The Remix of Orchid

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Review on The Tribune

The Tribune, Chandigarh has carried a review of my book "The Remix of Orchid" on September 23, 2007 on its weekly supplement "Spectrum". Today I ran into it while I was searching the net. It's a nice review and as a new author I should celebrate. Now let me post here the text besides giving the link.
Fantasy islands
Aditi Garg

The Remix of Orchid
by A.N. Nanda. Pages 350. Rs 250.

The Remix of OrchidIT is no easy job to tread the unknown path. And it is that element of unknown that lends it the mystical spark. A story can be made or marred by the very setting or the locales and the surroundings. The Andaman Islands have only recently come to be associated with beautiful scenic landscapes and multi-starred resorts, but for a really long time they have been connected with dungeons so dreaded that only those sentenced to rigorous imprisonment were to go and toil there for the rest of their lives. To set not one but 23 stories in such a place is indeed commendable.

The premise of the book is the author’s belief that in spite of all the semblance of immutability, something is in the making here. The Remix of Orchid is a versatile collection of stories reflecting an array of human (and spectral) attributes. With a foreword by Ruskin Bond that applauds the writer’s ingenuity, it is a book that doesn’t disappoint. The author has an impressive educational background and has worked as an Indian Postal Services officer at the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It echoes in the insight that he has shown in understanding the local subjects, terrain and climate. The whole book is so cozy in its setting that it could not have been written for another place. He has also written another book of short stories, The Roadshow, and a collection of poems, In Harness.

The path least travelled is often the most enigmatic. The book starts with the emotional tale of a family who has lost their son when he was small and depicts their dilemma when faced with the possibility of accepting an imposter as their own. In a totally different tune is The Salvation, which revolves around a ghost being. His unfinished aspirations keep him tied to the world. Each story seems to be bound by an invisible chain of thoughts that leads the reader to the point of culmination seemingly effortlessly. Most of them revolve around everyday situation, making it even easier to relate to them. Like the woman who has little money to go visit her dying mother evokes empathy in The Golden Trip. Then there is one about the village pundit who has to make the most difficult choices to survive, even doing the work of a scavenger but he takes it all in his stride.

The author time and again puts forth situations and the characters seem to take on a life of their own. The heartbreaking story of Manglu resonates in the mind and you can’t help feeling sorry for him. A hockey team’s rise to stardom seems very attainable after the widely-acclaimed movie Chak De! India.

The book is not without irony and wit. The oft-repeated story of post office bungles takes on a different hue, though he could have refrained from stretching it to the point of referring to the department as ‘Postal God.

The book provides some interesting tidbits as well. There are places named after their distance from the Zero Point, say Forty-Six-Kilometers, which he uses as a setting for one of his stories. After another story he confesses how tempted he was to include something about a tsunami, just to make it sound prophetic. The book fares well though at places the stories tend to get a bit filmy. The author serves a multi-cultural fare that is united by only one common thread, the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Collected by
A. N. Nanda

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Melly's Fascinating Feedback

Melly, as I call her, is a girl of immense talent and profound grasp of things that make life distinct but not drab. Her poems bear testimony to her sensitiveness. Quite often, they have afforded me moments of creative impulse. She is the most beautiful reward that my blogging experience has given me. Her respect for my age made her address me as “Uncle” and I have conveyed my readiness to be addressed as she likes and is comfortable with. “The Remix of Orchid” did not grumble about the distance as I sent a copy to her and her feedback about the book is here.


It is my first time receiving an autographed book or rather my first autographed item. What is it? Obviously the book entitled "The Remix of Orchid" by A.N. Nanda, a writer from India who is very passionate about his work and gladly shares his work with people around the globe. This explains his generosity by delivering his book all the way from India to me, bearing all the cost of delivery himself. As I call him by the title uncle, it shows my respect for him as a writer and a friend in writing, though I am way far behind from where he stands.

The Remix of Orchid is a collection of short stories closely related to the Andamans. One thing that I really like about his stories is that they are not merely fictional as we can relate the stories with our daily life. It is something that we went, going or have seen others going through.

His stories not only make its reader, in this case - myself, pause and take a moment of thought for my life but it feeds the hunger for a good read.

A book that winds the mind of its reader and drive them to reflection is what I call, 'The Power'. How often do you get something short yet leaves a deep feeling in your heart? Quite few to be frank. Yet in this book, you get many shorts with the compliment of deep impactS. What else could you call this but 'The Golden Power'?

Now, this is why I call him Uncle Nanda.

May your book reach out to more and the blessing of writing continue to be with you. This one is for you Uncle Nanda!
A. N. Nanda

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just A Creative Serendipity

Some of my friendly readers have started asking me questions, the recent one being about the remarkable similarity in themes between SRK-enacted "Chak De" (HINDI MOVIE) and my story "Gung-ho Team". This story of mine came earlier than the above film and the so-called similarity could at best be a case of creative serendipity. Yes, they have similarities to the extent that both deal with the theme of revival of the national game hockey and both have happy endings. But, "Gung-ho Team" is about the building of a men's hockey team from a level of utter inexperience to one of winning excellence. Chak De about women's team and its consolidation.

Let me quote here a couple of paragraphs from the story.

"Barla repeated what he did in the first match at pre-quarter stage. In an incredible speed within two minutes of the opening of the match, he took possession of the ball from about the mid-field, swerved himself to the right like a bullfighter in chase, gained a sprinting lead of twenty yards or so, dodged just one challenger near the D and scored a marvellous goal. Munia Pradhan followed the lead. Dribbling the ball beautifully he dissected into opponent's defence and charged deep into its area, just to register his invincible presence in the striking circle. The opponents hiked their pace to a desperate level, reached from all possible sides in their bid to block Munia's advance. He could not finally score a goal, but definitely earned a penalty corner. Now it was the turn of Dharam. He placed himself advantageously just outside the striking circle, unperturbed and ready. As Kujur trapped the ball and shifted away smartly, Dharam swerved by about ten degree to go for it. Thereafter he hit the ball in the desired direction and with measured force. Hurrah! It was an impeccable goal.

"Hurrah! Hockey is about HUG AND KISS. The winners hugged each other, tossed Munia in the air, and sat on the ground on their knees. They were excited and their eyes were moist. The impossible was achieved. The team that was struggling for just one nutrition-rich diet a day at the inaccessible corner of India did it and did it with élan. It once again proved the heart of India lies in hockey and the flesh in cricket. No match-fixing controversy, no inexplicable glamour to feel suspicious about. Even a tiny island could win laurels. Talents are everywhere; they are presented as they are needed."Long live the Andaman Hockey team under the captainship of Sukra, management of Mr Bisra Kujur! Long live sportsmanship! All the seventeen started to chant their golden chorus:

"Dharam has come back, watch gung-ho
The finishing stroke goes this way, say heave-ho."

A. N. Nanda