It was in 2007 when Siddhartha Gigoo started writing his debut novel, The Garden of Solitude. Initially, he went through several periods when he couldn’t write anything tangible. But then there were other nights as well when things happened quickly and he got some great ideas, even while working out at his gym. So the life balanced out for him, since now his characters started almost talking to him. The novelist within him had come to life.
Forced Out Of His Homeland
The inevitable question that he has to face, being Kashmiri Pandit, is he hard on Muslims? The reason is, he is a Kashmiri Muslim who had to leave his homeland due to the fear of Islamic extremists supported by Pakistan. To some extent, the question does affect him, but he regains his composure and he says anybody who has ever longed for his homeland might be interested in what he writes. Other people who may be interested are those who lost close relatives or loved one in the Kashmir violence.
Bunked Classes And Leftist World View
Siddharth Gigoo has a big personal library (close to hundred books), lovely wife and a daughter. He lives in Dwarka, West Delhi. He became a true blue Delhiite in 1995 when he enrolled himself for a Jawaharlal Nehru University course in English literature. The two years of the course were full of Hashish and bunked classes, the world view consisted of Marxist friends and the wider social network had some right wingers too. All his friends used to call each other comrades.
Is Peaceful Kashmir Possible?
Now that he is back to the harsh realities of life, does he foresee a peaceful Kashmir? While he does emphasize on some hope and love, the overall picture is not very rosy, he admits. Siddhartha Gigoo offers us a panoramic view into the difficult life of Kashmir, where the Muslim majority inhabitants have been demanding freedom for a long time. Kashmir has thrown up several memoirs and travel related books, but The Garden of Solitude is probably the first power packed fiction to have come out from the region.
The Fear Of Death Was Constant
He talks about the violence that took place in 1990s, which forced the Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley due to the constant fear of death. At the same time, the slight twitch of excitement on his face at the time when his debut novel is going to be published is unmistakable, as he looks at the cover page of his novel.