‘If women don’t write about women, why would men’ - Hindustan Times

‘If women don’t write about women, why would men’

BySubhashree Nanda
Sep 21, 2023 10:26 PM IST

Author Narinder Jit Kaur launched her latest book, "The Icicle: A Collection of Short Stories," in Chandigarh. The book explores human existence and the struggles faced by people.

Author Narinder Jit Kaur’s latest book, titled The Icicle: A Collection of Short Stories, was launched in the City Beautiful on Wednesday.

Author Narinder Jit Kaur with her latest book, titled The Icicle: A Collection of Short Stories
Author Narinder Jit Kaur with her latest book, titled The Icicle: A Collection of Short Stories

In an event at the Chandigarh Press Club, the book was officially unveiled by chief guest and founder chairperson of the Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS), Sumita Misra (IAS); guests of honour Ramesh Vinayak, Executive Editor, Hindustan Times, and Affan Yesvi, director, Rhyvers Publishing; and special guest Dr SP Singh.

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During a riveting conversation between Narinder Jit and Sonika Sethi, author and associate professor (English), the former said, we all are storytellers, and the journey of storytelling begins as early as when a child conjures up the excuse of a stomach ache to avoid going to school. “That itself is a story. Our imagination gets to work quite early and multiple stories keep coming to us. Some vanish after a period of time, others stay with us,” she said.

On most of her protagonists being women, she said, “If women don’t write about women, why would men.”

While discussing one of her stories, the author said, “It’s so sad and ironic that (during Partition) while men were killed out in the streets, women are killed within the four walls of their houses. While men were killed by their adversaries, women were killed by their own fathers and brothers.”

“All because of the word ‘honour’, which is a very digressive term, is associated with women. This word is a burden she carries on her shoulder. And if anything goes wrong, she is discarded in the name of honour,” she added.

The Icicle is the author’s seventh book; consisting of twelve stories that explore the depths of human existence and the turbulent journey of people tormented by self-doubt, insecurities, and guilt. The stories depict the essence of the Indian social milieu and focus on human instincts.

The author, in the preface of the book, says, “Writing stories makes you very lonely as you live with shadows. The floating extractions that gradually grow into concrete entities, occupy a cosy corner in your mind... living and kicking, like unborn babies, making you conscious of their presence all the time. Ultimately, becoming a part of you... your extension.”

Speaking on the occasion, Misra said Narinder Jit’s stories weave a strong narrative of the social fabric of which we all are a part of. “Her stories are not only relatable, but also a reflection of our deep and complex experiences of pain, anger, joy, dependence, and angst,” she said.

Yesvi added to this and said, “The author’s stories unravel the complexities of the psyche of her characters and reveal human being’s intense longing for acceptance and validation. Her stories’ focus on basic human instincts and inner struggle make them universally relatable to readers.”

“Narinder Jit ji is like a genial grandmother, who has a potli of a repertoire of experiences. And she is picking out items from that potli and narrating those stories to her audience. Like a rainbow, she has a wide spectrum of emotions to write about and a gift for storytelling,” said Vinayak.

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