In his first book, Stranger to History, Aatish Taseer documented his fleeting journeys through several Muslim countries while grappling with his own identity.
The confusion over identity continues to be a preoccupation in his second work, The Temple Goers, which was launched at a bookstore in Kemps Corner on Friday.
While Stranger to History took Taseer (30) to distant lands like Syria and Iran, The Temple Goers is based in Delhi, the city Taseer grew up in and for which he says he has “massive affection”.
The novel examines a slice of Delhi society and through its characters, the evolution of the city itself.
Taseer, son of journalist Tavleen Singh, says the novel’s imagined satellite townships, called Sectorpur and Phasenagar, are a comment on the expanding boundaries of Delhi.
“It led me to discover the Old City and the new peripheries,” he said.
“Once upon a time, Gurgaon really was a village. Today it is totally different.”
Surprisingly, the novel’s narrator is not only called Aatish Taseer, but like the author himself, is a former journalist who returns to India after years abroad.
When asked about the coincidence, Taseer said that the novel is not autobiographical. “There may be superficial resemblances but that makes for more fiction, not less,” he said.