French Ambassador to India Mr. Alexandre Ziegler launches Harp: Mr. Nidhi Dalmia’s debut novel

(1888PressRelease) March 31, 2017 – The French Ambassador to India, H.E. Alexandre Ziegler launched the romantic fiction novel ‚Harp’ by entrepreneur Mr. Nidhi Dalmia at his residence on Nyaya Marg yesterday. Mr. Ziegler said that the evocative impressions of Paris in the book and the author’s love for France made themselves abundantly clear and that the book was a significant step in highlighting the friendship between India and France as well as the affection and admiration of the two peoples for each other. He emphasized the need for more young Indians to travel to and study in France. He said there was potential to expand enormously the number of Indian students studying in France.

Mr. Dalmia read excerpts from his book describing the magnificent city of Paris, the deep impressions it left on him and the enormous attractions that he, as a young man, found there. He said that the love and admiration he developed for France in those years had no parallel. Breaking frequently into French, he displayed ease and comfort with the language and said he had, in fact, bought a home in Paris which was his second home and where he spent long periods of time. In conversation with Vaiju Naravane, he described how the book came to be and his writing technique.

He said he had always been ardently inclined towards writing, but his professional commitments did not earlier allow him to indulge his passion. Writing Harp brought him closer to his dream. He said the book revolved around the lives of three young protagonists. Set in the context of the zeitgeist and idealism of the late sixties, Harp was about love, longing and coming of age. The three main protagonists – a young man travelling in a Europe-less-travelled including the Iron Curtain, a young woman who has a calling to music, and another young woman who has loved and lost once – provided the frame of this narrative about journeys we make across countries, he said, even as we embark on a private quest within to know ourselves better, and to seek what it is we really want from life.

Moving through India, Europe and USA, Harp follows the lives of these three young people as they engage with the cultural, sexual, student revolutions, and the music of the sixties. Ashok, who belongs to an industrial background, wants to learn more about dairy production. He travels from India to Europe, where he meets a musician Lauren and falls in love with her. As the story progresses, he falls in love with an Indian girl named Aparna.

Speaking about the launch, Mr. Dalmia said, „It is truly an honor to be here and to have my book launched by H.E. Alexandre Ziegler. Harp is a romantic novel which speaks a lot about travel, music and culture. The book is partly set in France especially Paris – The City of Love. It is fitting that it is being launched at the French Embassy Residence.”

The launch was followed by a cocktail reception in Mr. Ziegler’s lawns. As glasses clinked and people celebrated the launch with champagne and Bordeaux wine, with French and Indian snacks, discussions revolved around the book, Indo-French relations, the upcoming elections in France and Delhi’s last few days of Spring. Among those present were:

1. Manju Kapur, renowned novelist and wife of the author
2. VN Dalmia, entrepreneur and brother of the author
3. Yashodhara Dalmia, renowned art historian and sister of the author, with husband Maseeh Rahman
4. Himani Dalmia, niece of the author, with husband Akash Premsen
5. Pranav Dalmia, nephew of the author
6. Agastya Dalmia, son of the author
7. Abha Dalmia, sister-in-law of the author
8. Dr Alka Pande, Art Curator
9. Bhaichand Patel, Author
10. Upamanyu Chatterjee, renowned writer, with wife Anne Chatterjee
11. Sunit Tandon, Theatre-person & ex-Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication
12. Ariane Gray Hubert, Pianist
13. Priya Wacziarg Engel, Neemrana Foundation & Neemrana Hotels

Nidhi Dalmia (Gun Nidhi Dalmia)
An alumnus of St Stephen’s College in Delhi, Nidhi Dalmia pursued postgraduate education at Oxford University and the Sorbonne in Paris followed by Management education at Harvard Business School. His professional life exposed him to diverse business responsibilities especially in the manufacturing sector. Harp is his first novel.

Vaiju Naravane
Vaiju Naravane was The Hindu’s Senior Europe Correspondent based in Paris for 20 years. A lecturer, she has taught at the Sciences Po Paris School of Journalism. To the many hats she wears, Navarane adds Foreign Fiction Editor with the French publishing house Albin Michel, where she has published authors like Vikram Seth, Manil Suri, Alan Hollinghurst, Esther Freud, Daniel Alarcon, Anita Nair and Anita Brookner, among others. She currently teaches journalism and media studies at Ashoka University in Haryana, where she also serves as the Executive Director of the Centre for Social and Behaviour Change.

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