I discovered Vijaya Sundaram’s blog V-Hypnogogic Logic a few months ago just by browsing, to be honest, and what a happy accident that was. I was immediately taken in by her attitude — the first thing I read was an essay she’d written about consumerism in the face of poverty on a global scale, but it was not a naive, soap-box lecture, but rather the musing of someone who was compassionate but frustrated, and completely honest about her own role in the machine. It was refreshing and poetic.
Poetry, it seemed, was her native language, as I was soon to discover. Vijaya writes beautiful poetry, the way that a great painter makes art — she writes with such glorious detail that her words are the brushstrokes that give the piece character.
I was quickly taken in by her writing, and found myself devouring everything she wrote, gorging myself on her poetry and prose like the magnificent feast that it was. I began corresponding with her through her blog — lengthy tomes not just praising her work, but trying to infiltrate her mind. I would speculate upon her influences, which are myriad. Vijaya is a great lover of literature, and incorporates her influences not by shameless and petty theft, but rather by absorbing them into herself and serving them up with each tale as if it were a rich soup — no one flavour is dominant, instead, they mix together to form something wonderful and new. (I must be hungry, darlings — this last paragraph was a veritable smorgasbord of food metaphors — oops, there I go again!)
I was very much enjoying our conversations (each response of hers was equally as lengthy a missive as my own, and I feel confident she was enjoying our palaver I much as I was) and then one day she just sort of disappeared.
I didn’t know her at all, and while I wanted to reach out and ask where she’d gone, it wouldn’t be until recently that I learned where she’d went.
You can learn what details Vijaya has chosen to share on her blog, so I’ll not repeat them here. I will only say that it has been a dreadfully difficult summer for Vijaya — one of loss and mourning — and as those times tend to do, it had taken its toll on her.
Then, out of the blue, a few days ago, I saw a familiar avatar pop up on one of my posts, and I am not ashamed to say my heart leapt to see the words “DREAMER OF DREAMS”
I was sad to hear of Vijaya’s loss, but I was glad to have her back. I’m a selfish person, darlings, there’s no denying it. VIjaya’s writing adds something beautiful to my life, and I was missing it.
Before she took a break, she was writing a story set in a partly real and partly mystical India, about a widowed father and his daughter, and the bond of loyalty between them. To say that this writing is sensual is an unimaginative understatement. Vijaya immerses you in a world of opulence and riches of the Pasha’s palace to the point where you can taste the rich foods and smell the incense.
Her characters are living, breathing, evolving things — I can’t say for sure that she knew when she first started writing exactly who these two were — but as the story progressed it was clear that she had plans for them, and I imagine that if I sat down with Vijaya, she could tell me Mala’s whole life story, or the colour of her father’s eyes, or what her dead mother’s voice sounded like.
This is also a story of magic, and there are hints of this even early on if you pay attention. This is one writer not to be ignored. If you haven’t already discovered her writing, I would recommend making time for one more writer who you’ll follow loyally, checking your reader for new posts and delighting when you find one. You won’t regret it.
Oh, and welcome back, Vijaya.
This story is called The Vagabonds and the City, and can be found here: