Sunday, December 23, 2018

Book Launch of 'Viriah' by Krishna Gubili

This is no ordinary book. It's the story of Krishna's search for his great-grandfather Veerayya who went to South Africa as part of the 1.5 lakh indentured labour to work in sugarcane fields. It is a tough story and I believe a story that must be told because not many know of this part of our history. From what i have glimpsed at of the book and what Krishna read out yesterday, he did a great job of it.
Krishna reading from his debut book 'Viriah'
Krishna heard about his great-grandfather from his grandmother who would tell him stories of his grandfather and his family. He understood vaguely that his grandfather's family seemed to have gone to Africa and come back to India. But he never imagined that his grandfather was among the indentured labour - read as bonded labour - who had gone to work in the sugarcane fields there. Krishna, with great difficulty, connected with the South African links to his family. 'Viriah' is his debut book that tells a story worth telling. It is no pop fiction - it is history, it is real people and it is real life. It cannot get better than that. It's India's 'Roots'.
The audience listening enraptured
Krishna's writing process has been as interesting as his search for his roots and I am glad he finally completed the project and so well at that. We spoke a couple of times during the writing of the book when he called me from the US, where he now lives, to clarify some doubts. So when he said he was going to be in Hyderabad and planned a soft launch of the first copy with a few friends, I was more than happy to share the moment with him.
A group pic
Krishna did a great job of setting the context and then reading well-chosen passages from the book with such feeling and emotion that I could have just sat and listened to him narrate the story all day. He did a far better job of many things - choosing or rather creating the story, writing it so well and now reading it like a pro. I have not seen accomplished writers do half as good a job as he did.
Krishna, Me and Suresh
Shourie hosted the get together at the Club House at Orion Villas and we were joined by Ashok, Radha, JP, Anu, Ramesh, Venu, Ramana, Suresh. I took Abhinay along with me so he could update me on his recent exploits which included an interview with the Azim Premji Foundation.

I started reading the book and it reads very well indeed. Far better than many published writers I have read. Good show Krishna. Congratulations and wishing you well. You have already completed the hardest part of the journey. Best wishes for the rest and hopefully there are more books to come from your pen.

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