"An action thriller woven like a fable, the book stands out for the immaculate research, scholarship and killer vocab which make it superior to many nonfiction historical texts. There is no doubt that this is a narrative spun by a master ninja storyteller."
I was eighteen when I thought conquering the world was a good idea. I still think so, as long it is someone who owes me big who does it. After literally decamping from home wearing a kurta two sizes too big, I found my career after losing a cartoon in a bus when I was a student at St. Kirorimal—not that I studied a lot. Thus I became a political cartoonist. Turned out I was pretty good at it. I chugged along merrily, and even became supposedly famous when I was 26—if being written about in the press and my mug appearing on magazine covers and being reprinted in TIME magazine and Times London can be called becoming famous—not a good idea since it swells the head. It still hurts when I think big. Like right now. Then I became the Creative Director of The Observer Group purely by accident and introduced news graphics in the national media. Not bad for a runaway, eh?
I became the Art Editor of India Today when I was 33—the age when Jesus took his eye off the ball—I liked Judas more because he was a sucker and I have a soft spot for the underdog. Besides I think he was murdered by Peter or Paul, but let's leave it at that okay? I don't want Rev. Pat Robertson mad at me. At India Today I redesigned the magazine thrice. It was fun working there because I could try all sorts of things like editing its tabloid Today, and launching India's first luxury publication Spice. In between, I started writing fiction while drinking plum sauce at a friend's mum's house in Shimla where she was the top judge. I wrote a short story because people were getting pissed off at me chilling under a cedar when everyone else was working. What I wrote then, led to The Scream of the Dragonflies, a volume of horror stories, which some deluded reviewer called the book of the decade or whatever, which got real literary stars pretty riled. In 1999, I wrote The Tiger by the River, which my brilliant agent Martina Dervis sold to Doubleday and a host of other foreign publishers. This time they said I was famous both as a writer and a cartoonist; going by Page 3 pictures of me in the weekend pages, the paparazzi obviously had no idea of the real McCoy because there wasn't one in Delhi. Then I did six more novels as if my readers hadn't had enough. In between I launched TV channels and Sports Illustrated. Hey, I was having fun. I still do. No big deal.
In 2011, I became Executive Editor of The New Indian Express and launched The Sunday Standard in Delhi. Meanwhile, both Indian politics and its ardent idiots were pissing me off. Journalists, especially the idiots on the idiot box were behaving like cockroaches in power's refrigerator. In disgust I refused to draw cartoons anymore.
I'm still disgusted.
a story of power
As if he sensed the scout’s scrutiny, the shadows parted for the stranger to raise his head. He looked at the scout squarely in the face with eyes where winter had made its home
"A sensitively told story of a seeker’s quest that shows that the seed of enlightenment is in
every being. Enlightenment is
just a realization
The Book of Shiva