Anubhav Kandpal is all of 32 but as he himself says he is mature for his age when he writes. “We get to live”, the youngster’s maiden book is a trove of wisdom and belies his age — it is an offering from a wise head on very young shoulders.
Not that his mindset is constant in this phase. He is 15 when he is out in Nature but mostly his observations reflect a deeper understanding, wider reflection, intense introspection and a metaphysical view of life.
It is a sign of our times that more and more youngsters like Anubhav are penning books at a much younger age and that too on aspects of life which someone would comment upon only after having experienced the vicissitudes of the world.
Young authors like Sachin Garg and Meghna Pant come to mind immediately when we scan the new kids on the block and they have now emerged as alternatives to the Chetan Bhagats and Arundhati Roys, whose time it seems has passed. These are writers who are more adventurous, experimental and daring to explore topics hitherto not considered to be within their ken.
Anubhav deals with interdependence and individuality, identity, spirituality, issues of love and power in a free-flowing narrative which is highly absorbing. The approach is that of a seeker or an explorer and what I liked was the absence of certitudes and definitiveness in his analysis of life.
He starts off the compendium with a chapter on separation even though the first sentence of the book is that “We are inescapably and intimately connected with everything”. Liberally quoting from the likes of David Bohm, the avant garde theoretical physicist and Carlo Rovelli, who famously expounded the theory of physics without “time”, Anubhav makes a strong case for a different prism to look at the world.
If Aristotelian logic was bivalent, further evolution through the Buddha and others have given us additional perspectives to view ourselves and the world. Instead of the traditional true/false categories, we have at least two more ways of “both true and false” and “neither true nor false” of looking at what we perceive as reality. In a cinematic sense, this would be a Roshomon-like look at the world. Reading “We get to Live” reminds us of the multivalence of logical thinking itself.
As Anubhav traverses through different chapters titled “The Mind Speaks”, “Humankind and Nature”, “Purpose” and “Spirituality and the Heart”, what emerges is an exploration into how Nature not only sustains us but also inspires us with its timeless wisdom.
He meanders at times but there is much that is consistent, reflecting a mind that seeks to see beyond the surface, connect the dots and arrive at meaningful derivations. Anubhav Kandpal’s first book is refreshingly new. Though he may not have all the answers, he succeeds in raising some important existential questions.