Archive for April 8th, 2012

Correspondence with a mathematician/zoologist

April 8, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (1)

Dear Mr Ghosh:
Extra-ordinary book – “The Hungry Tide”!It is everything the reviews and the blurbs make it out to be – and much more – it is certainly one of the most moving pieces of work I have read in a long while… I’ve already read it twice over (and now I am planning a third reading within the next couple of months). Perhaps I shall one day write a review.  Thank you for this wonderful piece work.  (I have previously read “The Glass Palace” – which was excellent, too; but not, I feel, in the same class as this novel.  I plan to read all of your works – and am hoping to subscribe to your ‘blog’ at – but I do not see a feature there that enables easy subscription by those interested.
I’d like to draw your kind attention to one minor ‘inexactitude’ in “The Hungry Tide”:  (Harper Collins Indian edition, 2005, pages 12-13) – when Kanai Dutt shows Piyali Roy how to pronounce his name: as Dutt was actually speaking face-to-face with Piya, she would not, I believe, mispronounced his name as “Kanay” instead of “Kanai”.  Yes, she might well have mispronounced his name a bit – but your explanation leaves me unconvinced that it could have happened this way in a real encounter.  (This is a tiny matter; probably not important – but it leaves me a bit uncomfortable).
I shall keenly look forward to reading many more of your writings.
Best wishes
GS Chandy
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G.S. Chandy
Terrapin Station (Next to Akshara ‘Art of Learning’)
Sathanur,
Bagalur P.O., PIN: 562149
Bangalore – INDIA

Tel.: +91-80-22792756
+++++++
Amitav Ghosh

chrestomather@yahoo.in

Dear Mr Chandy
Thank you so much for this letter: it is really wonderful to know of your response to the book. As for the mispronunciation all I can say is that I described as I thought it might have happened.
Would you mind if I posted your letter on my blog? I think it would be of interest to many readers.
I am currently posting (rather slowly) transcripts of the journal that I kept on a river-dolphin survey in Cambodia. It might be of interest to you.
best wishes
Amitav Ghosh

 

Hi, Mr Ghosh:I seem to remember I had responded earlier gladly permitting you to put my letter up at your blog.  I somehow don’t find that letter at my ‘SentBox’, so am resending the permission:  Please do feel free to use my letter in any way you choose.
By the way, I have just registered at your Blog – will new entries be made known to me – or should I separately subscribe to the RSS feed for that?
(Who, by the way, is “A.K. Munshi” ?)
Thanks and warm regards
GS Chandy
+++++++
G.S. Chandy
Terrapin Station (Next to Akshara ‘Art of Learning’)
Sathanur,
Bagalur P.O., PIN: 562149
Bangalore – INDIA

Tel.: +91-80-22792756
+++++++


 

 

Dear Mr Ghosh:
Some further thoughts on your book, “The Hungry Tide”:
1) Contrary to the statement that characters in the book are fictional (as stated in your graceful acknowledgements in the “Author’s Note”), it does strike me that several of the book’s best characters are drawn from real life people you have encountered:
    i) Your wonderful heroine, Piyali Roy, seems to be a meld of two of the people you have acknowledged, Annu Jalais on whom you’ve grafted the knowledge and insights into dolphin behaviour of Isabel Beasley, cetologist Professor Helene Marsh’s student.  Piyali Roy’s courage, elegance and grace makes her probably the ‘fictional’ heroine who will live on longest in my memories.  I particularly like, for immediate instance, the graceful way she brought up the topic of the ‘Fokirchand Mondol Trust’ to Nilima Bose to get her to accept the suggestion of setting it up.  In particular, “I thought, if you were agreeable, that maybe I’d rent the upper floor of this house from you: the Guest House, in other words”… and what follows.  (There was, I think, absolutely no way that Nilima Bose could have refused the request!). But there is so much else to love about Piyali Roy!  By the way, I would like very much indeed to read first hand, if available, the researches of Ms Jalais into the history and culture of the tide country region – what can you suggest?
ii) Nilima Bose herself seems to be a meld of Shrimati Bina Kanjilal, who, with her husband, retired headmaster Tushar Kanjilal, founded in real life the “Tagore Society of Rural Development” (TSRD).  Is, then, Nirmal Bose perhaps a meld of you own uncle, the late Sri Chandra Ghosh, and Mr Tushar Kanjilal?  And, is the ‘Badobon Trust’ the fictional reincarnation of the TSRD?
Fascinating questions! Asked not entirely idly – see below.
(I hasten to add that this is not a ‘reader complaint’ at all that your claim of fictional origins of all your characters is wrong in any way – it was probably the best and only way to handle the issue practically).I am looking forward most keenly to read the two parts of  your ‘Ibis Trilogy’ that have been published (as well as your other works that I’ve not yet read). I have just started to go through your blog – will take some time, as I have a poor internet connection.Is there any way I could provide other-than-financial help to any of these voluntary organizations, such as the TSRD,  serving the tide-water region?  I am particularly interested in working with those involved in environmental protection and habitat protection of the fauna in those regions, such as perhaps a real-life equivalent of the ‘Fokirchand Mondol Trust’.

I have on offer a uniquely powerful aid to problem solving and decision making that I call the ‘One Page Management System’ (OPMS), which could be useful in many ways, in particular in helping people find ways other than taking up the gun to deal with insensitive and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. ( I am sort of involved with a couple of associations in the South that are seeking to fight the depredations of the mining mafia in Karnataka and Goa, about which you may be aware.  I try to show them practical means to tackle their issues – other than taking up the gun, which is actually counter-productive in dealing with a very powerful establishment and the apathy of people around.  OPMS can help people put together more ideas that are more practically effective in both the shorter and the longer term).

For voluntary organizations serving worthy goals, I charge no fees at all – and OPMS Could help them get the kind of funding they may be seeking.

For your kind interest, I am taking the liberty of attaching herewith some brief information about the OPMS, along with a brief bio-sheet, which has some information about how the OPMS came to be (You are most welcome to pass this on to anyone who may be interested to look at it).

By the way, you are most welcome to put up at your blog any parts of this letter that you may find useful – did you put up the earlier letter?

Please feel free to seek any clarifications or further information required.

I look forward most keenly to hear from you.

With kind regards
Yours truly
G.S. Chandy



 

Dar Mr Chandy
‘The Hungry Tide’ owes much to both Isabel and Annu, just as I’ve said in the Acknowledgements. But I can assure you that Piya is very much her own person, in appearance and character. The same is true of all the characters in the book; they are each very much their own person.
Annu’s book (and it is excellent) has recently been published. It is called ‘Forest of Tigers’ – you should have no trouble ordering it from Flipkart.
It’s very generous of you to offer your time and help for NGOs working in the Sundarbans. If you don’t mind I will include this letter in the correspondence when I post it. Perhaps you will hear from some of the NGOs working in the Sundarbans. For myself I must say that one thing I learnt from writing ‘The Hungry Tide’ is that although I have great admiration for people who do voluntary work I have no aptitude for it myself. I am therefore hesitant to recommend any specific organization. But I will forward your message to Annu Jalais (copied above) and she may have some ideas.
I take it you are a zoologist by training?
With my best wishes
Amitav

 

+++++++
G.S. Chandy
Terrapin Station (Next to Akshara ‘Art of Learning’)
Sathanur,
Bagalur P.O., PIN: 562149
Bangalore – INDIA
Tel.: +91-80-22792756
+++++++

 

Thanks very much, Mr Ghosh for your kind response – and for clarifying my incorrect impression that ‘Piya Roy’ was based on a ‘melding’ of Annu Jalais and Isabel Beasley.  (And also my incorrect impressions about other characters in your book!).  I’m quite an old man now, but I do believe I’d have fallen in love with ‘Piyali Roy’ if I’d been twenty-thirty years younger!  As noted earlier,  she is one of the most delightful fictional heroines I have come across ever.
I too share the same high admiration that you have for people doing good voluntary work – and also the inability to do it myself!  What I am able to do is to show them my ‘OPMS’, which could help them significantly in many ways.
Please do feel free to include my correspondence in your postings wherever – and to send it to Annu Jalais as well.  I shall look forward to  reading her book very soon.
No, I’m not at all a zoologist by training – my educational background was engineering, then research in pure math in the USA – both engineering and math I gave up (for various rather foolish reasons: mainly headstrong behaviour, come to think of it).
Later I educated myself in ‘systems science’ (and in particular in the late John N. Warfield’s quite radically different approach to systems science, upon which the OPMS is based).
Some of the above background is noted in my ‘bio-sheet’ which I believe I might have attached to my earlier mail. While I was much younger, I had once considered visiting the Sunderbans – but did not do that at all, I wandered around in the Sikkim Himalayas instead.
Kind regards
GS Chandy
(By the way, who is “A.K. Munshi”?)
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G.S. Chandy
Terrapin Station (Next to Akshara ‘Art of Learning’)
Sathanur,
Bagalur P.O., PIN: 562149
Bangalore – INDIA

Tel.: +91-80-22792756
+++++++



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