Geetanjali Shree never dreamed she would be the first to win the Booker Prize last year for a Hindi novel, Ret Samadhi which was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell under the title of Tomb of Sand. A requiem to the cosmopolitan, multicultural country that India has become, this story follows an 80-year-old Ma re-emerging from the clutches of a prolonged depression and journeying across the border to Pakistan.
Shree’s books are informed by her theatre background, her childhood spent in airy colonial bungalows, and the literary intelligentsia that surrounded her family when she was growing up. Though she attended an English medium school, she had always spoken Hindi at home, which is the language she chose to pen down her her first short story. Initially, she ran up against the hurdle most polyglot writers face: the purity of language.
However, eventually her Hindi was enriched by confabulations and neologisms borrowed from English, Gujarati, Punjabi and even French. Her readiness to experiment with languages gives away her innate urge to transcend all borders and expectations.