I have collected 33 short stories of mine into an ebook which will be published next week. Most of these stories were written in the last two years and published in my blog. Just to give a taste of what the stories are like, let me give the links to three stories selected at random:
Ahalya – the first story in the volume
And quiet flowed the Beas – the tenth story
The Nomad Learns Morality – the title story
The volume is dedicated to “Radha Soami Satsang Beas especially Dr Pranita Gopal.” RSSB is a religious organisation which took over a school in Delhi where I was teaching for quite a while. In about two years the organisation bulldozed the school to smithereens. The bulldozer became my guru and muse. However, the stories are in no way related to the school or RSSB. Not at all to the bulldozer. Not even to Dr Pranita Gopal. All these happened to be my best inspirers. I’m obliged to them eternally. Were it not for them, the potential for fiction writing would have died quietly within me. As Lord Rama’s touch brought life to Ahalya, RSSB brought a different life to the writer in me. Dr Gopal is one of the many faces of RSSB that I came close to. My admiration for her grows day by day.
I’m now working on a novel which is totally inspired by the RSSB. The novel is tentatively titled Black Hole. Following is an extract from it:
In the beginning was a black hole. The black hole was with God, and the black hole was God. All things existed in the black hole. Nothing could escape the tenacity with which the black hole held everything within it. The bonds of that tenacity grew strong and stronger until the black hole could not bear the bondage anymore. And it exploded. Boom. Big Bang. And the black hole became flesh.
Ishan Salman Panicker was writing his gospel.
The picture in this post is not the actual cover of the book. I designed it for fun. I now live a few metres away from the road in the picture. It is a picturesque village in Kerala whose landscapes suffuse beauty and vigour into my soul through an osmotic process which could not have taken place elsewhere. I’m grateful to RSSB and its people for giving me this gift without even their knowledge.
That’s how life works. We become agents of transmutation in other people’s lives. We can be Desdemonas or Iagos. Othello may fail to recognise the genuine face. Othellos, Desdemonas and Iagos create art for us. My stories are humble attempts to catch some of those aesthetic moments of life. Some of those glimpses which may add some beauty to a life that is otherwise bulldozed over.