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Deepti Naval's short stories look at real India

Actress Deepti Naval has joined the legion of Indian writers with her maiden collection of short stories.

books Updated: Nov 09, 2011 11:20 IST

Actress Deepti Naval has joined the legion of Indian writers with her maiden collection of short stories.

"The Mad Tibetan: Stories From Then And Now", which was launched in Mumbai by actor Amitabh Bachchan, will be released in the capital by director Muzaffar Ali Nov 12.

Naval made her debut with the movie, "Ek Bar Phir" in 1979 and featured in a string of hits like "Chashme Buddoor", "Kamla", "Mirch Masala", "Ankahi", "Main Zinda Hoon" and "Panchvati".

A multi-faceted persona, Naval is a photographer, painter, poet and women's rights activist. She manages a trust for the education of the girl child.

Naval says she owes the book to her parents. Her mother introduced her to the art of storytelling, filling her up with stories from Myanmar. Her father taught her to sit still and get it "write".

The writer says she began to work on the stories "one-and-a-half years ago".

In interviews to the media, Naval said she made note of incidents in the 1980s and she looked into the jottings for plots while building the narratives.

The 11 stories in the anthology are vivid, poignant - and rich in visual detail.

In the story, "The Piano Tuner", Naval pulls the reader into the cramped musical world of piano teacher Feroze Batliboy, a little girl and a silent admirer, while "Thulli" is the moving story of a professional comfort woman (prostitute) from Mumbai's Kamathipura red light area.

"The Mad Tibetan", from which the volume gets its name, is set in Ladakh. Penned in first person, it is a slice of personal recollection. She captures through her camera the free spirit of the wild land through the dance of the Tibetan whom she met during one of her treks to the Himalayan kingdom.

"The Tibetan lifts his arms, swings them around, turns, looks up at me again and begins to dance...Like a dervish he twirls, the exultant spirit, laughing, his flaming red robe flailing about him," Naval writes.

An avid traveller, Naval often takes off to the Himalayas with her camera and trekking shoes.

The book, which has an oil painting of Leh by Naval on the cover, has been published by Amaryllis, a division of Manjul Publishing House.

First Published: Nov 09, 2011 11:20 IST