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.