A Punjabi story

AN UNLIKELY CONNECTION, but a powerful one. I have a lot to share about the conversations that began in virtual space and grew, and bloomed, into a remarkable collaboration. Here’s a hint.

A Punjabi-language magazine. A place for people to come and learn and write and make space to discover, and co-discover.

(Was I reading into it? I wasn’t sure. This is what my impression was, taking away from the internet gleanings on Wikipedia about Gurbaksh Singh, who edited Preetlarhi magazine.)

Took the risk in late 2013, from a hotel in Gangtok.

Could I ask about the writing residency there, I wrote into a form on their website. Could I know more about it, perhaps, since I’ve, um, I’ve got this story I want to write, and that would mean having to come to Amritsar?

I was typing on a digital tablet, which like me, was on the brink. Fumbling our way around India, with no plan or agenda or expectations. Or money. Could we make it to Punjab? If we got invited, we would find a way. And we did. A lot of bus transfers, via Kathmandu and this dusty border town at Nepal-India. Chandigarh. Et cetera. But that was just the road journey, to Preetnagar.

What happened next? So much. But the story continued, as we kept in touch ambiently through the next four years. Here we are in April 2017. And this month, Preetlarhi published in English the first chapter of Kanishka. All kinds of things to say about this, but for the moment, it’s just, ‘Wow.’

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