The launch of Dr. Manju Jaidka’s new novel Amaltas Avenue at the Indian Habitat Center in New Delhi on the 16th of August 2014 was a literary event that added a dash of warm aureate hue to an otherwise plain Delhi evening. The event was attended by several renowned Indian academicians, writers, scholars, and bibliophiles. Among the prominent personalities who were part of the event, were writer and journalist Mr. Rahul Singh, son of the noted Indian scripturient, Khuswant Singh; Dr.Vijay Sharma, principal of Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University; Dr. Manpreet Kang, Dr. Vivek Sachdeva, Dr. Ashutosh Mohan, Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Dwivedi of the University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, GGSIP University, New Delhi. The event was presided over by Rahul Singh, while Dr. Vijay Sharma formally introduced the proceedings.
|Dr. Manju Jaidka|
Amaltas Avenue is the third novel penned by Dr. Manju Jaidka. Dr. Jaidka, a stellar academician, a writer of more than eleven scholastic books on English literature, is a professor of English at Panjab University, Chandigarh and a present chairperson of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi. She is a prolific writer, who has written, apart from two novels, Spots of Time and Scandal Point, a play called The Seduction and Betrayal of Cat Whiskers, and a poetry collection, For Reasons Unknown. Unlike Scandal Point—a historical fiction—Dr.Jaidka’s latest book, Amaltas Avenue, is an academic novel set in contemporary India and focuses on the lives of characters who are denizens of the same milieu.
|The book launch (from left: Mr. Rahul Singh and Dr, Vijay Sharma)|
Following the official launch of Amaltas Avenue, Dr. Jaidka read certain excerpts from her novel at the request of her audience. The latent wit and humor of the book, together with the oratorical skill of the author, the inflection of her voice and her enthusiasm made the experience of listening to her a refreshingly pleasant one. As I listened to Dr. Jaidka reading from her book, I felt that Amaltas Avenue, if read by its brilliant author, might do great as an audio book as well!
A question-answer session was the penultimate part of the evening’s literary proceedings. During this session, Dr. Jaidka made several important observations about creative writing and her life as an academician in general. She said that in order to write well, one much have sufficient time and space. She mentioned that one always has stories inside one, and that ordinary life incidents could very well marinate in mind and take fictional form in due course. She laid great stress to the idea of a creative work gestating in mind for a long period before it is rendered on page. When asked what inspired her to become a creative writer, she replied that she had always wanted to become a writer and that she was glad that she could now devote herself to her creative pursuit. In response to a compliment on her stylistic legerdemain and her effortless narrative technique, Dr. Jaidka said that her training as an academician and her previous experience of teaching narrative theory and narratology has helped her in perfecting the craft of writing.
Talking about Dr. Jaidka’s latest novel, both Rahul Singh and Dr. Vijay Sharma commented on the author’s brilliant power of description, her elevated sensibility, her perfect sense of artistic detachment when composing a work. Both the aforementioned dignitaries considered Amaltas Avenue a literary masterpiece displaying the same high level of perfection that is the recognized signature of Manju Jaidka, the writer.
The literary event concluded with the author of Amaltas Avenue autographing copies of her book and interacting with her friends and fans.