Writer : Editor Team
When we got our hands on ‘Last Life I must have born an Indian’ by Pattrica Lipatapanlop, a writer we know, the first thought that came into our mind is that “such an interactive book it is!” And the interactive quality doesn’t come from flashy technological features, but from every offline element that has constituted into this book. From cover choices (fabric and Tyvek covers) to Gandhi postcards and crafted bookmarks. Flipping through the book you might be interrupted by train ticket copies hidden in some pages. Every detail invite us to touch and experience it in the simplest way.
This is the first book by Pattrica, an avid traveller who fell head over heels in love with India. She has travelled to India more than 30 times in 11 years, and this book is pretty much the result of that. She is a great storyteller and photographer, but she said that what made people experience India in the deepest way might be the texture of the book. “I told myself right away that the book has to have a texture. People who know India will understand when I say that “India has textures. What is special about India is that even though it is the simplest thing like rusty metal sheets on the street, it can become special when someone accidentally put a pink sari on top. That accidental composition looks amazingly beautiful.”
Also, the fabric cover option is not merely a gimmick. “We want to see the book being used so the texture changes naturally. The more the book is read, the edges of the book’s fabric cover will fall out bit by bit. This is what we want to see. This is India. The more it get loose, the more valuable it is. Values come from experiences, and beauty comes from imperfections.” Apart from the book, the portrait of India is reflected through trinkets that she has collected through time, from hand-made marigold bookmarks by a Delhi-based designer, vintage posters to ropes decorated by block-printing fabrics from Jaipur. Some might receive the books with the incense scent because she found the incenses she had kept and decided to use them to create special ambiance.
With all these details, she said that she and her new-found publishing house “Mala Ruedue Ron” (or Summer Flowers) were lucky to have this printing house as the partner. The owner understanded what she wanted to do and was willing to experiment with her. The result is a living book with a soul, which was definitely her goal. “The book costs a thousand Baht. So how can we convince strangers to buy our book? I feel that firstly, we need to show that we can do it. We have to show them, so they can see. They can believe and feel it. They can touch and experience it. Then they know us, and the next one will be easier. We didn’t expect that it would be a big hit. We just need a group of strong readers who love what we do. Right now we have to thank all the readers who bought the book, trusting us without knowing us before. Thank you so much.”