Want to grill me?

An inland letter arrived from Srinagar. An old reader. He says he was overjoyed to find my book in a store there. So am I.

I did not think I would end up answering queries by readers. Curiosity. Anger. Interest. Amusement. Sadness. They express it all.

It struck me that I should let those of you who wish to pose your queries do so. Right here. If you have read the book, then great. But don't get too specific and personal about the details. Those who have not may also ask what they want.

There are some restrictions. No abuses, just as I am not seeking flattery. Also each query, even if anonymously posted, must have a name/nick and country of residence. Mention whether you have read or not read.

Use the comment box on this post. I will compile them (if need be use the ones I have got via email too) and post it as an interview with your names and nicks.

Am not sure if it's a good idea but given that I am answering via email I may as well choose this space.

The initial posts on the Journey blog (linked on the sidebar) have some details.

Let's see how it goes.

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This post may not be formatted as I am not at the PC. Hope technology works for me better than humans have done.

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For Saturday


"Mujhe tum se kuchch bhi na chahiye
Mujhe mere haal pe chhod do..."


November summer.




I shall look into a kaleidoscope.

Be nice:

Hmm...er...ok...tomorrow is Sunday. Happy?


  1. FV:

    Have a great week ahead!

    About the book, :-)

  2. Allow me to present a different tangent to this, People query you as they have this confidence that you have the 360 view to be able to answer their queries....else they would have queried anyone ...why you. It is a subtle acceptance of the fact that they look upto you ....
    Second, Crtiticism is bound to be packaged along but it seems (I may be wrong) that while most times you breeze through crticism, it sometimes takes a little toll on your persona...isnt criticism like mustand sauce ...it has the tanginess but is addictive ....just like the bittery after taste of dark chocolate .....

    Strong headed people are likely to face self isolation due to criticism ....Iqbal said ...Main Akela hee Chala tha Jaanibe Manzil, log saath aate gaye ....kaarwan banta gaya....

    People who agree with u may not be visible and vocal but outnumber teh critics ...

    Have a great Sunday ....

  3. I have 2 qs.How much time you took to write the whole book?Which character you found most interesting,mine is nosheen!

  4. Missed out that I read the book,location India Kolkatta

  5. I would love to comment, but I prefer smoked, not grilled!

  6. FV........did you check apartment cost & when are you moving there and putting money in jihad boxes

  7. FV
    What is the name of your book?
    How much does it cost?
    From where can I buy it?

    Please, let me know ASAP.

  8. Okay, this was an impulsive decision...but am sticking to it!


    :-)...this is not a question.
    - - -

    Aap ne tau sawaal par poora lekh likh diya...shukria...magar poochchne ke liye kuchch hai nahin?
    - - -


    When you grill it long, it does start smoking...
    - - -


    Oh, if I must move to Switzerland, I shall choose a chalet, not an apartment. I can mail you a cheque for your jihad box...buy yourself some good sense.
    - - -

    circle, circle, circle...I cannot believe that you would not know. Forget whether you have been around or not, the book states you right here on the sidebar and takes you to the blog where all details are there.

    Khair, I like repeating the name so:

    'A Journey Interrupted: Being Indian in Pakistan', Published by Harper Collins, India. Price Rs. 295.

    It is available at a few websites like NBC. India for shipping overseas.

  9. FV:

    You have only asked for queries - and I have one. But I must say something about the book before I pose my question. I have read the book once - and the last page many times.

    At the risk of sounding a wee bit corny, let me begin by thanking you for writing the book – the Journey, indeed is a unique endeavor as it transcends time and space (probes and pointed questions nothwithstanding). Your publishers must have had a hell of task of fitting the book to their pre-assigned categories – a travelogue it isn’t, not in the tradtional sense, there aren't any places to stay or shop or eat. It is an intensely personal account of a journey – a journey not just through the rugged terrain of the North West Frontier or negotiating the crowd of Karachi or Lahore , even as the venue provides a vivid backdrop to the jagged narrative.

    It isn’t even a journey, as much as it is path which meanders through the labyrinth of mind and the psyche of its subjects and that of its narrator, and in doing so, (the narrator) becomes the narrative and what good is the mirror, if not for the reflection. Some one who has read many of your works, it will be safe to say, that your pen isn’t a felt-tipped feathered quill, it indeed is a serrated knife that cuts through to the bone, and a double edged one, at that – for more often then not, it turns on itself, like a wounded animal that bites off chunk of its own flesh, in order for the wound to heal. And even as you claim “a healthy disregard for objectivity”, Journey is an objective account, albeit a bit rushed, and at times choppy; perhaps in a hurry to get to the next point-of-interest (or mind to probe or cast a probbing question). Considering that objectivity is elusive in general, but particularly as is related to the Indo-Pak relations, Journey is quite a feat. Perhaps it appears so, for as you explores others pores, you bare your own – and masking over is hardly an FV characteristic, for you’d rather “let it bleed” then “let it be”.

    Question: The opening poem - is it yours?

  10. Thanks
    I'll buy now and it'll be another good addition for my library with your name on it....


  11. GM:

    Thank you! It is as good as a review; needless to say I am both touched as well as enlightened...there are some valid points you raise which I may use as queries besides the one you asked.

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    Thank you...

    - - -

    Why is everyone asleep? Where are the queries? You have until weekend...I shall put up the interview on Monday.

  12. Okay so I have one more.

    Most of us will agree that Faraz is one of the most prominent poets of Urdu, after Faiz. Your conversation with him is quite revealing of the man's inner workings. So when he asks you to stay for lunch, what do you do?
    a) You thank him and decline because you have a prior engagement.
    b) Excuse him for a minute, make a call, come back and tell him "where are we going?"

  13. Your book left me speechless. Its an elaborate documentation of Pakistani history, politics, society, people, and culture. Firstly the narration is superbly crafted …..minute details revealing your eye for detail and huge powers to discern. The impact is heightened because we are so close and yet so far…… poignantly reflected when you so much hurt at the Wagah border that tears spring in your eyes.

    The big question is whether the man on the street realizes that he may hvee been misled to a substantial extent by the army all thee years? The intellectuals you interview have sensed this to a marginal extent albeit in an abstract manner.

    Mrs Bhutto gats assassinated and Mr Imran Khan is lounging in a luxury hotel in Mumbai expressing his views on the virtues of democracy. One cannot get more ersatz than that. Most people in the subcontinent would not have figured out the phoniness of it all..

    Sadly most nation states particularly in recent times have been let down both by their intellectuals and elected governments. There are glaring examples. We should under no circumstance ape the West in resolving the currently extremely volatile issues in the subcontinent. We may then land up as blind victims of history with seriously significant morbidity and mortality.

    Your book should be made mandatory reading in India because of its sensitivity and good sense. Common sense must prevail in the subcontinent. And quickly. The irony that despite maximum similarity in language and culture we continue to wage war is simply ludicrous. When you replace a kidney, treat TB of the lung, correct a fractured hip of an elderly, or do a balloon angioplasty in an acute heart attack…….. there is no guideline on the planet suggesting you first check on the religion or the culture of the patient.. The treatment protocol is virtually identical in every patient. The Pakistani heart attack patient and the Indian heart attack patient gets the same balloon, catheter and stent.For heaven’s sake there is absolutely no difference, The chasms are artificial and fake. Typhoid T2 diabetes, hypertension or unstable angina do not check out your caste , religion or culture before setting in the human body. Ever heard of HIV virus checking credentials? Only small minds with wicked intentions get the young slaughtered for their Satanic ends. This never ending tragedy has been going on for centuries. Despite having , in this world , some of the finest poets, hockey players and cricketers, artistes and nuclear scientists, civil servants and scientists, we are still prepared nuke ourselves out of existence is incomprehensible.

    An eye for an eye is too shrill and fit only for the movies. No roads were built, no clean water provided, no infant mortality was reduced, no cancers treated and no heart attacks prevented on serpentine protocols of fake fissures and deluded sense of vindictiveness.

    “A Journey Interrupted” is therefore a brilliant book which in its own way lucidly bridges these tormented divides. I congratulate you for your pristine talents and laudable efforts. I have never ever believed even for a millisecond that we are a different nations. Idiots ….yes.


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