If disease,virus, and death could be romanticised, Sampurna Chattarji has managed to do it, by bringing them into the realm of conciousness. Grotesque description of diseases and her obsession for sounds and curiousity to delve into the psychology of the human mind might make one uncomfortable.
Her new book, Land of Well, is all about exploring this fear, terror and the other side of human existence. The gory reality, which we deliberately overlook, serves as an important realisation and a way to connect the disjointed world where, at every phase we are somewhere alienated from each other even though we live side by side together. The book was recently launched in the Capital, with Ambarish Satwik, who was in conversation with the author.
‘I think I don’t want to scare my readers into believing that it is depressing but it is a look at the side of life we generally avoid, another aspect of the reality,’ said Chattarji.
The book is a story of teenage and explores the dark side of human fears and insecurities which almost drive one to the point of loving death. ‘The discomfort factor in the book is intended,’ said Satwik.
However, Chattarji says that the innocence of the teenager narrative’s naïve outlook gives liberty to explore the sexuality, violence and repression of life in the very cardinal essence, which otherwise we escape. ‘It is also a reflection of my own obssession with the sounds of names and constant need to research the diseases and ailments which can subconciously affect us,’ said the author.
There is also a poem about virus which indulges in romancing a virus, making death almost seductive. The author also takes delight in the fact that alienation can open up new avenues of creativity.
‘The preoccupation with books and the ample expressions of violence, the constant reference to the late Japanese author Yukio Mishimi and his works are deliberately the extension of my own understanding of the human psyche and my own readings of Mishimi’s works. I have always been fascinated by the raw essence of violence, ritual, cults,’ explained Chatterji.
She also added that in times of our own sickness we take refuge in preoccupations like books.
‘Guilt is intrinsic and motivates terror and naming the fear can lessen this terror and therefore I have indulged in this violence to dismantle the fear,’ concluded the author.