As I look at the delightfully beautiful cover of the book ‘The Solitary Sunflower in my Bageecha’ by Nazam Riar, shared by the author in the elite Middle writers group of top cop writer Rajbir Deswal, I think of the sheer rather utmost joy that the release of a book brings to its author. At the same time, I think of the books that might be getting published all over the world every day. A random search on Google reveals that about 22.00 lakh books get
published worldwide every year with India publishing about one lakh out of them. That means, over the centuries, an ocean of books has been created around the world. Where would you, find a book once written and published by you, lying in the fathomless depth of such an ocean?
A glance at the shelves of the cupboard having books written by me reveals seventeen books published in different shapes and sizes and on different subjects, some technical, some literary, a couple of them on poetry in Hindi and a few on even specialized crosswords. The journey began in 1992 when the first book was published and continues. Each of them, except one, had made me float on a magic carpet of sheer delight and every time, I had felt as if life’s mission had been fulfilled. Then slowly, the sands of time had diminished their memory and joy as the next book idea had engulfed the mind. One book that couldn’t make my float on the magic carpet of joy was the one written by me
on sudden departure of my father, 24 years back. Those thirteen days, I had sat back and kept jotting down his memories on the paper, in shape of poetry in Hindi, tears often rolling down to the paper, making the words hard to read. Few days later, when the publisher compiled those 50 odd poems into a book, he refused to price it. ‘No cost can be assigned to this book. Let each copy of it be for someone who loses a dear one,’ he had said. The book
came out beautifully.
That was the year 1998. 23 years later, one day, I received a message from my 29 years old niece, “Out of nowhere, today, I picked your book ‘Baa ji’ from the shelf and couldn’t resist reading it. I feel so motivated and proud after reading his journey. I felt that rush to achieve something significant in my life. As I pondered more on it, I realized that when you were writing this book, you not only wanted to pay tribute to his life but also wanted the future generations to know where they were coming from and take inspiration. I don’t have much memories of grandpa as I was so young but thanks to you, I feel so connected to him”. There couldn’t be a better award that the book could bring to me, I felt. Reading parts of ‘Anta-Saga of an Era’ by Rajbir Deswal transcends me to the village times
every time, everything happening vividly before my eyes, so beautifully he has described the people, places and events. I couldn’t resist requesting him to send me a copy and the author promptly passed the message to the publisher.
Books carry invincible power, I find. So scared Bakhtiyar Khilji became of the power and knowledge of books that he burnt the Nalanda University library! People come, people go, but books stay for ever—to provide knowledge, inspiration and posterity. Congrats Nazam Riar on your latest and every author, be proud for you have contributed something priceless and treasurable to the world!