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Ten Years-Two Days

I wrote my first sentence to start my story telling journey in 2005. By 2007, my first book was complete after many, many iterations. The next thing to do was to publish it. I had no clue how to do that. So I went about researching on how to get my book out there to my readers.

I did not know of any other authors. Nor did I know agents. In fact, to my limited knowledge, I could not find a single literary agent in India. At least, not on google. There were any number of websites asking for a manuscripts, blurbs, short synopsis, long synopsis, medium sized, extra large, blah, blah, blah!

I sent them my work in every permutation and combination that they asked for and to every publishing house website there was for Indian writing.

No response.

At that time, I did not know about the slush pile – the flood of submissions that writers upload into the publishing websites and send as physical copies to publishing houses. I even went to a few publishers who asked for me to deliver the manuscript to them. They did not find value in it. Or did not have time to read it. This or that.

The thing about the slush pile is that no one wants to read it. No one wants to look at it. Every publisher with a website will announce that they are open for submissions. But…no one wants to review the submissions. No one even wants to look at them. No one. Not interested. It’s more of an ego trip to keep a count of the submissions in the slush pile. And the writers, (especially the first time guys) wait with hope in their heart and a sparkle in their eye. For weeks, months, years.

The best part is, the sites very clearly tell you to follow up if you don’t hear from them. So sweet, right? No one cares if you follow up. They just like to keep the writer hooked. Sadistic but true. Thus I traveled on, not knowing what to do until in the year 2015 one publisher agreed to publish my work. They said, they would be happy to publish the first part provided I buy back some books at a certain price.

In other words, they were asking me to self-publish. I did. I admit. I should not have. And today, I make it a point to tell every other writer I meet who wants to get published not to self-publish. The publisher has no buy-in. They don’t care. They have no stake in it.

From the time I started writing my book to the time I published it, ten years had gone by. A whole ten years. Wasted? Or lesson learnt? If so, to what end? But I had bought a ticket. I had boarded the train. Looking back, I am amazed.

To be continued…

This Guy, Right?

There was this guy, right? There was this guy. Nice guy on the face of it. Cool. Tall, dark, not necessarily handsome any which way you look at it. Still. He thought he was handsome. People are entitled to image themselves. Why not? Who’s anyone to say anything against it.

He was educated. Sure. He had the ability to be pleasant. Only thing with this guy was, he was brought up thinking he was a loser. How? He was made to play a sport he could never win. Just didn’t have the gumption for it. He was a good sparring partner though, for all the winners. He saw them come and go, carrying their laurels with them. He could never win any laurels. At least not those that really mattered. It became ingrained in him that he couldn’t win.

Now, this guy, right? This guy gets a great job in a great law firm. A year later he quits the job! Why? He wants to be in the movie business. Was that why he quit. I wish it was!

He thinks all the people around him are idiots. He was surprised when the law firm asked him to leave because they felt he wasn’t performing, grinding in the feeling that he was a loser. Why didn’t he perform? He was working on a job while dreaming about movie making. Neither here…nor there!

He joined another firm. same result. He joined a third firm. same result. He was surrounded by success. his contemporaries were rising. His seniors were rising higher. His friends were topping the charts. He wasn’t. Why?

His dreams of making movies persisted, but without effort there is no result. Right? Try telling that to this guy. God knows I did. I said, “If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect something different, it ain’t gonna happen!” Did he listen?

Ha!

Then an idea struck this guy. He would start out on his own. He wouldn’t be judged by anyone. He wouldn’t be pushed down by anyone. He would be his own master. I thought it was a bad idea. He was steadfast. He had seen his contemporaries strike out on their own. He saw them buying fast cars and drink expensive liquor.

His work did not meet expectations. His clients did not go back to him for their work. His view of the world changed. He felt everyone was out to get him. His dislike for successful people was exponential. I saw his character metamorphize into a thing of frustration and rage. Like bile rising from the depths of hell.

He saw no difference between friend and foe. He continued to dream of making movies. Or directing them. Did nothing about it. The reason…what if he failed?

So, he told himself he had responsibilities to his family. Was he actually fulfilling them. No. Why? He couldn’t meet his own ends.

He felt he was a good legal professional. Was he? No, because instead of seeing his clients as his source of livelihood, he saw them as worrisome bigots who did not recognize his greatness. He would foul mouth them. Not answer their calls. And overbill them. Especially rich old ladies. He would do this with his sob stories about getting his sister married and supporting his ailing parents.

This guy, right? he was lost in a hell of his own making. I knew this guy. I was once his friend and well-wisher. And now, I am trying to yank out the knife he embedded deep into my back.

This guy, right? This guy, beware of him…

Ten Years-Two Days-Part 2

This is the concluding part of my article, Ten Years-Two Days. While the first part was about how I turned to writing and got my first book published, this part is about the journey thereafter. Which I think is as important. Because boarding the train is only the beginning. The destination doesn’t matter. this way or that. It is the journey that counts.

It was a choppy start. I was a new author. None of the methods that I adopted to promote my book worked. Or worked as well as I would have thought. Honestly.

The online messaging was lost in transit. the offline messaging was lost. Period. I had started with publishing the prequel to my magnum opus. Which, I think isn’t the wisest thing to do when its your debut book. Not unless you have oodles of cash and way more influence than I had at that point. I was jumping gun. From the last to the first step. I fell. It wasn’t a disaster. But it was a thin line. It hurt. I had bitten more than I could chew and was left choking.

Still, here is a feedback I got from a reader last year about Shatru.

“An amazing book, world building is at par with the biggest western fantasy books,
Waiting for the next part.”
This was in 2019, four years after Shatru, my first book, came into the world. It filled my world with joy!

“Awesome and superb story telling. Gives goosebumps” this was in 2020. There have been many reviews in between. Not as many as I would have liked. But still, I am glad for what I have been given.

Even the cover image I added here is a fan made poster of the book!

To move on, my second book, which was actually multi-genre including political, thriller, horror, etc was well received. I was able to turn it around thanks to my literary agent, Suhail Mathur.

My third book is being made into a movie. A Bollywood movie. The jewel in the crown, the icing on the cake, etc, thus far.

And now, within two days of circulating the manuscript for my fourth book, my publisher has picked it up. Thus, looking back at my journey which started with writing my first book when I was twelve, completing it years later to now when I am a sale-able author, I am truly humbled and thrilled. It took ten years from the time I completed the manuscript to eventually publish Shatru. It took two days from the date of completion of manuscript to sign the contract for my fourth book. (Announcement will be made shortly).

The journey might appear ordinary to others, but to me, this has been the most fulfilling, most exhilarating and one of the happiest journeys of my life.

Finally, as a writer, I came across many disappointments and pains. I faced rejections or snooty silence from publishers. I realize they were essential for my growth as a writer. they were more than essential. They were integral. And I stand here thanking all those rejections and failures for what they made out of me.

And the journey goes on…

Vadhan

Not YET another COVID-19 rant!

So, COVID-19 took the world by a storm. Now there’s news (or is it a conspiracy theory?) by a Nobel prize winning scientist who first helped discover AIDS that COVID-19 is man made and was developed by a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan to fight AIDs but escaped by ‘accident’.

If the whistleblower was a Chinese man, he would have been imprisoned, sliced and diced and made to disappear without a trace. And then when things get out of hand maybe China would concede to the mishap, like they did while declaring an epidemic after the whole world already figured it out.

But he isn’t a Chinese man, therefore Montagnier is requesting China to be graceful about it and accept the fact. The story will unfold in the days to come.

In the meanwhile, we in India are in a COVID-19 instigated lock down. That is, those of us who believe that they are not invincible, unkillable, irreplacable, irresponsible, callous, foolish, idiotic, brain dead pieces of **** are under lock down. A few have shown first signs of blooming dementia and others have started talking to their cats. In fact when I mentioned this to my dog on the phone the other day, we had a good laugh.

On the home front, I was about to head back home to Delhi from Mumbai when the lock down took effect, I am still in Mumbai. My wife is in Delhi with our two dogs. She says they are having long and enriching conversations about the facts of life. While in Germany, I was told by a friend who lives there that there is no lock down and all the Norse Gods are roaming around as if it was Asgard.

Good for them!

Kindle versions of my latest book, ‘Fear of God’, are selling well. I am happy for it. I signed a movie deal for the book barely two months after its release. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled about it. Its a dream come true. I guess I have no clear idea when the movie will be made given the situation, but I am hoping it will be sooner rather than later. In other news, I took part in India’s first online Literature Festival which lasted the whole of last week. 600 authors took part in it. It was on ZOOM and was cast on Facebook live. It was, to say the least, a very enriching and heartwarming experience.

Finally, I am working from home. It can be fun since I am as it is a homie. Don’t much like venturing out unless it is absolutely important. Hey, that’s a writer’s hallmark. But then, I also work for a living and that used to make me venture out, suited and booted. Not anymore. But I do missing going to our office, meeting my colleagues at work and having a light lunch in our lavish cafeteria.

The world has changed. The shift was not gradual. It was immediate and drastic. All the things we took for granted, like eating from a street vendor’s stall, Ubering it, jamming into an elevator with colleagues to travel 29 floors, all of it has changed. Forever? Maybe not, but for a long time. So what is the change going to be like? How will the existing order of things be replaced? How long is it going to take to adapt to the new conditions?

There’s only one thing I know. Those who adapt are those who succeed. Those who resist will be left behind. The only constant in life, is change. And while we are at it, also remember…This Too Shall Pass!

Be safe. Stay healthy. Stay at home!

Love you all,

Vadhan

The Art of Writing a Review

The art of writing a review of a book is really a difficult one. It is. It involves the fine art of balancing between your views and opinions and that of the author. But, the more important aspect is having a command over the language. After all, you cannot really write your views and opinions using a thin armory of vocabulary. Importantly, it is also critical that you know the meaning of the words you employ.

In India today, reviewers are mushrooming faster than rabbits can make babies. Faster than the Novel Coronavirus can spread across the globe. Faster even than the speed of rumor. Reviewers are throwing themselves at authors who’s books have been just released. Some ask for money for reviews while others promise to do it for free if the author can only give them a free copy of the book. If it is really love for reading, then buy a book, review it without bias and feel proud about it.

What’s wrong with sponsored reviews?

People who have no love for reading, or appreciating the finer aspects of writing, review books because it’s turned into a lucrative trade for them. Others offer bulk reviewing services at fixed costs. The genuine readers and their all-important views are lost in the melee. Reviewing has lost its sanctity.

The short cut to reviewing a book these days by ‘professional reviewers’ is to compare it with some other book or worst still, a movie. How can one compare a book to a movie? The entire process is different. That is why when a book is made into a movie, it’s called ‘movie adaptation’. The book is redone, there is a script and a screenplay. They do not know the pains an author goes through to choose every word, frame every thought and write every sentence in a book. They don’t know how it is to write, how to read and how to enjoy a book. They are in fast mode, writing as many reviews as they can for their respective aggregators.

If an opinion is important, where is the sanctity if that opinion is biased? What is the sanctity of a review if it is stage-managed?

My new book

Hi Guys,

My new book Fear of God is out in Amazon.in and bookstores across the country. Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.in/Fear-God-Vadhan/dp/9389237084/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=fear+of+god+vadhan&qid=1579577365&sr=8-1

A Brief Synopsis

The brutal murder of a member of parliament has rocked the nation. The reason for the murder appears bizarre.

As videos of the slaughter of several corrupt politicians go viral on social media, those who considered themselves untouchable are scurrying for cover.

The vigilante’s next target is a war-hero and top constitutional lawyer who took three bullets for the country.

Why then is he a target ?

Jagan Jigyasi and his Special Crimes Division of the CBI have to race against time to stop the killings.

The Legendary lawman has never failed to solve a crime.

The war-hero is as brilliant in court as he is fearless facing a bullet.

The vigilante is as devious as he is effective in instilling the Fear of God into those who think they are above the law!

Who will be the last man standing?

And the New Year…

Writing this on the 30th of December. I would go as far as to call this particular note more in the nature of unbridled thought flow. Or ranting. Is it the same thing? (Shrugs!)

One day left before January rears its bright new head at the world. One more day.

Will it bring about a difference? To some, positively. To others, not so much. Does it matter in the long run? I don’t think so. The universe moves on. Expanding. Creating life as it creates new paths. Going beyond what is to what needs to be. Inexorably moving. Unmindful of the tiny speck of dust that we live on. Worrying only about the larger scheme of things. How large they are, what they represent and what goal they serve is beyond our reach. We are a species riddled only with questions.

January will be here though. And we will pass into ‘another year’ labelled with four digits. What’s more the last two digits will be changed. People will say that the millennium is out of its teens and for the next ten years January will herald single digit changes ‘tracking’ the progress of a young adult. Then the millennium will become a mature adult. But when I pause to think, it appears to me that all of it is simply illusion.

What is the sanctity of the labelled year? What does it signify? Only that we started counting very late in the day. Our ancestors and their calculations, be it Hindu, Egyptian, Christian or many others  were also late in commencing to count. We don’t really know what transpired before we did start counting. Or what will transpire after we as a species stop counting.

Will it matter which year it really is? To whom will it matter in the universe? Or in the galaxy, or even in our solar system? We count doggedly, nevertheless. The futility of it all! (Shrugs)

Random thoughts! These. Do my thoughts even make sense to anyone but me? Do they make sense to me? (I guess they do to me, at some abstract, altruistic level). The universe moves on. Trudging sometimes, careening sometimes. Knocking over entire galaxies into each other, blowing out some stars, lighting up new ones. Experimenting. Like we do with our lives. Makes me agree with someone or the other that we are miniature models of the vastness in which we live.

And thus we experiment. January’s experiments are resolutions. February’s experiments are a little more serious. March’s experiments will be about investments and tax savings. April will be spent drawing up new budgets, targets to achieve and so forth. In between all of that we forget the universe and its ever expanding size and its grand plans and live our lives like we will never die. And when we do die, we are snuffed out, most of us. Erased, as if we never lived. We leave no mark behind. No legacy.

Except counting days from our start line to our finish line in years.

However, January will never stop rearing its bright head. Again and again. Over and over.

The universe will go on expanding. Again and again. Over and over.

Vadhan

 

Hello Again…Hello

Hello my friends,

Here I am again. Been a very busy time. An industrious time. Well spent time with people worth spending it with. I have learnt a lot in the last few months. How hard working people are. How good it is to be with people who appreciate hard work. How it is to walk with professionals who know their craft.

This has also been a time of reflection. A time of retrospection of what I am and what I value. This has been a time of identification of what people are worth to me and how ungrateful and worthless some people have turned out to be.

I have written three books in these intervening months. I am writing my fourth one. Of these one is getting published and will be launched in early 2020! I am very excited about the book. This has been by far the best experience I have had with a publisher thus far. That is a fact.

And there are some people who have broken my heart. Their avaricious nature and capricious conduct was devastating. If an enemy where to attack me, I can reach out to a friend for help. But when a friend stabbed me in the back,  it left me lurching, hurting, stumbling, reaching out for the knife still jutting out of the middle of my back. Unable to pry it loose. Unable to call out for help!

It left me shamefaced in the presence of people who believed I could deliver on a promise.

Such is life!

But…there are things to look forward to. I moved on. Left the hurt behind. No use carrying it. Life doesn’t have to wait for those who are not worth waiting for. They are of no consequence. Let them be. There is no place in your life for them. Thus, I am wiser and happier for their wounds have healed leaving behind only the lessons learnt.

So, my friends, here I am, all ready for a happy moment when yet another of my children is introduced into the literary world.

Catch you around!

Vadhan

 

 

 

Fear is the Key

The FCPA is a law with extra-terrestrial reach. Which means that though it is an American law (brought into being in 1977 as a reaction to the Watergate scam), it applies to bribing a ‘foreign official’.

The UK bribery Act  is a draconian law. It applies to UK but relates to bribing government officials through out the world.

The Prevention of Corruption law in India has been amended in 2018. The most significant change is to construe that not only a bribe taker but also a bribe giver is  considered as having a committed a crime.

Every country is increasing the vigil against corruption and bribery. Yet the magnitude of frauds, corruption, bribery and lawlessness is always on the rise. Is law failing? Do the corruptors and the corrupted have no fear of law?

If there is no fear of law, what will they fear?

Watch this page for my next book…

 

 

 

 

 

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