Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

16
Jan

My readers are normal, everyday people… they can identify with someone like Robin who has the same hopes and fears as they do

A brilliant debut writer who knows how to set the tone and the pace for the reader. Introducing Steven McKay to IBR readers. His book Wolf’s Head is the journey of legendary Robin Hood, from a fun-loving young boy to a forest lord. Almost. This is the first of the series.

– Shana Susan  Ninan

Shana: Action from the word go. How exciting was it to write an action-packed novel as yours?

Steven MacKay: How exciting is it to READ an action novel? Well, double that. Writing a novel is an opportunity to let your imagination run free. Of course, I’m not writing fantasy so there are limits, but in general, Wolf’s Head was so much fun to write that it never became a chore until well into the editing stage. When we read a book we place ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists, but actually creating the protagonists is even more exciting. Working a full-time job, as I do, then coming home and spending hours writing a novel would be impossible if the writing wasn’t so much fun. Come on – how hard can it be to write about a 7 foot tall giant like Little John, kicking everyone’s ass about a forest and drinking ale with his mates?! I loved it!

SSN: So many versions of Robin Hood’s story out there in the world – in classics, movies and cartoons. How does your Robin stand out?

SM: I think my Robin stands out because he’s different to all the versions people are familiar with nowadays. The modern version of the myth has become all about a disinherited nobleman, or, like Angus Donald’s, some kind of medieval gangster. The original ballads were about a normal man, a yeoman, not a nobleman – that was all a much later addition to the legend. My Robin is a frightened teenager who slowly grows in stature until he and his friends eventually become local heroes. Wolf’s Head isn’t a story about a rich man trying to regain his wealth and property from more rich men, it’s about a normal young man fighting to survive and live a regular life without being hunted down and killed like an animal.

SSN: The violence and the gore, I enjoyed it. But I’m sure a lot of readers might find that not too easy on the eye or the mind while reading. What do you feel?

To be honest, I haven’t thought about it. A few of the reviews on Amazon have complained about the swearing, but none have mentioned the violence. When I was writing the book, right from the start I wanted it to reflect reality as much as possible. The middle-ages were a hard, extremely violent time and people today are used to seeing that violence recreated in movies or described in books by guys like Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow. I don’t want to offend anyone, and I certainly don’t want to stop people reading any future books of mine but, honestly – being hit in the face by a sword can’t have been a pleasant experience. I hope the pain and terror of something like that comes across in my writing.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)
02
Jan

I write… to understand myself.

A poet and an author. And a good thinker, too, I should add, Sanjiv Bhatla’s books have been great reads for me. His thoughts and ideas penned on paper makes you stop and look at issues and themes differently.

– Shana Susan Ninan

SSN: Let’s start with your latest book. How are the two long poems you’ve published different, in terms of plot, pace and poignancy?

Sanjiv Bhatla: A Sinner Says tries to postulate what basic ingredients went into the very creation of Human Nature. Why human beings behave and feel the way they do. What constitutes their emotions and aspirations. How God-created Human Nature prompted man to create human society.

Ninmah’s Lonely Man picks up from where A Sinner Says leaves off – its third and last sections presents the situation of “one such human being” embedded in the man-made society. First section of NLM extends this situation. It once again returns to it in the fourth and last section of NLM.

The running themes of these composite four parts are twofold: one, that God is omnipresent and all powerful, in full control of his entire creation, two, that God is in a love-hate relationship with his son – the living human being.

SSN: Did you experience some of the situations and events mentioned in ‘Ninmah’s Lonely Man’,  yourself?

SB: As said before, I try to understand myself through my writings. I may not have experienced EXACT SAME situations, but SIMILAR. In few cases I have also IMAGINED them, but in such a way that they This is a sleight of hand which a writer of Realism should be able to pull through.

SSN: God, or rather his absence, has a large presence in your works. Is that a conscious effort in the writing of the books? 

SB: I am a staunch believer, Shana. God’s omni-presence looms very large in my conscious mind. And therefore his omni-absence also looms very large in my conscious mind. The former causes elation and assurance, and the latter, desperation and dejection. Both these contra-set of emotions are more vividly espoused in Ninmah’s Lonely Man than in my other long poem, A Sinner Says. I won’t be surprised if you detect such tug of war of Belief-related contrasting emotions in my other books as well.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (6 votes cast)
30
Oct

Do same-sex relationships help to soothe scarred people? Yes & no.

Conversations with author Pauletter Mahurin, who wrote The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, via emails and messages have always been a pleasure. She’s passionate about many facts of life, animal rescue and rehabilitation toping the list. She talks to IBR about her book, the very true-to-real-life plot, her writing inspirations, and more… Read on.

Shana Susan Ninan: I cried when I read your book. I cried ‘cos I could relate to the various characters and the direction of the plot. When you wrote the story did you think of how the reader would react?

Paulette Mahurin: First let me say thank you so much Shana for having me over to your great site, for your time and generosity in reading and reviewing my book, and helping to shine a light on tolerance.

I’ve had feedback from several readers that the story made them cry, the ending in particular which unexpectedly reveals the unintended consequence of acts of hatred.  I could relate to the characters as well which may sound odd being that I am the author of the work but in reality they spoke to me and told me their stories, some through people I know and have worked with, one person in particular who committed suicide because he was gay, others from things I read about the history of lesbians, and then the varied emotions I see surrounding me in every day life, inside my head and that of others. We are all shades of the human condition, no one escapes loss and death, and some of us with compassionate hearts, sensitive souls, see these things even in fictionalized stories.

I felt the reader would react as all humans react when faced with anything, through their own subjective personal experience, conditioning, emotions, and knew it’d be all over the place. The reviews reflect this from hating it because it has a lesbian protagonist and it violates their belief system to loving it and finding God through the words of the story. I kid you not; one reader wrote to the book’s Facebook page this story helped her find her God. That floored me. I’m a practical person and don’t hold out a lot of expectations which lends to some lovely surprises as I move along in this journey called life.

SSN: How did this storyline come to you?

PM: I had been working with a person who was in the closet (as a medical provider) here in the United States. The person was tortured and abused as a child and shared this with me in confidence. It weighed on me and was present in my mind while I was in a writing class and came across a photo of two women, dressed circa turn of the twentieth century. We had to do an exercise using a photo and write a ten-minute mystery. The two factors melded together and out came the theme of the story line—a lesbian couple on the frontier afraid of being found out. It continued to haunt me after that class was over, demanding I write about it. Out poured the story, which was published six years later. The time lag was due to my having a chronic illness and limited time to put into writing as well as the amount of research and editing that all went into the book.

SSN: Fictionalised true events or pure fiction, what appeals to you as a writer?

PM: What appeals to me is the story, does it grab and hold my attention, do I relate to it, want to read it, and am I sorry when the last page is turned and it’s ended. Whether it’s fictionalized true events or pure fiction, if I’m not engaged than that speaks for what I like or not. I do find it fascinating that anything one can imagine has probably actually taken place lending to the old adage that fact is weirder than fiction. When one comes across these pieces of info it’s so interesting. I found a lot of that in writing this book, the debacle Oscar Wilde went through, how lesbians were treated on the frontier, right down to the details of aspects of daily living: what they ate, how they cooked, dressed, survived when their money ran out, etc. I loved, and got way too sidetracked, cruising down history lane as I wrote. The upside is it helped expand a few of my cerebral gray cells, lol.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (9 votes cast)
28
Sep

“Writing a book isn’t easy. It’s a struggle. It’s exciting. It’s enormously satisfying.”

Prem Rao

It Can’t Be You: I was fascinated by the title. It gave tremendous scope for me as the writer to chart out the plot of a thriller. I had made up my mind. My first book would have to be a thriller. It would be a small tribute to the thriller writers I had read and admired for years, having been a voracious reader from my early childhood.

Frequently, the thoughts and wishes of writers remain dreams until they come across a catalyst which urges them to action, to translate those dreams to reality. For me the catalyst was the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it is popularly called. An international competition held each year in which you need to write a novel of 50,000 words during the calendar month of November to be declared a winner.

The choice of a theme wasn’t too difficult for me. The story had to be at the intersection of two of my major interests, human psychology and the military. What better than to write a psychological thriller concerning a military man? I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2009. The whole of 2010 was spent in refining it, finding a publisher, etc. until the magic moment dawned on November 29, 2010. The book launch at The Crosswords at Bangalore was one of the most memorable days of my life.

My advice for what it is worth. Take to writing because you love to write not because you have to. Income by writing alone seldom brings bread on your table. I write because I re-discovered this passion after a long gap of many, many years. It’s never too late for you to start. My debut novel was published a little after my 59th birthday.

Writing a book isn’t easy. It’s a struggle. It’s exciting. It shows you what you are capable of doing and at the end of it all, it is enormously satisfying. If this appeals to you, just go ahead and write that book, the one you have been thinking of for years,

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Rating: 8.8/10 (8 votes cast)
12
Jul

My Lucky Break – The Book Publishing Industry in India

Jane Ainslie

I began writing Chai for Beginners after several trips to India. I thought it would be a great setting for a novel. I wanted to try and parallel some of my heroine’s journey with that of Sita’s, from the Ramayana, which is why my Australian character is called Sita.

It took a few years until I was happy with the story. I rewrote the book about three times and had much to learn about the craft of writing. I had even more to learn about getting published.

At times, trying to get published seemed like a giant hurdle I would never get over.  Publisher after publisher in Australia turned me down. My heart would plummet every time I received a rejection letter, but I kept going. Even so, there came a point where I believed it would never happen.

An Australian writer once said, while telling the story of how he became published, that everyone gets a lucky break. The trick, he said, is recognising that opportunity and taking it.

So, there I was, walking to my writers’ group, depressed about another rejection. I remember stopping by the train tracks as a train whizzed by, and contemplating the utter futility of being an unpublished writer. I said to God, “This is it. No more. Give me a sign or I’m giving up, because clearly this is too hard.” I meant it.

When I arrived at my writers’ group, one of the members pushed a newspaper article across the table to me.

“You should read this,” she said. “It’s about the publishing industry in India. It’s much bigger than here, and I think it might suit your book.”

There it was. My lucky break. That article, from a newspaper I never read, was the key to Chai for Beginners getting published. I submitted the manuscript to Rupa & Co, and they published my book within the year.

Writing a book is hard. Getting published can be even harder, but it is all worth it in the end.  Just remember to keep your eyes open. Luck comes in many disguises…

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Rating: 8.4/10 (8 votes cast)
08
Jul

The Destiny of Love

About the book

He loves her intensely. She loves him deeply.

One evening she walks away, walks away without answering a word, leaving him totally stunned & perplexed.

Twenty-two years later, they meet accidentally in a mall, when both have some grey hairs and few wrinkles on their faces.

What could happen in just two days? The question kept haunting on Mayur all through the years despite best efforts to forget. And Shobha…. did she manage the twists & turns of destiny correctly… ???

Was Chandani, wedded after a perfect match of horoscopes to a well settled boy from a premium institution, able to pull off her marriage?

Did Verma aunty, who always lived in tears when her only son settled permanently in US get the care and attention in the winter of her life?

This innocent & tender love story veers round the pressing issue of superstition particularly the overdoses of astro predictions & belief. Does over belief weaken one’s ability to rationally look at a thing or a problem? How far one should go in believing on these? The book raises these questions to make one think over some irrational belief.

This being the central theme, some other emotive issues too have been knit around this love tale like high values of our family relationships and bonding. Faith and patience between a husband and wife can keep a family strong even against the odds. It then touches the woes of most of the Indian parents whose children have settled abroad. The parents find it very extremely difficult to adjust with the life abroad and children are unable to come back although each of them has immense feeling for the others.  Then it also raises the issue of an arranged marriage where the parents are obsessed with their personal points while scouting a groom for her daughter.

Starting in the backdrop of 1980s, this cute and intriguing love tale stretches to the present with a suspense that is created because of some events that took place in just two days to keep you absorbed and hooked till the last page as the mystery unfolds.

To read excerpts and find out more about the book log on to:

www.lovedestinyandthosetwodays.in

About Author

Murlidhar Srivastava worked for many years with a central public sector undertaking in its marketing division. Currently residing in Patna, he is engaged in his own venture, an IT-enabled service. Book reading is his favourite pastime while writing is his hobby. This is his debut novel.

He enjoys music, especially listening to old melodies of Lata, watches cricket and loves to live far from the madding crowd.

He is available on Facebook and can be contacted at srivastavamurlidhar@gmail.com / mdsrivastva@yahoo.com

 

Read the prologue of his book Love destiny …..and those two days:

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Rating: 7.8/10 (9 votes cast)
30
Jun

“The editing process of your manuscript is just like disciplining your children – painful, but necessary!”

Author of The Dirty Secret Brent Wofingbarger talks to Indian Book Reviews about his book, the research that went into writing it and give writing and editing tips to aspiring authors.

– Shana Susan Ninan

Shana: First off, what’s the “secret” you had in mind when you framed the title, The Dirty Secret?

Brent: It was intended to refer to the fact that the Electoral College is the “dirty little secret” in America’s constitutional system. Until the close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, most people had only a vague perception that Americans do not directly elect their President. The ensuing legal battle that year over Florida’s decisive electoral votes unquestionably heightened the public’s awareness of the Electoral College, but I think the overwhelming majority of people still don’t understand exactly how it works in the real world. Part of my motivation in writing the book was to cast some light on the way it operates at a nuts-and-bolts level, and also to demonstrate how easily the whole thing could be corruptly derailed.

IBR: How did you manage to merge politics and romance and some thrilling events into one book, that, too, your debut work?

Brent: By carefully and ruthlessly sketching out the plot before I wrote a single word of the story. 🙂

In all seriousness, I find it disheartening that our country (America) is so bitterly divided right now, politically speaking. Not too long ago, even when people disagreed about certain political issues, they would still typically treat one another with mutual respect and “agree to disagree” on those political issues without poisoning their overall relationship. So as I was crafting the plot for The Dirty Secret, I found the notion of two fundamentally decent human beings from opposite sides of the political fence cooperating with one another, while slowly healing the rifts in their personal relationship, inherently satisfying. I thought having those two characters’ personal journey unfold in the context of the larger political battle would make the overall story a more enjoyable read. And judging from the feedback I’ve received from reviewers like you, it seems many readers agree. 🙂

IBR: That I totally did! Now tell us, what was the research that went into the story and the characterisation?

Brent: I was blessed to have a lot of election law experience before I started writing the book, but I definitely needed to research how the more modern, computerised voting systems operate to make the story more believable. I also had to dig a little deeper to make sure my understanding of the state and federal laws governing presidential elections was accurate. In fact, I was shocked to learn about the loophole in West Virginia law that is revealed in Chapter 55 of The Dirty Secret, and that discovery required me to adjust the plot’s trajectory somewhat.

IBR: If there are other genres you’d experiment writing in, what would they be?

Brent: Humor. I enjoy making people laugh, and I have thought about writing a collection of short stories about some of the humorous adventures my circle of friends has experienced. But I will definitely have to change the names of those involved, to protect both the innocent and the guilty. LOL.

IBR: Your reading and writing influences…

Brent: One would be John Grisham, of course. He was one of the first to transform legal conflicts into riveting entertainment. I love Stephen Ambrose, and how his passion for history helped him transform some old, dusty subjects like Lewis & Clark’s Voyage of Discovery and the construction of the transcontinental railroad into real page-turners. I enjoy the way John Scalzi and Eric Flint (in his Ring of Fire series) use regular guys with common sense and virtue as their action/adventure protagonists instead of hyper-macho dudes who just kill everything in sight. I love how Neal Stephenson allows his sense of humor to shine through his writing, a trait he shares with Scalzi. I also like how Nicholas Sparks develops an intimate bond between his readers and his characters, because I honestly believe it’s the emotional reaction readers experience when reading a story that separates the good books from the truly great ones. A good book can keep us entertained for hours, but we tend to cherish and remember books that tug at our heartstrings or evoke other strong emotions.

IBR: What was the experience like for you to draw from your experience as a law practitioner into fancying a story so similar to your work/ career?

Brent: Very rewarding. Stephen Coonts is another lawyer from West Virginia who has enjoyed an unbelievably successful career writing thrillers, and he got his start in the business when he wrote Flight of The Intruder, a tale of a U.S. Navy fighter pilot flying missions over Vietnam.  Not coincidentally, Mr. Coonts spent eight years in the cockpit as a fighter pilot before going to law school, so he was able to draw upon that experience in crafting his story.

Mr. Coonts was kind enough to share some of his insights with aspiring authors on his website, which I took to heart. And in preaching about the importance of a story’s originality, he offered this advice: “Beginning [sic] writers are well advised to write about something they know. Many beginners try to write about people and places and events that they know absolutely nothing about, and consequently expend vast quantities of time and effort but cannot get the story to read right.”

IBR: Why did you choose an Asian female protagonist for the story?

Brent: Because I wanted my story to be different than all the other thrillers on the market, and it sadly seems there is a real shortage of Asian female protagonists out there. Waves of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent have been successfully chasing the American dream and carving a place for themselves in our country for years, but it seems like their story is being given short shrift when you look at the commercial fiction shelves today.

For some reason, I was drawn to the concept of a strong, intelligent woman with exotic beauty playing the central role in my book. She had to be comfortable in her own skin, yet simultaneously be accepted as part of the community in an area of rural West Virginia that is exceptionally close-knit and is traditionally quite suspicious of outsiders. Casting Rikki as the daughter of the town’s pediatrician – an Indian immigrant who was universally respected for his competence, care and compassion – allowed her to be accepted by the community as “one of its own,” while simultaneously retaining her unique cultural heritage.

Moreover, I liked telling the story of two people who fell in love despite their different ethnic backgrounds and political beliefs. I think many people want to believe that love can conquer all, even though that idealised vision doesn’t always pan out in the real world. When my book begins and readers learn what transpired to cause Dave and Rikki’s relationship to fall apart, and they see the huge gulf that exists between them 15 years later, I like to think readers secretly start rooting for them to get back together. And the latent tension over whether that reconciliation will occur helps move the plot forward and keep readers wondering what will happen next.

IBR: Do you prefer to read single plot stories or have multiple or simultaneous plots in a story?

Brent: I personally prefer reading books where multiple plots unfold at the same time. A prime example would be the three books from Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, which I absolutely loved. I think Jack Shaftoe from that trilogy is one of the most unique, compelling, flawed, and utterly hysterical characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter, and I love the way Stephenson weaved together multiple plots in those books. Reading books like that, it feels like you’re in a chess match with the author, trying to figure out how he’s going to tie all these seemingly unrelated threads together in the end. And if the author can pull it off, that makes the whole reading experience even more satisfying to me.

IBR: When are you visiting India?

Brent: It depends on whether The Dirty Secret hits the best-seller list! LOL

I definitely want to visit India so I can personally experience its rich culture, its architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal, and to see for myself some of its vibrant, bustling cities. However, my children are still quite young (I have a three-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son), and I’m pretty sure they would find it challenging to tolerate the 20+ hour long plane ride to India. So my wife and I will probably have to start training them by taking a shorter trip to her Caribbean homeland (Trinidad & Tobago) in order to build up their endurance for the longer pilgrimage to India. 🙂

IBR: Any lines for those debut authors trying their hands at political thrillers?

Brent: Life is too short. Stop thinking about it and just do it! Sit down, think through and outline your plot, and draw up paragraph-length portraits of your characters to help you understand who they are and how they think.  Research the story’s aspects you aren’t personally knowledgeable about to make sure your story is as factually accurate as possible. Review The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Then start writing. Remember that Rome was not built in a day, but in order to begin your journey, you have to take that first step and begin writing. Establish reasonable writing goals and try to put aside a set amount of time at least a few days each week (if not every day) to work on your book. Consider using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to maximize your efficiency (but use a high-quality microphone to capture your dictation if you do.)

After you “finish” writing the book, put it aside and don’t even look at it for at least 30 days.  Then take it back out and edit it ruthlessly. Cut out every scene that is not crucial to moving the plot forward, and cut out every surplus word that is not truly necessary. For instance, my first draft of The Dirty Secret was over 1,79,000 words, but the final version ended up at just a little over 1.13,000 words!  Writers view their books like their babies. But even though we love our children, we realise they need discipline to become the best they can be, and the editing process is just like disciplining your children – painful, but necessary! 🙂

Ask a few avid readers whose judgment you trust to read the book and offer their feedback as “beta readers.” Implement those suggestions you feel have merit and revise the book accordingly. Ruthlessly edit it again and again until you are convinced that you have written the best book you are capable of writing on your own, and then find (and pay) a professional editor to go over it with a fine-toothed comb. I used Rob Bignell and found him extremely competent, extremely affordable, and his suggested changes were great ones.

If any aspiring authors have any other questions, they can look me up on my website at www.wolfingbarger.com.

Good luck!

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Rating: 9.9/10 (8 votes cast)
09
May

The Global Language called English

About her books

Chitra Lele, the young author’s books and literary creations have set national records, received positive reviews, and garnered praise from world leaders, best-selling authors, management gurus and business leaders. Her latest academic book on the importance of English in today’s world globalization, English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth, has entered the India Book of Records as part of Chitra’s latest Record—A Versatile Writer. English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth—Languages open a vista for learners. The more languages one knows the better are the chances for progress. English provides a chance to develop in any field of one’s choice. It helps one to grow. It does not confine a citizen to his or her own nation. It opens the possibilities to be global in a real sense and it is a shockproof cover against the shockwaves of globalization. We have much to share with each other and having a common language is the first step along that road to engaging in commerce and scientific research and to sharing knowledge and friendship. This is where English steps in, and my book, English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth reflects this very philosophy. It deals with the global aspects of English like educational equity, cross-cultural sensitivity, seamless cohesion, etc., in an engaging and stimulating manner.

About the author

Chitra Lele is a young record-setting author, multi-time world record holder, keynote speaker and management consultant, all rolled into one. Her publications include academic and reference books, international anthologies, peace poems, scholarly articles and research papers. Chitra’s books have become very popular in government libraries, universities and colleges, and corporate workshops. She conducts sessions on team management and personal transformation across the world. Chitra has been conferred with the title of  “A Versatile Writer” by the India Book of Records. She set this record by penning maximum number of academic books in a short span of 18 months.

The books belong to various genres, right from computer science to business management. Chitra’s books and literary creations have set world records, received positive reviews, and garnered praise from world leaders (President of India, Queen Elizabeth II and many more), best-selling authors, management gurus and business leaders. Some of her record-setting titles are: The 6 Spheres of Life: Unlocking the Door to Success and Happiness, Organizational Democracy: Collaborative Team Culture: Key to Corporate Growth and English Language: The Gateway to Global Growth. Her books certainly will help you to break through barriers to reach your goals and conquer new frontiers.

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Rating: 8.6/10 (7 votes cast)
08
Mar

“Women’s perseverance and strength of character see them through. …aptly demonstrated by Amrapali’s story.”

Author of The Legend of Amrapali, Anurag Anand talks to IBR about his third book, his eagerness to throw light on the illustrious life of the danseuse and women as role models today. Read on!

IBR (Shana Susan): After two books, what made you choose a female lead for your story?

Anurag Anand: A story can hold enough intrigue and complexities regardless of the protagonist’s gender. There are enough examples in the texts of history and even the current day where women have led lives no less adventurous and exciting than their male counterparts. Hence, the lead being a female was merely a derivative of the exhilarating and inspiring nature of the story and not some frivolous fancy to bring about gender equality in my writings.

IBR: Why Amrapali, and not any other famous woman from history?

AA: In the current times there are many who have heard of the legendary courtesan Amrapali, but not many know of her. There is little recorded history to corroborate the grandiose anecdotes and tales from her life that have been passed down for over 2,500 years now. Her unmatched beauty, her magical dance moves and her benevolence, all remain unsubstantiated and the only recorded facts about Amrapali’s life can be found in some Buddhist scriptures, since she is said to have renounced all her worldly riches to become the first Buddhist nun. The resultant gaps in her story presented an exciting opportunity for it to be mingled with fiction and retold in a manner that the readers of today can relate to, which is what I have attempted with The Legend of Amrapali.

IBR: Part in the book you totally enjoyed writing…

AA: Like the readers, often writers too find themselves being swayed by the twists and pace of a story. In this regard, the last few chapters of the book where the crafty political machinations of the Nagavadhu begin to unfold were the most absorbing ones. I found myself continuously thinking about what would transpire next and had to fight a strong urge to run through the story in a single sitting. At that stage it was extremely difficult for me to keep myself away from the writing table.

IBR: What was the research done for this story? Did it take you long to finalise the finished book?

AA: The research for the book was an extensive process. I not only read and saw all past works that have been done on the subject – from Bollywood movies to television serials and from comic books to novels in other languages, but I also had to do extensive reading about the period – prevailing customs, attire and language of the masses, and the geographical, political and religious factors that played a role in shaping the everyday lives of the people. The research took a little over six months, post which I got down to penning the story. The first satisfactory draft of the book took about 15 months to shape.

IBR: The politics of Vaishali, is that seen even in today’s India?

AA: The nature and form of governance, the players involved and the strategies adopted by them might have differed, but the motivators in the corridors of politics have remained constant through the passage of time. The same greed and lust for power which saw Lord Ram spending fourteen years in exile, which has seen mighty kings being slain by their own brood, and which has got brothers up in arms against their own siblings can still be found lurking in the backdrop of almost every politically significant decision that one hears about today. And sadly enough, these covetous motivators have ingrained themselves into the very fabric of politics, depriving it of any traces of altruism and selflessness.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (5 votes cast)
07
Mar

The Voice of Womanhood!

About The book:

A Calendar too Crowded, by Sagarika Chakraborty, is a collection of 25 short stories and poems, where the concept revolves around the celebratory days on the calendar we follow, where a large number of important days are dedicated to women or life in general where women play a major role. The attempt is not to highlight how in January, there’s a day in India dedicated to girl children, or how April has come to be officially declared as a month against sexual abuse throughout the world. The attempt is to delve deeper and analyze whether it is merely enough to rely on statistics and be complacent in the knowledge that the numbers indicate a better society in the making, or whether there is an urgent need to look beneath the covers and realize that despite all such dedicated days, there are 300-odd days when there is nothing special that life has to offer. Where each day is still an unending drudgery, where womanhood is cursed and trampled upon.

It is also an attempt to look into houses where everything looks picture perfect on the surface, but there are blatant cases of domestic violence and gender inequality that have been swept under the carpet for fear of tainting the family name and image. The attempt is to bring forth the bruises hidden beneath each lavishly draped body that need to be highlighted even on days which are not dedicated to campaigns against domestic violence. All the voices that have found expression in this book through their stories are nameless, because no name would justify a voice which represents millions. They transgress all boundaries of geography, religion, age and caste to become one voice – the voice of womanhood.

Each and every voice in these stories can be connected to any woman you see around you and they seek to say that all women deserve to be happy every day of the year, because every day in the calendar of every woman’s life is precious, just like yours.

Highlights of the book:

  • The book revolves about the central theme of womanhood and is the first of its kind where the entire layout has been based on the theme of a calendar.
  • The stories are spun around the days attributed to women and children – Mother’s Day, Women’s Day, National Day for Girl Child
  • The book was launched at ISB Hyderabad by author Ashwin Sanghi and Dean, Ajit Rangnekar  – Ashwin, while lauding the efforts that has gone into making of the book, also felt that he related to the theme of the book. He emphasized that “Both my novels revolve around the theme of Shakti/Nari and somehow thus the very fact that here too women on the whole is the centre and the effort is to showcase the drudgery they go through, yet the strength they retain, makes me feel connected to it”
  • The book received special mention at the Hyderabad Literary Festival, 2012 (January 17, 2012)

 

About the Author:

Sagarika Chakraborty, born in Kolkata, studied law at National Law University, Jodhpur and is currently studying management at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Her projects and numerous articles on diverse subjects – corporate governance principles with special emphasis on emerging and transition economies, globalization, ethics, monetary economics, religion – have been published in Indian and international publications.

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