Monday, October 4, 2010

The Kaal Trilogy - Book I (Jaal - The Web)

I knew that there's a world where people blog, but had never quite believed I'd ever get so tech-savvy as to actually create one myself! I guess that's what something giddily, amazingly wonderful like signing the contract with a Publisher like Picador for your first book does to you!! Mita Kapoor of Siyahi - the super-efficient and super-cool literary agency that represents me - told me rather sternly that I'd better get down to blogging urgently, since the release of the book is barely six months away, and since I've always benefited from following her strictures, I meekly agreed. This is only the first, introductory blog; more delicious teasers will follow.

Picador and I decided to call it the Time Trilogy - until we realised that other similar-sounding books are also on the prowl in the market! So we changed our mind and decided to go for something more exotic, and settled on calling the series 'The Kaal Trilogy'. What would be coming out in January 2011 is the First Book of the series. The book's in English, but since the ethos, philosophy and setting is completely Indian, I'd given it the working title of 'Kaal-Jaal', which those of you who know a bit of Sanskrit/Hindi would rightly translate as 'The Web of Time'. (And those of you who don't have now had it translated for you!). The Picador Editor and I both unsuccessfully racked our brains to find something equally zingy and evocative in English, but the story would accept no other name. We compromised, therefore, on "Jaal - The Web"; the book hummed and hawed and finally agreed, graciously enough, to accept the new name.

So what's the book about? Well, to begin with, it's nothing like anything any of you'd have ever read. In fact, to tell you the truth, it's nothing like anything I had imagined producing when I started on the writing, several years ago. Several years, you ask? Well, when you are writing 500 A-4 pages of a startlingly original tale set in a world that you create as you go along, it can't really be done in a day - or even a year. The blurb goes something like this -

“Jaal - The Web”, which could be described as a Heroic Epic, is the first Book of a Trilogy set in an imagined world akin to ours and reminiscent of India in the immediate post-Vedic Era. Each Book of the Trilogy outlines a different phase in the highly unusual life of the main protagonist, Arihant, visualized by the Universe as both Taarak - The Saviour, and Vinaashak - The Destroyer. The first Book starts with Arihant’s birth and follows, through the first 18 years of his existence, the process of his growth not just as a human being but also as a Divine Machine - the Possibility evolving from a long line of Probabilities. Brought into existence by the Universe for a specific purpose, he shoulders an awesome Responsibility, the easier part of which is to destroy Aushij, the Lord of Maya - Cosmic Illusion. Tricked into a Prison of Dreams by His Siblings, the Deceived God has awaited, through the centuries, the triggering of His Awakening by the coming of a worthy Antagonist….

Arihant has the Universal appeal of the Super Hero who, even as he grows to fit the Prophesy of his incredible Destiny, never outgrows the emotional vulnerability of his humanity, his sense of perspective - and his sense of humour. This special quality is what makes the reader identify with him at the deepest level, generating the conviction that we could all be like him if we tried hard enough. Arihant appeals to the invincible spirit in all of us, for he shares with us his strength and gives us the gift of hope and dignity to face the vicissitudes of life. This is what makes the book an absorbing, enthralling read.

The reader is taken on a fascinating journey along with Arihant, who is confronted, as the Book progresses, not only with enemies both temporal and Mayavi; he must also struggle and come to terms with the dizzying, often shocking, unfolding of his own selfhood, purpose and potential. As he goes through his transformation and growth, he learns to conquer the foes that lie in wait for him both within and without. Until he faces the penultimate challenge that the Lord of Illusions has created for him - a battle with his own dark alter-ego, in which he must defeat himself and kill what is dearest to him. Only in his own death can he find the ultimate transformation necessary to take on the Great Asura Aushij."

Everyone who has read the book - from the Siyahi team to the people at Picador, from friends who've been given a sneak-peek into the pages of this special world to close family who've traveled the distance with me every step of the way - has fallen head-over-heels in love with Arihant! When you read my next post, you'll figure out why, since I plan to give you a pen-picture of the man designed to destroy a God - a man who evolves into something more than human and yet, in some ways, less so... So watch out for the next post within a week!


  1. hi

    sounds like a really interesting book. i will buy it if you give me a signed autographed copy.


  2. me too - a signed copy.. and am waiting for more peeks into the book.. I am quite interested in reading the book since i never knew there was a writer growing up around me.. long ago!! :-).. and also to see what you have actually written!! is it a pure fiction that you conjured up.. or is it driven by some inner urge in you or is it something based on what you have seen around you or is it a mixture of these or none at all. i am very curious... to know what makes writers churn out their thoughts into cohesive books.. my own mind churns thousands of thoughts at every moment and i write a lot on..things.. in my own areas inside my office.. and people tell me to write in a wider forum.. but i know i cannot ever write a book.. and so am very curious to know your mind.. the writer's mind.... so maybe you can also make this blog give reveal something of your mind and not just excerpts from the book.. i mean one can always read the book.. and should buy to read not come here to get the story.. what is more needed perhaps and what will serve your purpose to establish yourself as a writer perhaps is to build a rapport with you and your readers by giving them a guided tour to your mind.

  3. waiting for it.. and a signed copy at that..apologies first hand as i have not had enough inspiration in the last weeks to get to putting a form to arihant as you asked... just been drowning in my other life @ work.. :(

  4. your dream is coming true finally and siyahi is so proud to be a part of it...thank you and am sure the book will be a roaring success...

  5. Sounds like a fascinating book...look forward to reading it...

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  7. Great, sounds mindblowing. Am going to order it online right now.
    Sadhna Shrivastav

  8. Just finished reading the book- awaiting the next book.
    A good tale with a heavy dose of female fantasy. An iterpretation of the vedic events/intities clearly revealing the web of biases and beliefs the author is trapped in. The story is well told but fails to surprise the reader with any new thought. Also exposes the author's mind and soal threadbare- and hence unable to generate the two most important qualities of an author from a reader's point of view - an aura of mystery and awe (which is also the essence of both the female gender and God.) By revealing /exposing the innermost fantasies of a female- and screaming at the top of her voice to be accepted and recongnized as a superior being - the author has degendered herself.
    The book is a very good study material for the psychiatrist.
    She has reasonable mastery over the English language (with some confusion in the idioms- and obvious gramattical errors normally made by us Indians) and sanskrit vedic terminology sans any understanding of the deeper meaning. These shortcomings do not anyway effect the communication between the author and an Indian reader. A non-Indian reader, although may understand the sanskrit terms, is likely to get a bit confused with the mixed idioms.

    Nevertheless I applaud a good and sincere effort- and hoping she creates some new imagery and tells some interesting tales in the future- after shedding all her emotions & autobiographical contents in the first book itself.