Prajwal Parajuly, author of internationally acclaimed works like The Gurkha’s Daughter and Land Where I Flee, appeared as a guest in DeshSanchar Chautari during an hour long discussion revolving around his journey as a writer.
Parajuly is a true global writer. He is an Indian, born to a Nepali mother and Indian father, speaks Nepali, and writes in English. This has often oscillated in identity crisis as he was growing and needing to readjust his alignment between the various identities. He says he has invested a lot in reading, analyzing, and understanding identity issues, which is a mainstay of his writing. Only at the time of writing The Gurkha’s Daughter does he believe he started making peace with his both identities.
‘Juicy Family Saga’ and ‘[My] love letter to Nepali Language’, Prajuly often marks his work ‘Land Where I Flee’. With this forefront, Parajuly, who was in Kathmandu for launching “Chitralekhako Chaurasi”– Nepali version of the Land Where I Flee– said ‘the most exciting journey in writing has been translation in Nepali.’
He was quite elated over the quality of the French translation of the novel, much admired by the French readers despite their being so distant from the Nepali speaking world. ‘ After all, the book “is about Nepali speaking people who actually speak in Nepali with one another that I actually translate in my mind to have it produced in English.”
In response to a query regarding his though process, he said ‘I always think of conversations of the characters in Nepali while the narrative comes into mind in English.’ He interestingly shared a swift switch as well as the intersection of English and Nepali language in the thought process while writing. Parajuly came across some of the western readers who have read the English version telling him that the dialogue is strange and that it looked as if it was not completely in English. ‘I undertake this remark as my mission was a success’ he said.
Parajuly, in 2011, became the youngest Indian author to receive a multi-country deal at the age of 26. He believes ‘writing is difficult’ and said even a sentence sometimes gives you so much trouble. He encourages aspiring writers to validate their work among trusted circles rather than relying on virality in social networking sites.
In a question relating to his home town Gangtok and him giving an insight into Nepali speaking world through his writing, he recalled a question – what is home for you? – asked long back in New York. He, then, said ‘after a deep anlalysis, I realise home is the place I write about’.
He finds travel, particularly walking, is meditative because he can not only keep his thoughts on track but also experience opportunities to encapsulate in his book. He revealed that his third book which he is currently working on will be a Travelogue, and chose not to divulge more.