When author and journalist Akash Kapur returned to India after living in the US, it was the change that his homeland that he first noticed. “It was the positive change. The new opportunities, the new sense of confidence. And the change was not just in the areas. It was equally visible in the villages, as well,” says Kapur, whose book ‘India Becoming’ hit the stands in the city earlier this week.
The son of an American mother and Indian father, Kapur, who was raised on the outskirts of Auroville in Pondycherry, chronicles the transformation that India has gone through in recent times. “It’s not about positive or negative change. The transformation is a lot more complicated than that,” explains Kapur, laying emphasis on the fact that providing a holistic picture of the transformation process was the main agenda while writing the book.
Further explaining the change, Kapur chooses to call the transformation ambivalent. “Often, the same person who is gaining something is also losing something at the same time,” he explains, adding that human stories and life stories are necessary to take a closer look at this ambivalent change. “If we look at this at a macro level, it’s easy to overlook the subtlety and nitty-gritties,” he says.
In the book, Kapur has illustrated the lives of eight to 10 people. “But I spoke to so many more people,” he says, adding that he definitely wasn’t trying to write about a representative sample of India. The basis on which he chose the people and their lives also depended on a number of things, apart from the fact that they were all from different walks of life. “They should be willing to spend a lot of time with me and allow me in their lives,” he says.
And despite the fact that he has traced the change through his own life and move back to India, he is sure to point out that ‘India Becoming’ is definitely not a memoir. “I’ve tried to keep the focus on the people,” he says, explaining that in some parts there is just a bit more of him than in others.
Kapur will officially release his book here in the city at Mowbrays, The Park Sheraton, Nandanam, on November 5 at 7pm.