CHENNAI: Boy meets girl, they fall in love. They break up and have their hearts broken. The boy sets out on a quest to the Himalayas to find answers from a monk to the changes in his life. Sounds simple? If you read Shashidhar Sharma’s book — Songs of the Mist — the first part of The Monk Key series, you wouldn’t think that way. A spiritual-fiction by genre, the book deals with a love story, which is interwoven with the morals preached in the Bhagavad Gita. We explore Shashi’s journey in writing the first book in the three-part series.
Shashi, a spiritual blogger by passion and an engineer by profession, narrates, “This is a story that I’ve had within me for over three decades. It started when I visited Rishikesh in 1986. The serenity and the mystic nature of the place has affected me since. Having a branch-office there, I have had the opportunity to travel there several times.”
Travelling to Rishikesh and staying with the sadhus in the Himalayas, the blogger developed an urge to write about his experience. “I am an avid blogger and had written about everything I’ve experienced. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted the younger generation to understand spirituality,” he explains, recalling his experience with a youngster who asked ‘What is the point of being spiritual?’
“That gave me a push and I felt a book like this should have an existence. What is a better way to convey this than a love story?” asks the writer who has been ranked as the top spiritual blogger in India.
A love story in a spiritual backdrop? He laughs, “Yes, I am often questioned about this. But books these days don’t deal with love; it’s more of lust. So for me, writing about love wasn’t challenging. But I had to hit the right balance between that and spirituality,” he says.
With his experience, Shashi recreated a book that has characters with bits and pieces of his own personality. “I see a bit of me in all the characters. The challenging part was writing about heart break. But the response has been good and I think I have done justice to it,” he quips.
A portion of the story where the main protagonist loses his entire family is inspired by the life of his father, he informs.“My wife has been very supportive and I’ve always loved writing. I also have to manage a company. So, I keep shuttling between the two,” he shares as he changes the slides of a presentation about the book.
A voracious reader, Shashidar says that a writer needs to read a lot of books. “Reading books gives one a perspective. I read books and I don’t draw comparisons. Even a comic book is a good one for me. It’s someone’s creativity and it has to be appreciated,” adds the writer who also writes Haikus.
He is now working on a coffee table book of the same genre (love-cum-spiritualiy) and also on the next volume of the Monk Key series. “I will be completing the books soon and will launch it by 2017,” he smiles.
(Shashi will have a book presentation at the Apparao Galleries, Leela Palace Hotel, and MRC Nagar on May 14. For details, visit http://themonkkey.com/)