Thursday, February 16, 2017
How did ‘Skyfire’ happen?
I was trekking a few years ago in the Langtang Valley in Nepal when I saw a kind of freakish phenomenon : a kind of boiling cloud over a lone peak.
That triggered the question in my mind of whether ‘man made weather’ was possible. That was the start of Skyfire.
What kind of research did you put into the writing of this book?
Quite a bit of writing is informed by research. The whole are of weather manipulation is only, now being taken a little more seriously, but it was very interesting to see it happening in various ways since the 1960s.
Some of these very interesting incidents are covered in my article in Outlook Magazine.
The intertwining of two complete separate themes: freak weather incidents that threaten India, while children are vanishing from the streets of Delhi.
Two seemingly, unconnected incidents, which come together in a chilling way at the end.
How did you come up with the central idea and develop it?
As I said before, the weather manipulation idea came out of a trek. The rest of it flowed organically; I wanted another much more ‘human’ element to the thriller and what better, than the very real plight we have in India, of thousands of missing children?
This is what gives the author delight – letting the imagination flow freely, ideas sprouting out of the dark, and suddenly it’s as if the light bulb goes off in your head, and you know how it’s all going to fit together in that flash of a moment.
How would you relate the book and its characters to your day to day lives and which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?
Answering both the above questions, the themes in the book are a mirror to society today. Global warming and children going missing are uncontested realities.
What I have done is add a dramatic element to these, and some of
course ‘over-the-top’ thriller elements that keep the pages turning for the reader.
I would say both Chandra and Meenu in the book are people I feel very close to. I introduced them to the readers in my first book ‘The Shadow Throne’, and over the years, have become quite close to these two creations!
They have flaws and great redeeming qualities of all heroic figures. Pant and Hassan are also taken from real life research, though they are fictional characters. I did considerable research on our intelligence agencies before drawing their profiles.
What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?
Exercising the creative imagination, and then subjecting this faculty to the tight discipline of writing – that’s what is tough and so exhilarating about being a writer.
What is the next book that you have planned?
Too early to say… I’m still rotating a couple of plots in my head. One for Young Adults, and another a full blown murder thriller.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
'The First Trillionaire' by Sapna Jha is an interesting one. Not only does it have equal shares of tragedy, love, crime, business and determination, but it tells the story of one person whose resolve, it is to become the world’s first trillionaire. It spans through her life, and tells it tale, but this we have to see…
Shailputri Singh Rathore is the girl who is at it. The story begins with her kidnapping and asking her poor mother for a large ransom. The poor girl had joined the East India Bank and ends up having to deal with the notorious, Bachcha Singh, who is out to con the bank with his doubtful financial operations. As she is in the procedure of finding out more about it, she ends up getting herself in the midst of the whole thing and gets kidnapped by Bachcha Singh’s people.
But now is the time, when we discover Shail’s identity, which was lost all this while. Shail, who is friends with the billionaire, Olivia is all set to discover more of her own mysterious identity. Olivia turns out to be the mother of a young boy, who dies under unfortunate circumstances, has a strange connection with Shail.
As the story delves deeper, into Shail’s life, we note that prior to this, Shail’s mother Vanashree, her own family, including an uncle, who runs away from home, how he becomes an ultra-cool scientist and how he ends up working with Olivia are all a part of this part.
Vanashree was going away in a helicopter with a childhood friend, young man, when an accident takes away his life. The poor girl finds herself back at her village, when she is helped by her relatives. Vanashree found herself pregnant, with Shail. She drags on and luckily for her, her daughter makes her way up in the world starting with her first job of a banker, in a small town.
Imagine the parts to this book. This was just the personal one. Moving on, we come across why and how her kidnapping happened. Why Bachcha Singh works in cohorts with Musa Khan, and even the whys and hows of the businesses in crime are placed, from banks to export houses, from agriculture to fisheries, from science to diamonds, this book has it all. We travel across India from an island in the east to the western coast with plans to go abroad.
How she ends up taking the title of the book, ‘The First Trillionaire’, how
she survives the whole
thing, how Facebook has a part to play, how her mother and her mysterious
relatives all play a part in it, how she gets captured, how the big names in
the world of crime play out their roles, and eventually how she pulls it off, are
all a part of this story, or tale of faith and its eccentrics.
How the author ties all these parts together is quite a brilliant idea, to write all these parts is good in itself and finally to put them all together is a true art. Kudos to the author, Sapna Jha and her translator, Alok Jha to have brought it all together.
You can Buy the Book, right here.
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Utkrash Patel’s ‘Satyavati’ is a challenging book. Firstly, because it came to me on Readify, an app, which I had never checked out earlier and secondly, because of all the elements of surprise that it has.
The first few and the last few pages are a complete eye opener for most people. In fact, I doubt if I mention that you probably are totally wrong if I told you that she was not born out of a fish. She and a brother are born out of wedlock to the King of Chedi and the daughter of the leader of fishermen on the banks of the river Yamuna. She is born with a strong smell of fish emanating from her body.
Her mother dies at childbirth, and it is left to her grandfather to bring her up. The child, treated badly by her father due to her smell, while the son, who was born without any odour was quickly taken in by him. But thankfully, she is brought up by her grandfather. Once, as she is ferrying Sage Parashara she ends up with a son, out of wedlock. The sage takes the son with him and leaves Matsyagandha, now free of the smell, but left with a musky fragrance and also a virgin.
Matsyagandha, who would now be known as Satyavati. She is desired by many, but finally, the one who catches her eye, is the King of Hastinapur, Shantanu. Her grandfather, the leader of the fishermen, is told of the same but he lays down the condition that her son would be the inheritor of Hastinapur. The king leaves, in much thought and grief. But Bhishma his son, who finds out about the issue comes and takes her to his father, vowing that he would remain celibate.
So, Satyavati is now Queen Satyavati and leaves for the palace. She is soon mother to Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. How then, she becomes the grandmother of the Kaurvas and the Pandavas, forms the rest of the story.
But, the best part of this telling is the many facts, which are possibly displaced, from the Mahabharata that we get to read today. She seems forgotten and rudely out of our minds. But, what she said and did are things which can now, not be forgotten so easily.
She has transformed from the lost maiden to the real reason behind, what she eventually did. She becomes a woman with foresight, the one behind the kingdom ruled out of pragmatism and sensibility, rather than the objectives, which would have been preferred. The woman left behind so many times, ends up challenging her own conscience, and tells it off, right towards the epilogue.
Very well written and given the importance it deserves. Loved the book, though of course, it is not error free. :D
Notice that societies then and now have little change, in the treatment of women. It is a sad day when a woman, was raped and asked to find her way then and is today, treated pretty much the same way.