Seeds of Pomegranate
Author - Nilosree Biswas, Irfan Nabi
Publisher- Half baked Beans Rs299
When we are young, we believe that we will stay together forever with the one we love. However,life happens — this is a book about romance and separation with beautiful photographs that instantly grip your attention and make you want to read further, writes Avantika Bose
Seeds of Pomegranate is a short-story-photo book written and clicked by the duo Irfan Nabi and Nilosree Biswas. Another book that they worked together on is the much acclaimed Alluring Kashmir: The Inner Spirit.
Seeds of Pomegranate is narrated from the guy’s perspective. We don’t know their exact age but as you start reading further, you can figure out that they were in school when they fell in love. The girl’s name is mentioned only once; it’s Ghazal. We don’t know what the guy’s name is though. It is more like through flashbacks that the guy evokes certain moments that he had spent with his love, and on the adjacent page is a photograph related to the memory being told. Their love story is a classic case of opposites attract.
For instance, the guy talks about how she loved vibrant colours whereas he liked browns and greys and how she loved the sunrise while he hated mornings. In spite of these and many starker differences between them, they still fell in love. However, as time goes by, he confesses that even though he could never lose interest in the girl, the monotony of their relationship was too much to bear for him. He felt bored and claustrophobic. He didn’t know how long they could go ahead with it, so they parted ways.
These flashbacks very sensitively depict a myriad of human emotions — from love, boredom, monotony, hate, pain of separation, to making a choice between staying with someone you love or parting ways for your own good. It also very beautifully narrates a situation which we all have gone through — when we’re young we believe we have all the time in the world, but that concept of a lot of time is only a mirage.
As the famous quote from the TV series One Tree Hill goes, “It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re 17 and planning for some day, and then quietly, without you ever really noticing, some day is today, and that some day is yesterday and this is your life”. Another important thing that the book highlights is that when our love is new, we believe that we will spend the rest of lives with the person we love however life happens and we are forced to make decisions we wouldn’t have ever thought about making. One more fact that this book brings to light is the feeling you get when you meet your loved one after separation; there are zillions of things you want to tell each other, however, in that moment only silence engulfs you and either you ignore each other or exchange polite greetings and move forward.
The book ends in between a conversation that the ex-lovers are having. They meet in a coffee shop and their conversation is just about to get past the pleasantries when the author ends it and on the adjacent page is boldly written ‘to be cont’d…’- leaving the readers wanting for more.
Even though this story of love and romance isn’t a unique one, the style of writing makes it interesting. It is different, it pulls you in. You get lost in it while reading it. Also the beautiful photographs add to the book. The fact that they’re black and white make them intriguing. The way each picture captures emotions which can’t be described is amazing.
Irfan Nabi believes images build stories. His photographs have been exhibited at ‘Picturing Asia’ at the International Institute for Asian Studies at leiden, The Netherlands in 2015 and ‘Food: Our Global Kitchen’ at the National Geographic Museum, Washington DC, 2014. They have been published and acclaimed by National Geographic’s and Guardian Travel’s online portals. Nabi remains connected with film making, script writing and still imaging, having just completed a public service film on pedestrian rights in Mumbai. A consistent reader, Irfan loves painting and is a self-taught chef. As he puts it “I happened to study and practice medicine also.”
Co-author and filmmaker Nilosree Biswas’s documentary Broken Memory Shining Dust was an official selection at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival. It is now a part of academic library collections including Harvard and Columbia Universities, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of london and the permanent archives of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscar library). She is based in Mumbai.