Writer Sabin Iqbal will not be his chatty self as he tries to debate his début novel, The Cliffhangers, set within the picturesque seaside city of Varkala. Like many mediapersons, Sabin is used to asking the questions and he finds it unusual to be on the opposite facet of the interview. However as soon as he will get going, Sabin takes one behind the bitter-sweet adventures of 4 younger males from Varkala — Moosa, Thaha, Jahangir and Usman — and their multi-coloured goals of creating it massive on this planet outdoors their hangouts.
A poignant story of rising up in a spot that’s on the cusp of cataclysmic change brought on by the unfold of spiritual jingoism, The Cliffhangers weaves collectively present occasions to create a fast-paced, coming-of-age novel about identification and the divided instances we stay in.
“This is the story of many a young man in many small towns in Kerala. I write about my home town because I know it better than any other place. The four main protagonists are not angels but they are not terrorists or criminals either. It is circumstances that force them to have run-ins with the police,” says Sabin, pageant director and co-curator of the Mathrubhumi Worldwide Pageant of Letters.
With amusing, Sabin says he was once a type of boys with a burning want to talk English fluently. “Although, I could write correct English, I could not utter a word and all my conversations in English were bottled inside. It was only when I started working abroad in a news desk that I was able to break that barrier and speak up,” he admits.
Journey of a novel
- The primary line of the e book was written once I was working overseas. I used to be sitting in a restaurant once I wrote a line about one thing Moosa says. It was by no means used. However that one line set the ball rolling.
- I had completed the e book two years in the past and despatched the manuscript to many publishers who rejected it. It was my cousin, Anees Salim, who advised me to not lose coronary heart however to maintain attempting. I had resigned myself to by no means getting a e book revealed. However once I despatched the manuscript of The Cliffhangers to David Davidar, he learn it and advised me to ship it to their managing editor, Aienla Ozukum. When her letter got here, I used to be looking for the ‘however’ that often signalled it had been rejected. It was a dream come true when that was lacking. As a substitute, she mentioned they have been pleased to publish the e book. It has been revealed by Aleph
- I’ve an extended record of favorite authors. Anees, VS Naipaul, Gabriel García Márquez and George Orwell are a number of the names on the record.
- The title of the e book is obvious. The laterite cliffs bordering the seaside in Varkala are well-known. Rising up there, no day was full with out a while spent on the cliff. The ‘cliffhangers’ additionally dream, stay and cling on the market.
By the eyes of his 4 primary protagonists, the novel sketches a neat slice of life within the vacationer haven that was as soon as a sleepy village with its fishing hamlets and laid-back lifestyle.
“The Gulf boom changed the landscape forever. Once a young man reached the age of 18 and was not pursuing a professional course or not academically bright, he was packed off to the ‘Gulf’ with some relative and that would be his life from then on, doing some job there, mostly unskilled, till the day he decided to return home forever. To speak English fluently was to escape that monotonous life. In the meantime, he might have married, had children and so on…. But by the time he returns for good, he and his family would have become strangers to each other. That is the tragedy of the grass widows of the Gulf,” says Sabin.
Very good character sketches, accentuated by some intelligent strokes of humour, painting how the separation and the following loneliness change the fundamental nature of the individuals in Moosa’s little house. If some, like Moosa’s mom, take refuge in an all-consuming rage, Jahangir’s mom wilts and shrinks whereas Moosa’s sister-in-law, Rasheeda, finds solace in others.
The slim e book has a plethora of characters however Sabin imbues every with definitive personalities, proper from the overbearing policeman Devan and the shopkeeper Balannan peddling patriotism to a brand new model of nationalists to peripheral individuals just like the priest’s spouse who can’t stand the aroma of meat being cooked, Ismail, the lifeguard, and Masood, their buddy and cricket scorer.
“I have been asked if the characters and anecdotes about people are autobiographical. They are not. Nevertheless, at some point or the other, I might have known or heard about them. I might have used some of that in the book,” elaborates Sabin.
The tone of irreverence provides the narrative a lightweight contact however he makes no try to tone down the fearless and gripping account of how a rape and a homicide present up the cracks in a close-knit society.
Though written over two years in the past, the novel may properly have been written yesterday because it delves into the divisive politics of at this time and highlights these invisible traces that partition minds. Sabin says it was the mediaperson in him that helped him adapt a sequence of occasions that created headlines in Kerala.
“But, like author Anees Salim writes in the book, it is a story of struggle and redemption. None of the characters is completely black or white. All of them have their positive sides too, even the killers and the zealots,” he says.
Pausing to mirror on his journey in phrases, Sabin says to show writer was his greatest dream. And now Sabin has already moved forward with plans of latest tales.
“Eventually, I want to write about the price paid by the men and the women who were forced to live apart because one of the spouses was working in West Asia. There are many stories I want to narrate,” he says.