He wrote 'The room on The Roof" when he was eighteen, I read it when I was the same age. And the bond never withered. I read most of his non fiction , where I knew about his life as a bachelor, his foster family, the way he writes, his likes and dislikes, Dehra of his childhood and mine too. I see Mussoorie from his eyes. I look for the Tehri Road where he could see an ocean in a small stream.
Do I want to meet him personally? Do I want to hug the child in him who had lost his father at the age of 10 and who chose India,the land of his and his father's birth and not England? No, not because I know that he doesn't like to meet the curious visitors who knock at his door now and then, but because what would I talk to him about? That I know someone exactly like uncle Ken. I'm his fan? Would I share with him the moments when while reading his books I'd smiled or was moved and had blurted 'Good", "Ha ha"."Great", "exactly","right" "sahi","he writes so well! "
A writer pours his innermost feelings and sometimes his secrets in his writings. Most of the times we relate to what we read. Then does physical presence matter at all ?
Back from Mussoorie, I woke up early at a guest house in Delhi and stood at the terrace and could see the lovely view of tree tops. Later I visited the hundred year old building of IP College and saw lots of hornbills and scampering squirrels there. I could almost hear Khushwant Singh whispering to me, 'Do you know Delhi is one of the most green captital cities in the world.? Khushwant Singh's coulmns and books I find interesting, informative and full of humour.
I thought of Gulzar also who directed a wonderful TV sereal on Mirza Ghalib, the great urdu poet who lived and died in Delhi.
Last month I was in Uttarkashi. I was sitting on the steps, by the Ganges. Ganga aarti was being sung.Ganga was flowing like a good piece of writing. I thought of a blog I follow.
Then there is the great Tulsidas who wrote Ramcharit Manas. He is always with me since my childhood.Thanks to my father who always preached and sometimes consoled me by quoting some couplet or other from this great epic. Some day, lazy me would finish reading it, though I started it many a times.