DARKNESS AND BEYOND – A MEDLEY OF MANY LIVES
THE PREFACE TO MY SECOND BOOK
It‘s been awhile since I made a posting on my blog. It is not because I had nothing to say but I had been busy completing the manuscript for my second book. Now that it is complete, I thought that it would be appropriate to put down what motivated me and what this book is about. I have learnt a few lessons from the publishing of my first book – i) You can take the book to the reader but you cannot make him read it ii) If perchance he has read it, you cannot pester him to review it iii) There is always that line which you should take care not to cross, for otherwise you end up as a salesman rather than a writer iv) Don’t get swayed by fantastic reviews and 5 start ratings, pay heed to the more critical ones for they help you become better v) Know your limitations – in my case I found out I am better off writing what I have always done vi) Not every reader is interested in the genre in which you write vii) Last but not the least don’t ever compromise on your integrity as an author. These are lessons that I have learnt. For me writing has become a journey in understanding life as it is. My drawback is I lack the imagination to cater to the reader’s fantasy, and in that sense my writing is selfish, but I do try to cater to the questions that are bound to rise in their minds.
Though my manuscript is complete, I find that with every reading I find better ways of expressing what I have to say. So I shall take some more time before publishing it, but I could not hold back the euphoria of having completed another journey.
Wish me luck and shower me with your best wishes.
"Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced" -- Soren Kierkegaard
My first book ‘I am just an Ordinary Man’ was a journey to understand the processes taking place within me; the questions that arose out of the angst of existence and finally coming to accept the reality of living and the finality of death. It was the world as I saw it; it was my world. I also believed that these were questions that plagued every other individual. As we travel through life, we learn not only through our own experiences, but also from people we meet on the way. Yes, I have learnt a lot in the process of interaction and observation of the world outside my being. I have also learnt not to be judgmental, for there are as many paths as there are individual lives, and to each is left the job of defining his or her authenticity. There is nothing like a better life; a life is a life and has to be lived within the constraints of each individual’s boundaries that define the circumstances of his birth, where he has had really no choice and the subsequent choices he makes, to deal with the vagaries of a life that is indeterminate.
When asked whether I planned a sequel to ‘I am just An Ordinary Man’. I said yes, but added the sequel would be a journey out into the external world, where lay many lives that needed to be understood, for only then would my comprehension of what life and this world is about would be complete. While the first one was all about introspection, the second is about being part of a larger process, a process of experiencing. No knowledge of life is complete without introspection and experiencing. This book is all about that. This is a book of ‘many lives’, simple ordinary lives, nothing dramatic or sensational. It is about people whom we have met sometime, somewhere; people who have left an imprint on our minds, it is about people of whom we have heard and cherished their memories.
A medley is an assortment or a mix of various types or elements and is best understood by us with reference to a musical composition consisting of various tunes arranged as a continuous whole. The key words here are ‘various tunes arranged as a continuous whole’. This is what life and the world in its entirety is about – ‘A Medley of Many Lives’. Each chapter in this book is a slice of life, in search of a meaning that would define existence, in search of the ‘Beyond’ of this ‘Darkness’. The writing of this book has been a journey, an exploration of life in its many facets, bringing me closer towards a better understanding of what this life is all about.
Without hope, the prolongation of life itself would be absurd. We go to bed every night with the hope of waking up to the dawn of another day. Our life oscillates between patches of light and darkness, each oscillation marking the passage of our existence in this world. Our emotional response to darkness has always been one of insecurity, the fear of dissolving into an eternal darkness with death. For a man of hope, he finds it perfectly logical that just as there is light at the end of the tunnel or like the darkness of the night which dissolves with the dawn of the day, there is also a beyond of this darkness of death. Though one does not know what really exists thereafter, it is the ‘hope’ that takes man forward in living an authentic life.
The book is written in an Indian context for the different scenarios explored are in an Indian setting. To a large extent my personal background and upbringing does creep into portions of the narration. But this does not in any way take away the universality of the situations or the message that is sought to be conveyed. I am aware that I shall be asked whether these are real people and whether these are chronicles of real lives. I would leave that question unanswered.