A short background story is in order. Somewhere in 2011 I took a chance and shot off an email to William Dalrymple. I had read most of his books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is able to narrate history in a most interesting, story-like manner, bringing people and events to life. 'The Last Mughal', a riveting account of the fall of Delhi and the rise of British power in the capital, prompted me to write to him. Lo and behold, he responded at once! We had a brief dialogue over a few emails about his work. It made my day, or rather, my week.
Encouraged by that success, I wrote a short mail to Amitav Ghosh after finishing 'River of Smoke'. The second book of the trilogy, it tells the tale of a Parsi merchant, among other characters. The authenticity and detail of Ghosh's works are breathtaking. He is a story-teller like no other, and I emailed him because I just had to tell him that. It was thrilling and strangely humbling to see a prompt reply.
Today the world worships movie stars and cricketers. But writers such as these take us on the most amazing journeys to other eras and places. They introduce us to characters using mere words. But these characters can become more vivid than the living and breathing people around us. And the best part is, they are honest, down-to-earth and friendly enough to write back. That makes them truly great.
The one person left on my wishlist is Rohinton Mistry. I have never found his email address in the virtual world. And the dream of meeting him in the real world, still remains dreamy.
The author is co-founder and Director, Content Design at Steta