Hi, Everyone! Finding all the books was no less a DI! Fortunately, I snapped up the books as quickly as I found them online. Some of them disappeared later—Keer’s biography on Gandhi for one!
My India trip, too, was scheduled long before I had thought of writing a novel. In fact, I even had my tickets in hand before that. That trip turned out to be a research and material collecting trip rather than a family visit for me! There were a vast number of books that I bought from the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Smarak without which the whole of Part II would have been impossible to write.
I count it amongst my DI that my India trip was so well-timed. I was supposed to have gone the year before, but had cancelled for a particular reason.
In this 2009 visit, I was hoping to visit the Cellular Jail. There are regular flights to Port Blair from Chennai and I was visiting my sister there. But it didn’t work out—July-August are off-season months, the weather is terrible, and a host of other reasons that seemed inconsequential were presented to me. When I heard that my sister’s friend, who ran a hotel in the Andaman Islands, vouched for the veracity of all this, I acquiesced, not wanting to make an undue fuss.
And so, in my visit in 2011 the plan of visiting the CJ was nowhere in my scheme of things. One evening, while having a very good time at my sister’s friends’ party, I suddenly realized my host to whom I was chummily chatting was the one who had nixed my CJ trip. In my (perhaps regrettable) outspoken manner, I blurted out, “Hey, you were the one who prevented me from going to the CJ!” The poor guy was quite taken aback.
One thing led to another, and when he understood what the purpose of my trip was, he said there should be no problem for me to go there. (Right there and there, I got the okay from my sister who would have to take care of my three kids when I was away.) He then made all the arrangements for me, and one moment I was in Chennai and the next in Port Blair.
Both my novel and I would have missed much without this enriching experience of visiting the CJ. I definitely count it in the DIs.