HYDERABAD: The second day of the Valley of Words Literary Festival, conducted at the MCR-HRD Institute in Jubilee Hills, had a charming mix of readings and discussions to mark a serene Sunday.
The event saw the release of 'Breaking Through New Earth' by retired IAS officer Jatish Chandra Mohanty. The book, in Mohanty's own words, is a new take on the inner workings of the Indian bureaucracy. Each of the 29 standalone chapters is a narrative crafted using anecdotes blending with insights and opinion, unique perspectives and transformative ideas.
A rather jovial Mohanty revealed that writing the book happened because he had time at hand during the pandemic. "Time and push from people got me to write the book. I wondered why anybody would want to listen to me but the many people around (me), convinced me that a lot of IAS aspirants could learn from (me) just merely sharing my experiences," he said.
Mohanty was particular about the book not being just a memoir, but spoke about the messages one could infer. "The entire book stemmed from my recollection of the past three decades that I had never jotted down before. So I’m lucky to have a good memory," he stated.
Saying that the process of writing the book was smooth and not tiresome like he had presumed it to be, he said, "People asked if it was painful to talk about my failures, if any, but I hadn’t touched anything there. In fact, it was nostalgic throughout, when I spoke about the times I slept with my hundred-inch-long wired phone next to my pillow just to be able to take calls from 8 pm to 7 am as the Babri Masjid ‘poisoned water’ rumour (unfolded)."
The event also saw the reading and discussion of several other books including Ratna Dholi: The Best Stories of Dhumketu (translated from Gujarati by Jenny Bhatt), Loki Takes Guard by Menaka Raman, Gravepyres School For The Recently Deceased by Anita Roy, Ogd by Anushka Ravishankar, Phoenix in the Sky by Indira Ananthakrishnan and The Secret Life of Debbie G by Vibha Batra and Kalyani Ganapati. Most of these books are evidently for children and young adults, hence the decision to talk about them on Children’s Day.
One of the most engaging discussions was on Menaka Raman's book Loki Takes Guard. The book talks about a young girl who loves cricket, but is held back by society and its traditional values. Raman has written the book in first-person which was lauded by panellists for rightly mimicking the language of an 11-year-old without sounding like a 'wannabe cool aunty trying to give a message'.
"Being a mother to two preteen boys, it was a tough challenge as I had to fight the temptation to bring in some sort of a moral agenda," said Raman. The panellists also spoke about the two-faced celebrations and restrictions that a girl has to follow when she menstruates.