I think of letters as a form that allows you to have a kind of chatty domestic conversation that also launches out toward larger public issues. It’s a form that allows the writer to almost fall into secrets that they can reveal. It’s interesting in that way; it’s both relaxed and urgent.
Kolkata is a place that you feel in all of your senses. Visually there’s a lot happening, the traffic is intense, the honking is almost nonstop. It’s hard to have a conversation on the street. The heat is intense. I knew that I wanted to start the essay with how saturated this stretch of the city is, with sounds and heat and so much happening.
With every story, you have to teach the reader how to read it. You have to teach the reader what matters. You have to do all of that without the reader figuring it out, without it feeling too burdensome.