Cutting into the heart of a corpus of travel narratives Gagan Gill’s Awaak(Speechless) is a striking account of her pilgrimage to KailashManasarovara phantasmagoric chimera for most of us. Merging fable, myth and history with theology, Gagan Gill whisks us off along her peregrinationundertaken as a proxy for her husband, Nirmal Verma, whose longstanding desire to visit KailashManasarovar in her company could not be fulfilled. What began as a growing compulsion metamorphoses into a new penchant for life. What adds further power and value to the book is the sweep and texture of its language. Rich in meaning and visual content, it not only conveys the authors inner spirit but also manifests her genius almost unfailingly. She uses its full potential with a heightened sense of selfawareness as she mobilizes its imagemaking capacity while also creating a strong rhythm.
Gagan Gill packs her text with people and events with the close, clear gaze of a miniaturist with the result that during the time that is occupied with its reading, many magical moments come forth to bespeak her literary prowess, and we get all set to receive them readily with the same willing suspension of disbelief with which the author and her fellowpilgrims experience and accept those moments. Some of these moments are personal and some shared with others.