirza Ghalib
He was already 74 when I was born. His most famous book was in its 50s when I read it. And while am still exploring him, he is a dead man at 99. He lived far more than life expectancy in his homeland, India.

The grand old man of Indian literature possessed a writing style which is ageless and timeless. The blunt, upfront and somewhat crude signature of Khushwant Singh was magnetic to people like me, who look for detail but need it to be simple and lucid. Besides his association with legends of bygone era and the experience he accumulated over an illustrious career can't be compensated.

The way he unravels the plots of Train To Pakistan and Delhi : A Novel indicate his skill of observation and ability to describe in an unabashed and unrestrained way. A career which would be envy of anyone interested in literature and people, Khushwant Singh made the best of it.

Born to contractor of Delhi Sardar Sobha Singh, Khushwant had every condition necessary for making of a brat. But he also possessed talent and wit to use his prizes, alongside the formidable challenge of outshining his father, who according to the legend commanded half the land of the city while British were creating New Delhi.

Half decade as resident of New Delhi, he epitomises the most fantastic aspirations one can imagine as well as the complex character of this refugee city. Reaching the upper echelons while maintaining an integrity of absolute order. Earning the luxuries and then consuming them to eloquence are some of the ways to summarise the grand and regal personality that thrived amongst the elite of all types in a central Delhi citadel.

Glad that the newly independent nation had such open minds to document its young years while it saw tremendous turmoils and tasks of building legacies that the future can look up to and care to uphold. While he proved to be a capable heir of legends like Mirza's Ghalib, the standards to meet and uphold have been defined for generations to come. The throne at Delhi is vacant and up for contest...