Recently, while surfing the net, I was delighted to note that Pakistan (or UK) has given birth to another novelist (in English). This is Mohammad Hanif. His novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, has been reviewed here by William Dalrymple.
I was delighted because I happen to know Mohd Hanif--but in a twisted way (I am sure he would have forgotten it all--no one's fault). He is with BBC Urdu and if you watch BBC World, sometimes he appears with his comments on Pakistani issues. This was several years ago when I was still in India. I appeared for a test for BBC Urdu Radio and cleared a few rounds of the process. My final interview was with Mr Hanif and another gentleman who was English.
As luck would have it, I never made the final cut, primarily perhaps because at that time I did not have any newspaper or radio experience. Since then, as you might have noted, my career has taken a different turn. Perhaps I was never meant to be a Urdu journalist despite my love for the language (I love both the languages--Urdu poetry and English fiction).
But I never forgot my interviewer, Mr Hanif (I never forget anyone I've met).
So, when I read about his novel's release, I was quite pleased. The review sounds good and I look forward to reading his novel. Do let me know if you happen to read his book. Here are excerpts from Dalryple's review:
Highly praised by, among others, John Le Carre, A Case of Exploding Mangoes is quite unlike anything recently published this side of the border, and throws the gauntlet down to a new generation of Indian writers. For the first time in this part of Asia, there is now serious competition out there.