Author, Burning for Freedom

Author, Burning for Freedom
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Monday, August 13, 2012

And The Dream Was Born . . .

The day has finally arrived. I have climbed the Mount Everest, metaphorically speaking, and have taken the first step on my next climb—up Mount K2 (marketing and publicity). My novel Burning for Freedom is now—yoo-hoo!!—available!

Notice the double punctuation. It is strictly forbidden (along with using too much of italics), a no-no-no-no, by the Gods of Grammar and Punctuation rules. But I love them; they seem to express so much. Just this once, to celebrate the publishing of my novel, so to speak, I thought I would indulge myself. Throughout the writing/editing process I had my eyes peeled on the laptop screen lest a beloved double-punctuation typed itself unbeknownst to me. It was agonizing, I can tell you.

With that, it occurred to me that I could kick off my first post with some of the comic (though at the time I believe I could have cried) moments of my first venture into writing.

It is really impossible to put in words the extent to which I was moved by Savarkar: his life-story; his unconditional love for his motherland, Hindustan; his amazing character; his unswerving dedication in following the path of Duty. The injustice heaped upon him in his lifetime, and continuing till today was insupportable. I was a raging mass of emotions at this abomination; I could have screamed like a banshee, ranted and raved—but that would have served no purpose.

Instead, I woke up one morning with the firm resolve to write, publish, and publicize a novel channelizing all what I felt—and knew to be the truth—in it. I refused to acknowledge the difficulty, the impossibility, the improbability of it. Any mountain that blocked my path was going to be razed to the ground, for sure. I was going to do it, that’s it!

The next morning, I had my plot ready. And with that two other things happened simultaneously: A new Avatar—one quite like the Queen of Jhansi charging fearlessly on, sword slashing—took over my body and the Quivering Jelly that was within me followed recklessly willy-nilly.

To add to the complications—in addition to the chains of the Gods of Punctuation that were choking me—I threw chains of restrictions around my feet: all incidents that would make up the story would be real life ones. I don’t believe I quite realized at the time what a challenge that would be! I also needed a fictional character who would be devoted to Savarkar—who would essentially be me—and would carry the story forward. This character, of necessity, would have to be male. “But … but … how? … Can I …? I am a woman …!” spluttered the Quivering Jelly. Could I really write from the point of view of a young boy and a forty-five plus man? It seemed preposterous. “Forward march! Hup 1-2-3!” cried the new Avatar, relentless. And on I marched, without a backward glance.

This was the first of the Moments of Realization that crashed upon me several times throughout the writing of the novel.

The next one followed almost immediately. The perfect entry for Savarkar in my novel would be when he rescued my fictional hero from molestation (a true incident in Savarkar’s life) in the Cellular Jail. I can tell you I was one big “ULP!” Just how was I going to write a molestation scene? And a gay molestation at that …! I didn’t know—I only knew I would do it, somehow. There wasn’t any choice. Even the Quivering Jelly knew better than to voice any protests. I would write what was the best thing for my novel, even if it was the most difficult scene in the world.

But I have to confess, it is the only scene in the entire novel that I have written without any research whatsoever. I even did a lot of research on how to behead someone and what happens to the body afterward for Mohini’s death scene (readers will be happy to know that not much is available on this topic.) But this scene—no.

This is how I began the climb of my Mount Everest. Establishing the background of my fictional character came next —more in the second post!


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