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18 Feb 2020, 18:22 HRS IST
  • PTI
    • Bookworm
  • Love India, desire to live there:DSC Prize winner Arudpragasam
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  • d him like clockwork. 

    Alienated from family, home, language, and body, he exists in a state of mute acceptance, numb to the violence
    around him, till he is approached one morning by an old man who makes an unexpected proposal: that Dinesh marry his daughter, Ganga.

    Marriage, in this world, is an attempt at safety, like the beached fishing boat under which Dinesh huddles during the bombings. 

    As a couple, they would be less likely to be conscripted to fight for the rebels, and less likely to be abused in the case of an Army victory.

    Thrust into this situation of strange intimacy and dependence, Dinesh and Ganga try to come to terms with everything that has happened, hesitantly attempting to awaken to themselves and to one another before the war closes over
    them once more.

    "My book is focused on this one individual (Dinesh) who has become alienated from himself, not just from the body but
    also from his own memories. He lost his memory. He has forgotten about the basic things - what to talk about, what to
    say to each other. He has forgotten completely about ordinary life," says the author. 

    The characters in the novel are fictional but Arudpragasam says they are based on real people who had such
    experiences - people he talked to, people he read about and people he saw. 

    "Each character is a composite of different real people,” he says. 

    Arudpragasam started writing "The Story of a Brief Marriage" in 2010.

    "The process was very spontaneous. No reporters or external observers were allowed in the war zone and very few
    people had an idea of what was happening. Months after the war, through the survivors, some footage - videos and pictures - started making way to the Internet. This is when I came across a lot of this material," he says.

    Arudpragasam describes "The Story of a Brief Marriage" as a "very psychological and very introspective" book. 

    "It deals with trauma and what is means to be traumatised," he says.

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