The author: Abiral is a seventeen-year-old schoolboy who is now busy feasting on "mama ka grub" and booking his appointments with the sleep fairy - having spent a considerable amount of positive energy writing his 12th standard board exams. But somewhere between the fifteenth and sixteenth step of his life, he wrote his maiden novel - The Lost Pearl of Paradise: In Search of a Fairy - the first of a trilogy, and aspires to write nothing less than a hundred more!
Sometime in early December (2011) this young schoolboy-cum-budding-author wrote to me - with a request to review his upcoming debut novel. He gave me a glimpse of the novel and also mentioned that he is a student at the Oak Grove School - Mussoorie. He was preparing for his CBSE (XII) board exams then. The book summary piqued my interest sufficiently enough, since the genre fascinates me too, so needless to say, I acquiesced to read the book and then share my thoughts.
Frankly I was pleasantly surprised since school kids these days aren't exactly known to read books ... much less write them.
I wished him the very best … in his quest to become an author and hoped that his dreams come true some day. And that may the Paramatma, Lady Luck and the Fairy - from "The Lost Pearl of Paradise" - bless him. However, given the Mussoorie connection, I enquired whether there was a budding Ruskin Bond in our midst (though I am perfectly aware that there cannot be another Ruskin Bond, ever.)
That's when he came back saying that the evergreen Mr. Bond is reading his debut novel too! Frankly, it's such an honour and more. It's priceless, really - for any author, and not just a budding one. Abiral is very fortunate indeed.
But that's not all; after reading his book, Mr. Bond summoned him to his home and even offered to write the whole foreword - an opportunity that Abiral politely let go of - and chatted about other things instead.
Umm, must be a bunch of those mountain butterflies traipsing in his tummy!
Frankly, I am still shaking my head in disbelief, 'coz I don't think Ruskin has offered to write the foreword for many books or authors. He perhaps turns down such requests - and several of them - daily.
Though Abiral insists that he tried his best … yours truly has advised him to read that Robert Bruce and the Spider story once again - so as to fully grasp the meaning of the word "try" - if he still wants to cherish Ruskin's foreword on his maiden offering, that is.
Gallant lad that he is … he mentioned something about the struggle that a mint fresh author has to go through. And yours truly interjected with: a foreword by Ruskin or no foreword by Ruskin … the struggle is constant, however, it'll be something to cherish about and tell his future grandkids and great-grandkids - since you see, I am no believer in the Mayan prophesy.
And who knows … given his passion for athletics and his being a prolific triple jumper as well, he may just hop, skip and jump over all those literary struggles, while slam-dunking his way through them at other times, guitar in hand!
But jokes apart … having read his maiden offering, I would say it's great to know that Abiral has chosen to become a writer - though for now an English Honours course in DU probably beckons.
He also has a passion for poetry - from the time he was a wide-eyed ten-year-old, and having read a few of those pieces, I am one of his creative cheerleaders. He already has several books floating in his head, so we are unlikely to ever find him polishing doorknobs instead of sitting down to write.
Frankly, we need genuine writers/authors and not adulterated ones, like some 'popular' writers (that includes a few so-called award winning ones as well) - that churn out soporific novels at regular intervals, yet deftly masquerade as 'best selling authors' and 'opinion makers' - dispensing it left, right and centre. What?
And oh, before I forget, Abiral is also the "mountain eagle" that delivered my letter to Ruskin - when that hardly working "mountain snail" did not.
If any of you wish to get in touch, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: I will put up my review of The Lost Pearl of Paradise within a couple of days. So, do stay tuned!
Photograph: The mint fresh author himself.