Tourism and Fiction come together for a number of reasons. The bond between the two is much deeper than meets the eye. They are essentially a result of the human desire to explore new experience. They help people to renew their spirits by providing delight and knowledge in particular places and times. They are loved because they offer grounds for excitement, thrill or simply a change from the routine that kills the joy of life. They provide an escape from the drudgery of daily life. They act upon the mind and touch the soul with “tranquil restoration”. In order to like our homes and our places of work, we need to go away from them, elsewhere, into different worlds. In fiction, as in travel, we enter another world, different to our own, and see how other places are and how other people struggle with their own problems. This change is a welcome relief. It is health-giving and rejuvenating.
When I write most of my stories, I have this at the back of my mind; I consider it my responsibility to take the reader into another realm of experience; to make them see new cultures and people. My fiction aims at a kind of literary tourism. My novels, as well as my short stories, are largely multicultural. My exposure to Europeans, Americans, and Asians from early childhood has impacted me in a large way. I consider it vital for people all over the globe to see this process of intermingling at work. We talk of the global village in political and other circles but little know how it works out. Multicultural fiction makes that possible. Through this literary genre, one watches, as in a film, how culture can become either a wall or a bridge between people.
Going from place to place adds new layers of knowledgeable experience for the tourist of places or for the reader of a fiction that takes you to places. For one settled abroad, travel can take you back to your roots or your home country. Similarly, reading about your home country in fiction can help you to revisit your country and see how it is now. Literary fiction has the capacity to show you this from the comfort of your home. The literary tourism of INTRIGUING WOMEN makes this possible.
Intriguing Women is the title of my new story collection. Whereas as New India is the subject of a number of its stories, a picture of how the New West appears to a traveler is equally the content of these stories. Intriguing Women has the potential to help women and men look at themselves as they appear in the contemporary scenario.
Lakshmi Raj Sharma