Recognise oral storytellers
Why I Read; Why I write attended by North Eastern writers Jahnavi Barua, Janice Pariat and historian Ramachandra Guha's son Keshava Guha was an exciting event where all three deliberated on the reasons behind their reading habit.
The session talked about how important was oral storytelling which fails to find place anywhere at any literary meets. Coming from a state of oral storytelling, both the NE writers jointly voiced the lack of recognition that oral storytellers get when compared to literary story tellers. The earlier times bedtime stories also form a major chunk of oral storytelling. Oral storytelling exists only when the community is intact.
Assamese writer Jahnavi said she never writes keeping the audience in mind and writing is part of the invincible and intangible mind which is bigger than me. People say they read to reach out to like-minded people but Jahnavi differs on that. " I actually want to reach out to people who think differently to me. "
As Keshava was lucky to be living with books, he was always reading during his childhood days. While reading Keshav gets the happiest relationship in life and he also reads for companionship. "Reading has always been a life to escape into others life and learn about life."
Janice feels Why I listen must also be added as part of the title. Her literary inspirations are people who have never written a book and people who do not know how to read or write. They are the oral storytellers who do not have book shops or any literary meets. How are we going to write about other people if we don't listen to them, Janice asks. I learn how to write from people who know how to tell stories.
The session closed with poet Rose Mary and other regional poets posing questions and sharing their feelings too with the eminent panellists.