From Nepal to Dubai

It took Ritu Dokania around three years to write The Red Corridor. She spent the early impressionable years of her life in Nepal, so this book is the result of all the influences the country and its culture, its marginalised people and their migrations brought on to her.

By Raziqueh Hussain

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Published: Fri 25 Mar 2011, 11:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:39 AM

She has also travelled across India and other countries extensively and has talked about its cultural diversities. “I have always wanted to bring the stories of ordinary people from border towns and villages to the forefront. At the same time, I wanted my novel to have the page-turning drive so a murder plot has been weaved carefully with these perplexities and truths of lives,” says the author who moved to Dubai last year from Kolkata. Her book is available at Magrudy’s.

The Red Corridor is a novel of two Neplalese — a servant and a young lady, meeting through circumstances in Chennai, South India. But their fledging relationship is thwarted when she suspects him to be the murderer of her boyfriend. She delves into their past interwoven lives to investigate. Does she find a satisfying denouement, and if yes, how? That’s what the plot is all about.

Apart from some western social protocols, the research that Dokania found interesting was about the rising attempts of a taxidermist, an entrepreneur in China in 1956 when Mao Tse-tung was reforming the country according to communist ideals. “With Maoist attacks, political instability, the royal massacre and communal riots, Nepal has become synonymous with disruption. And that’s the reason I have shown the Nepali intrusions into other countries in my book. But not much of all this has seeped into the plot, rather a small window opens to give a glimpse of a contemporary conflict in Nepal. The staccato of gunfire still echoes in my mind when I remember it,” she recalls.

The title of the book The Red Corridor has a metaphorical connotation with emphasis on the riots that take place in one country can stretch to another country like a red corridor. “The discrepancy in perceptions causes racism. It’s a globally networked phenomenon which easily gets transmitted to the world due to a well-networked base. Labyrinths of red corridors not only enter connected countries but spread their tentacles across the world. And in this violent mêlée, racism has assaulted humanity and has destroyed many innocents,” she adds.

Apart from writing, Dokania is a relief artist too. “I make wall murals with 3D effect. Having done many exhibitions in India, now I am ready with my paintings to hold one in Dubai,” she reveals.

Various kinds of materials are used to give shapes, texture and depth to her artwork. Dokania’s themes include architectural buildings like forts and monuments, figurative images like fairies, Indian folklore, Greek gods and goddesses on panels with stonework and also of birds and flowers.

Music and dance are also her best ways to unwind. “I would love to learn Salsa. Writing is my passion. What a great feeling to give life to words! I am also a health freak but too lazy to work out,” she laughs.

While she continues writing, it’s her family support that she says keeps her going. “I think writing comes from the collage of our memories in life which I’ve got in abundance. One also needs to be persistently determined to take things forward which I have learnt from my brothers,” she acknowledges.

Her next book may not feature an Indo-Nepal connection. “It may have the same diaspora theme but this time I would like to write about the Nepalese and the Indians in Dubai, their web of life and experiences over here,” she concludes.

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