01 December, 2020

Confessions Of A Xenophile

Next to my own country, India, there is no place in the world that has been more important to my development as a writer than Egypt...

Confessions Of A Xenophile
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Next to my own country, India, there is no place in the world that has been more important to my development as a writer than Egypt. It is now nearly twenty-eight years since I first landed in Cairo, on April 19 ,1980: I was then twenty-four years old, and I had come to explore what was to me a new, but not entirely unknown world. The immediate pretext for my journey was research: a short while before I had won a scholarship that took me from Delhi University to Oxford, to study social anthropology. My dream was of writing fiction, but like many an aspiring novelist I felt I lacked the necessary richness of experience. The writers I admired – V.S.Naipaul, James Baldwin and others – had gone out into the world and watched it go by: I wanted no less for myself. The scholarship was a godsend because it allowed me to choose where I wanted to go and in my case it was Egypt. Through the good offices of Dr. Aly Issa, an eminent anthropologist from Alexandria, I was soon installed in a small village in the Governorate of Beheira, near the town of...
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