Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Author Interview: Pavit Kaur, author of 'Stolen Years : A Memoir of Simranjit Singh Mann's Imprisonment'
What happens when one is away from their father for years at a time? This book is one such account. But it does not end here. It is an almost touching story, as it describes not just Pavit Kaur’s but also her parents and her siblings’ pain as it looks at understanding the pain and the happiness in these pages.
It attempts at knowing the emotions of this Sikh family, as it lived through Operation Blue Star and its aftermath. The author, Pavit Kaur’s interview was an emotional one, as were her words…
I started writing ‘Stolen Years’ just after my father was released from prison. At that time, I was in boarding school and writing about my father’s and our harrowing time while he was locked away in solitary confinement for five years. That was sort of therapeutic for me.
I had no idea then that it would turn into a book and get published. About 3 years ago, Random House commissioned me to complete it and so, that's how the book came about.
The book goes back and forth from my story, to papa’s while he was in prison, so I had to spend a lot of time with my father, getting his side of how he spent five years in solitary confinement. I also spent time with my aunts and mother researching family history.
Could you tell the readers a little more about your personal experiences and how it was related to what you wrote?
The years, my father spent away from us were very hard and painful. It wasn't easy to accept that papa was locked away in a prison hundreds of kilometres away.
The most fulfilling part of writing this book has been that it has laid a lot of ghosts to rest.
And also, I feel that I have done my bit by letting the world know our side of the story, and what Operation Blue Star and its aftermath did to the Sikhs and my family and how senseless the entire episode was.
Writing this book has been a very emotional journey for me. Often, I thought of not publishing it because I felt it was too personal. But I am glad I did write it, because once it was finally done and published it has given me a sense of closure.
Do you have another book, planned? If so, what is it?
At the moment, I have no other book planned. But, I hope my book encourages others who had similar or even worse experiences during 1984 to come forward and tell their stories even if it's only for the record.
I love reading Vikram Seth’s books. I think he's brilliant. I'm always reading sometimes, even several books, at the same time.
Right now, I'm reading, 'The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher' by Hilary Mantel.
I have two sons, 17 and 13 who keep me on my toes even though they're away at boarding school most of the time. I don't work as such, but I love to paint and read, whenever I'm not travelling with my husband.