Thursday, April 26, 2012

For all I know, Jaal is already rolling hot off the press at this very moment! Sitting here in London, it's impossible to keep real-time tabs even on matters of such grave import, and makes me wish I had delayed giving in to the temptation of a posting for another year or so. However, since I did, I can only sit here and chew my nails and feel like a manic depressive - wildly elated one moment, terrified out of my wits the next. After all, it's not everyday that an author's very first book takes concrete shape - and this one's taken longer than most. If I hadn't lost my way, for many long years, in the dark valleys and alleys of self-doubt and depression, I might have faced this incredibly exhilarating, heart-stoppingly scary moment twenty years ago. After all, I wrote my first novel at 15, followed by almost a dozen others before I graduated from college - any one of them could have been my first in print! When my school and college friends first heard about Jaal, the reaction I mostly got wasn't 'Wow!' or 'How amazing!'; it was simply 'What took you so long?' A rhetorical question that was as flattering as it was disconcerting - everyone seems to have expected far more from me than I expected from myself through a crucial chunk of my life!       

Jaal began, in fact, as a sort of last-ditch attempt to reclaim myself - a kind of 'singing-in-the-dark' bravado, a ritual exorcism of the darkness that had shrouded my heart and my mind through long years of self-denial, of cutting myself down to fit other people's perceptions, of the gradual crumbling of all my preconceived notions about myself, my existence, my relationships and the choices I had made. Jaal began as a sort of defence against my bewildered despair and, amazingly, metamorphosed into a vehicle for my transformation. That is why, perhaps, the only name the trilogy would ever accept, no matter how hard I tried, was ‘Kaal’ - that tricky Sanskrit word denoting both Time and Death, and resonating, at other frequencies, with the connotations of healing, renewal, rebirth. As the world of ‘Kaal’ acquired form and substance, the original concept I had started with underwent constant, often astonishing, metamorphosis, inducing as well as reflecting my own evolution. And yet, it is not a self-indulgent book - nothing like the disguised autobiographies that often take the shape of a first novel. I have put my heart and soul into it, but it is not about me at all - it spans a whole universe of concepts and ideas that define what lies beyond the self-centred, humdrum, everyday world so many of us choose to live in, for one reason or another. As the home page of the website says, Jaal is  'A heroic epic; A journey of self; A tale of inward realization of potentials; A vision of Time and Death, of healing, renewal and rebirth.' 

In my next post, I will talk a little more about the parameters that define Jaal - and the colours that make it so vibrant.       

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It seems there's some confusion about the status of Jaal still - some friends have written to me saying they have been desperately looking for the book but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere! Wanted to clarify that Jaal will be in the bookshops only in May 2012 - probably towards the middle of the month. It's being launched with a great deal of fanfare by Pan MacMillan, so it should be easily - and prominently - available in all major outlets once it's in print!

Also, do make an effort and leave comments on the blog, folks! I know you are all busy, but it takes just a couple of minutes and would be a great morale-booster for me! And just think - when the book's a best-seller, wouldn't it be great to know that you've played a very special role in giving life to the world of the Kaal Trilogy?! I expect all my friends out there to pitch in and help and spread the good word - and I'll love you for it!    

Friday, April 6, 2012

Things are moving so rapidly on the book front that the feeling is almost telescopic! For months on end, nothing seemed to move, and now suddenly there's a virtual flood of information and interaction, decisions and action! The formal launch is being planned around June 15, and the idea is to make it as new and different and scintillating as possible, with a minimum of the usual boring stuff that leaves everyone - including the author, I suspect! - yawning by the end of it.

Anyway, more of that later.  Just wanted to share that the book-cover's looking gorgeous - will put it up shortly for all of you to have a sneak-peak before it's seen on the bookshelves in May. Like just about every other practical process connected with Jaal, the cover illustration gave all of us a lot of grief. All the options offered before this one were simply disastrous, and I was literally tearing my hair out, wondering whether the book would finally have to go to press with a blank cover. And then suddenly, there it was - almost as though it had simply been hovering in the wings, waiting to be noticed! We took one look and cast our votes in favour. Hope you will love it, too - that's the closest any artist has come to giving a face to my Arihant, the way I see him. By the time this illustration came along, I had begun to develop a very real sympathy for witnesses required to work with a police artist to recreate on paper a face they can visualise but cannot themselves sketch!

At the end of Jaal, the first book of the trilogy, Arihant is just eighteen - a newly-crafted Divine Weapon whose arrival has been breathlessly awaited for many millennia, and whose body, mind and soul have been honed and stretched to perfection through an incredible process only he could have undergone - and survived. As you go through the book, you'll find yourself swept up into that swirl of freshness, excitement, discovery and wonder, for Arihant is his own definition - someone you have never met before, in life or between the covers of a book, but who resonates to everything you yourself are - and everything you have ever wanted to be. Maybe that's why the people who have travelled the road of Jaal with me and have been involved with its shaping and cementing have inevitably confessed to have fallen helplessly in love with him. Arihant appeals to the invincible spirit in you, for he shares with you his strength and gives you the gift of hope and dignity to face the vicissitudes of life. He makes you identify with him at the deepest level, generating the conviction that you could be like him if you tried hard enough. He 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 - or his sense of humour. 

Yeah, yeah, I know - an author would obviously say these things about her/his own creation, right? Wrong. For Arihant is not my 'creation' - he came to me as a gift, just as the book did, from somewhere beyond my ken - an inspiration, if you will. Shades of light that clicked together to make an astonishing pattern - that's how I see Jaal, and hope that you'll catch glimpses of that as you read the book.

If you haven't yet seen the website, please check out The final cover illustration will be going up shortly to replace the interim one we had used earlier, and there will also be some more changes coming along, but in the meanwhile, I'd love to read your comments/questions on the book, the website, Arihant, the world of Kaal - anything you may like to share. If there's something specific you'd like me to post on, do tell me...   

Monday, April 2, 2012

Good News!!

Jaal is finally being launched in mid may 2012. Expect all of you to go out and buy a copy!!
It is going to be a major laauch for Pan Mcmillan and it will be their Super Lead title. There is a hectic schedule of events to launch this book in Delhi, London and other cities and I will be giving interviews, talks amongst other things. Really excited by the whole thing. The cover is also ready and I will soon put it up on the Blog.