Wednesday, 30 January 2013

"A Rose remains a Rose."

I am in an interview with I.R. Shankar, the author of An Adolescent Mind and True Colors of Love.

First of all, Sir, congratulations for your second book. It was a pleasure to read and review TCL. I’m glad you could provide us more knowledge about your book and yourself.

1.      As is written in the Author’s note, this book reveals you. Is TCL a partial autobiography of an episode of your life?

True. ‘True Colors of Love’ is written on the basis of experience. It is inspired by my First Love.


2.      Towards the end of the novella, I was just left thinking, “This is different!” What kind of story endings do you personally prefer?

I am very glad that you felt that the book was different. It has always been my desire to produce unique works of fiction. As far as story endings are concerned, I do not have any particular preference as such. I deeply appreciate novels, works of art and achievements in any field which are not mundane. That which contains genius. For instance the work of Albert Einstein interests me. His “Theories of Relativity” and his approach to problems appeals to my senses. Similarly the works of Sir Isaac Newton are very inspiring. His work on the phenomena of Gravitation is awe-inspiring. In a sense these are all stories. Albeit not in the world of literature. But in the field of Theoretical Physics.

3.      The story revolves around an aesthetic guy who is not accepted by others. Do you think being into art has its own disadvantages?

Why Art? If one is “into” anything deeply he is at a disadvantage in the world. In the material world one cannot truly immerse oneself. One can surround oneself with materials and possessions alone and live in a group. True immersion is possible in the world of imagination or Speculative Philosophy. Novels, Art and the production of creative work in any subject or field involves thinking.     Men who indulge in such passions are bound to appear different. They may appear self-absorbed to their contemporaries. Such men are often called eccentric. They are declared misfits in society. 

4.      What inspired you to write TCL?

I was inspired by my first love. My love for my cousin. That is how this story idea germinated. The book also contains the difficulty that I have faced in adapting to the world. Some writers who influenced me were the Russian writers,  Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Lermontov.  The German writer Goethe who wrote, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. I was also inspired by the art world of Da Vinci and Michaelangelo. I got hooked to these famous Renaissance Artists after reading “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.

5.      I would never ask – Reading or Writing. They are both a lifeline of a writer. But what genre do you prefer while reading/writing?

Initially when I discovered books, I used to read lot of fiction. I enjoyed reading the Classics. Tales of mystery and adventure like Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo. Later I discovered Satire. I loved Gulliver Travels by Jonathan Swift, the brilliant novels of Dickens, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Pamella by Samuel Richardson.  Other broad genres like History, Art, Theoretical Physics have also appealed to me. I have realized that my reading tastes change with time.

6.      When did you start writing? Which moment told you, “Yes, this is it! Writing is the thing for me.”?

I discovered that I could write by accident. It is a quirk of fate. I was always fond of reading books. I read lot of books during a period of my life when I was unemployed. When I had secured my first job I was placed in a project. However, not much work was assigned to me. During this period I read ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectation’ by Charles Dickens. I then wrote my first novel titled “An Adolescent Mind”. Since then I have pursued the dream of being a writer.

7.      “Let the Voice take over.” A brilliant idea, first of all. Did this thought come in the first draft or in the editing process?

This idea evolved after I had written the core of the novel. After completing a manuscript I usually revisit it several times. I put in ‘editing effort’ while writing the novel itself. Of course thorough editing is done many times after the novel is complete.

8.      Any new story ideas waiting to get penned?

Yes, I have a few dreams. I would love to render them in the form of literary works which have lasting value.

9.      The dreaded one – Writer’s block. Are you immune from this bug or does it bite you, too?

Instead of the term “Writer’s block” I prefer to use the word ‘Challenge’.  When a novel is begun there are times when ideas and thoughts flow. There are also times when the ink goes dry. One has to persist. And then finally the novel is complete. It’s like climbing a mountain. With every chapter you develop a foothold and reach the pinnacle. A writer’s block is the challenge that a writer faces while creating a Literary work.  It is no different from the difficulties or challenges faced in any other realm by an individual.  For instance, Einstein and Newton are known to have suffered from nervous breakdowns in their lifetime. I believe this is due to the application of “creative imagination” while producing works of genius.

10.  Any second thoughts about TCL? Anything you think could have been written differently?

Once I complete a novel, I am through with it. The story is complete. It has been told. I move to the next story. In that sense TCL is complete.

11.  Ahem! Does negative criticism bother you? How do you handle it?

Negative criticism of my novels does not bother me. Each person in this world is entitled to a particular view and opinion. Their opinions do not alter the quality of the work. For instance people may have different views about the flower, Rose. Some may find it beautiful. Some may find it fragrant. Some may like its color. Some may not. Some could find it thorny.  Yet all this does not change the Rose itself. A Rose remains a Rose.

12.  I’m intrigued. What other form of art do you love other than writing?

I like to watch films. Listen to Music. Especially ghazals, Indian film music, Western Classical Music.

13.  There are many who’d like to be published. What would be your word of advice for the aspiring authors?

Keep reading. Keep Writing. Keep submitting manuscripts to Literary Agents and Publishers. It’s a long journey. Go out and fulfill your dreams.

Thank you for your time, Sir! Good luck for you future endeavors!

Saturday, 26 January 2013


caged bird –
sings a Rescue Me prayer
listeners praise the voice

Written for Haiku Heights

Friday, 25 January 2013

True Colors of Love - Book Review

Name: True Colors of Love

My rating: 6/10

Genre: Fiction, Romance

About the book: This book is written in a ‘second person narrative’ which is rarely found in fiction.  Also the subject matter and thematic content is controversial. TCL is about a young man romancing and fantasizing a thirteen year old girl and recounting of his obsessions and insecurities. At another level it is also a clash between romanticism and rationalism. The hero refuses to be practical and clings to his romantic ideals and eventually at the end of the story realizes that he is an enlightened romantic.

First line: Very Often, I hear a voice inside me.
Last line: I had lost that argument.
Favorite line: If the shining sun blinds the eye, it makes sense. But to be blinded by gold and silver!

My thoughts about the book: I.R. Shankar brings to the world True Colors of Love - an interesting story of a young man in love eluded by truth. The author, for his second novel, says, “It is Shankar self-revealed! … For in my excitement to tell a story I ended up revealing myself.”

The novel starts with the writer giving freedom to the Voice, his inner voice, to speak. The voice has been kept subdued since long, but it hasn’t been dormant; it has been noticing each incident in his life. His childhood, his loneliness, his narcissism, his passions, his rebellion and his first love.

The Voice speaks to the writer, which gives the novella its second person POV(something that isn’t common these days and hence, for me, scores the brownie points.) and, of course, satire. Who in the world does not like Satire?!

The writer is an orphan. His maternal grandfather brings him to his palatial house as a young boy, much to the boy’s chagrin. He is ordered to not go for the artistic pleasures of writing and painting but the more practical ones like Math and local reasoning. He refuses. This digs the ‘gulf’ between his relatives and him much deeper. He is not ready to shun his passions for his grandfather’s whims. And he rebels.

He is made fun of by his cousin, Chris, since the first day of his stay at the house. He gets reserved and satisfies himself by observing the shallowness of the people around him.

The focus of the story changes when Rose, his distant cousin, comes to their house to stay. She is adolescent, beautiful, and loved. He is young, aesthetic, and discouraged. She is the one who makes him feel wanted. She is the one he thinks about all day.

The love story veers when the truth of their relationship unfolds. He is to abandon the family only to come back again five years later with an Engineering degree.

He has to win back his family and his love. But the ‘gulf’ not only is an invisible barrier between his family and him but the very reason for his life’s truth.

Shankar’s writing is fresh and crisp. Though there are dialogues that seem out of place, sometimes. The Grammar/Editing is one front which will not go unnoticed. The mistakes are a major distraction.

The USP of this novella is the writing style and the fact that it does not have a predictable storyline.

Would I recommend this book?
If you are a fan of fiction: you’ll certainly want to give it a read.
If you are a Grammar Nazi: the commas and the apostrophes are going to ruffle your feathers.
If you like something out-of-the-ordinary, then yes. Go for it!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blessed is this world


You feel for me, you cry for me
That I might not see tomorrow
That I might be forty and still be bedridden
That I might never be happy

But answer me, Mother,

When there is so much love and positivity
When I have friends who care not if I don’t have hair
When people keep me in their prayers, everyday
How can I complain?

– Vaishali

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...