Author interview (Reproduced from PEBBLE IN THE STILL WATERS)
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Hon’ble President of this function Sh Laxmi Shankar Bajpai ji, Hon’ble Chief Guest Sh Bhagat Singh Koshiyari ji, special guests, Dr. Hari Suman Bisht ji, Sh DS Rawat ji, Sh Charu Tiwari ji, Sh Amba Dutt Bhatt ji, Shri Harish Sharma ji and honorable guests, dear friends in the hall:
Good evening and welcome! It’s great pleasure to have all of you here. I thank you for joining us this evening from far off places after a daylong tiring work in offices, especially in this month of humid summer braving all the rains and traffic jams in Delhi.
Some Mistakes Have No Pardon. But please pardon me to speak in English, as some of you prefer Hindi as contact language. Otherwise some of my rogue friends, who are not in this hall today, may think that I have plagiarized, copy-pasted this English novel.
How the idea of writing came
As an author I am expected to reveal what made me write this book. As most of you know I am engaged in a small business in the IT sector, then what caused me write books? Your natural question would be what was my motivation and reason to write this book. Before I talk about this book, please permit me to little retrogress into the past. Though I was always fascinated by writers as we used to read their literature, their life history as a text in the school books, yet the art and science of writing did not easily came into my life. Primarily, also because the early years in life we spend more time in shaping a career that can earn bread.
Writing skills remained untapped and dormant for years as I, like any other youth, remained over-occupied to earn my bread and settle in inside and outside home. My first book ‘IT for Retail’ published by Oxford University Press was accidental, if I can say that. It was only in 2006 when two business management school in Delhi, viz Indian Retail School and Pearl Academy invited me to engage as a guest faculty to lecture their students on applications of information technology in business, IT being my specialization. When my students asked me about a good book on the subject, I searched on the net and few books stores in Delhi. I found none. So I put together a synopsis and mailed it four publishers; I received a favorable reply from three, and finally signed the Agreement with OUP in 2008. Therefore, I can say that the first book was not planned, it was accidental. Thus the success of first was followed by another, Management Information System which was published by OUP in 2013.
My motivation to write this novel
Now you may be wandering why I ventured into story writing. Being a published author on educational books, it should have been more logical and palatable for me to explore more on the educational side, where I was an accepted author and supported by world class publishers like OUP.
The motivation and catalysts for writing poetry and stories are some innate emotions of human life. A couplet from a poem by Laxmi Shankar Bajpai ji sums it all:
दर्द से दामन खूब भरा है। जीने का भरपूर मज़ा है।।
बेबस होकर जीने वाला, सच पूछो तो रोज़ मरा है।।
What made me write this novel? To answer this question I would like to quote Toni Morrison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner novelist from America. She once said: ‘If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ So, I wanted to read a story that hadn’t been written. I decided to write a novel, I wrote a novel that I wanted to read, and I read it many times before it saw the light of the day. Thus I felt like I had something to tell the world. I just wrote what I knew.
Different people have different reasons for writing
See, different people of different reasons for writing. Some have a natural talent for writing. They choose journalism, teaching, etc. as their profession, as simply writing is not regarded as a job that can earn you enough money or make you rich. But we have exceptions, many authors in India and worldwide became rich just by penning down few novels. You know about J K Rowling, Salman Rushdie, our own Late Khushwant Singh, now Chetan Bhagat has bagged more than a few crores in his kitty. The second category is of authors are who nurture writing as their hobby. They just do it for fun, for pleasure, and sometimes, for vanity. Most of the contemporary writers fall in this category. They don’t look at money part, rather they spend money on publishing their work and distribute the book to their friends and relatives. The third category is of therapeutic writers – people who adapt writing as a therapy for many great illnesses. They embrace writing as a tool to release tension, writing as a solution for their own loneliness, and writing as medicine for many great depressions. Perhaps, I fall in the last category.
What is this novel all about?
This book is about relationships. And how relationships impact peace and happiness in any person’s life. The blurb on this novel says that this is a story of a man who struggles to find love, peace, and happiness. This is a story of trials, tribulations, and triumphs. It is about achievements and success despite of deprivations and impoverishment; and this is about failures because of ill-managed relations. Girish Kainmola, the protagonist of this novel wins despite of many defeats; he succeeds despite of many failures. And he fails despite of many successes. So I can say that this novel is about relationships. RELATIONSHIPS management in bold capital letters.
This novel also illustrates how destiny is shaped by circumstances around a person’s life and how destiny impacts the circumstances and thus leading to impacted peace and happiness that we all crave for.
Life, or the vagaries of life has taught me to value relationships. I think the successes and failures in the life of a person depend on how well he or she is able to manage his relations. All monetary achievements and professional accomplishments are worthless if the relationships are ill managed. When I say relationships, it involves all – relations with parents, relations with children, relations between wife and husband, relations with boss and subordinate, relations with brothers and sisters…and so on. So I believe that the key to happiness is not money accumulations or a plum post in a multinational corporation, but how well we manage our relationships.
What does it teach?
Some of you may have this question. ‘What does it teach, or how do I benefit by reading this book?’ As all books proclaim that there is some element of education in them. They teach something, like how to get motivation, how to win friends, how to grow rich, like how to be successful in life, or how to manage odds, or how to overcome difficulties. But, I think this book teaches ‘nothing’. For me, as an author, this book is like a poem, like a song. You just read a poem or listen to a song. Do you benefit from a poem or a song? Perhaps no. Perhaps yes. Depends on how you read it and how you listen to it. If the novel ‘some mistakes have no pardon’ teaches something, it teaches: we all make mistakes in life. At least you try to avoid such mistakes that deserve no forgiveness, no pardon!
What does it cover?
It covers everything that I know. This is not a issue or subject oriented book so you will not find any focused approach. You cannot say this book is about rural life, or about education, or about love and romance, or spirituality, or business, or achievements, or mystery, or tragedy. It is not possible to categorize it. In a sense, it is about everything. When something boasts about everything, you can be sure that it is about nothing. To sum-up, it is about: relationship and how managing relationship is important to find happiness in life. If time permits, I would like to read some passages from this novel.
And, at last I would like to conclude my speech by borrowing two lines from an unknown poet: और आँखिर में, मैं किसी शायर के दो लाइन उधार लेके अपना स्पीच ख़त्म करना चाहूँगा:
जब जब भी हमारा नाम हुआ है..,सर पर हमेशा एक इल्ज़ाम हुआ है…
इस दिल को ये कह के बहला ही लिया.., बदनाम ही सही…नाम तो हुआ है….
“Everybody may have gone through the sufferings and pains of falling and failing in love earlier, may be many times. ”
As we were still there, she was curious to know about you, your destiny, and your future as desperately as I was. She suggested we consult a fortune-teller in the vicinity.’ Mother continued in one of her relaxed agony confessing sessions with her son, Girish.
‘And I agreed. One afternoon, when your father was away chasing jobs and who, eventually, preferred to remain jobless; I and the pious-land-lady-in-love went to see an astrologer. The astorloger lived in the temple premises around two miles away from our place. As we reached the temple compound, we noticed there was his name ‘Pundit Ballabh Joshi – Astrologer and Palmist of World Repute’ written on the large billboard erected on the wall of the temple. His fee was very high, as high as eleven rupees for a single session of horoscope reading. Don’t be surprised, son. It was long back when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had just died of the aftershocks of a Chinese invasion and a bruised India was hardly able to pay salary to her civil servants. At that time the monthly salary of a babu used to be around fifty bucks. You might be wondering how I paid his fee, son. The astrologer was known to the land-lady and arranged to see you on complimentary basis – alms – something started right from your birth. The astrologer was a multitalented fortune-teller. He read horoscopes, he read lines on the palm, he read lines on the forehead, he calculated things based on the numbers in a persons’ date of birth, he guessed results based on the letters in one’s name etc. etc.’
‘So, there was no chance of misleading predictions or untrue prophecies. As we entered his room, Pt. Joshi was sitting across a large table, as big as a table for table-tennis game. He was wearing white kurta and an immaculate white dhoti, and a red scarf loosely hung over his shoulders. A thick layer of artificial sandalwood-paste was smeared over his forehead and red vermillion dot decorated the centre of his forehead. He gestured to make us sit across the table, you on my lap, and the land-lady smiling besides me. He donned a pair of thick glasses as he tried to read the obscure tiny lines on the delicate palms of one year old baby. Still unsure, he picked his magnifying glass and put over your both hands. And, another glance on your tiny forehead. He asked your name and wrote ‘Girish’ followed by date on the top of a page. He jotted down few lines on that piece of paper. Then he asked the time, date, and place of your birth. He drew some more lines on yet another piece of paper, some rectangles and some triangles. And wrote single syllables on each cell created by drawing of these rectangles and triangles. He mysteriously looked at me and my forehead, and you and your forehead. He again hastily jotted down some illegible phrases on the piece of paper.’ Mother explained each moment spent with the fortune-teller.
‘Then, what the astrologer said I couldn’t follow that time and can’t follow it now. You can decipher it if you want and if you can and if you must. He read from the piece of paper he had then scribbled. He wrote smoothly, but he halted when he spoke. So the prophecy became as unintelligible in hearing as it was in writing and more difficult in comprehending.’ She opened her old rusted worn-out green tin trunk, pulled out a dilapidated piece of paper, which had turned yellowish, and the ink had turned as blurred as the rhyming prophecies themselves. Mother dictated the words of the astrologer…verbatim. Now the astrologer’s words follow: