Sunday, June 8, 2014

PRABUDDHA: THE CLEAR-SIGHTED

After long waiting, my third book is released, Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted. I have attempted something alongside the Jathaka tales and Panchatantra stories, and tried to bring in the flavor of contemporary Indian English fiction in Prabuddha. Now, it is up to the reader to consider their experiences of reading Prabuddha and comment on the worth of this book.

Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted is planned as an Indian edition. However, as per the request of a reader of mine, I would like to go for a kindle edition as well. The Kindle edition will be available internationally. The paperback copy of Prabuddha can be purchased on this website. For those who had already spotted the small thumbnail on to your right-hand side top of the blog, I would to hit the image and get a copy from the bookstore.   

I hope you are familiar with the technique of following a virtual link to its home. Many ask me lately, how can they get my book. I tell them, visit Amazon or Flipkart or Barnes and Noble. They look at me blankly and I move on. Clearly, in India, online shopping hasn’t gained grass root popularity yet. When I say grass root, I mean the rural demographic. I belong to one, and so do many others who surround me professionally and academically. Kerala is still a village in its heart of hearts. This is just an author’s version of what ‘is’. I may be wrong. And maybe not. However, the most important aspect of the book business is finding readers, rural or urban.

You Should Know How I Feel…, the book I coauthored with Dhanya Krishna has fared quite well. However, I am still unable to locate the class of the readership that went for the contemporary romance and made it one of the bestselling Indian English books of 2014. Perhaps, if my books had been sold in bookstores (currently they are in Print-On-Demand), I could have gained a perspective into what class of people are interested in my works. I am sure the class distinction or for that matter, any argument of discriminatory nature has nothing to do with the art of writing. Maybe I could cater the needs of my readers if I could get a grasp on what they “want”. This is a tough stand. Many of my fellow authors might have gone through this phase or are sloughing through such a dilemma at present.

Courtesy: Mr. Deaver
Writing only for the reader’s tastes, can easily put reigns upon the quality of a literary work apparently, according the consensus. Writing for readers’ entertainment and needs or acknowledging such an act being done, could raise a serious controversy, at least in cultures like Kerala, where money making is still politically incorrect.

One such author who declares his agenda as nothing short of meeting the readers’ expectations is Jeffery Deaver, the bestselling American Mystery/crime writer. He openly confesses that he writes for his readers. Considering the readers’ significance in plotting a work and giving shape to it through words, I am reminded of Jeffery Deaver’s confidence in addressing the question: For whom does a writer work?

In Stephen King’s novel Misery, Paul Sheldon makes an interesting observation on writers. In his observation, he points out that writing could be a selfish activity and most of the writers are selfish in the process of their work. They finish a story in order to enjoy it themselves first. It rang true to me, almost. Paul Sheldon, Mr. King’s imaginary bestselling author also remarks that the dedications in the beginning of each book shows how much regret the writer bears in his mind for being selfishly drawn into the crest of their work, without considering the world outside.

Courtesy: Mr. King
Why did I publish 18 important stories as Prabuddha? Is it a selfish act to see how it would look like? Or is it a selfless act of opening up the revelations I received throughout the years of investigation about human consciousness to the whole world? Did I publish Prabuddha for myself? Or did I publish Prabuddha for my readers?

In Kerala, writing to satiate readers is not considered suited for serious writers. It’s a bit closer to being a hack writer, a writer who pushes pen only for money. Generally, in Kerala culture, the ethical connotations of “opening up the revelations …to the whole world” are (were) not much discussed. Here, writers have to be either Nietzscheans and break their own convictions of sanity or Wordsworthians and romanticize about their creative process. However, we can see that this does not harm our purpose of writing for readers.

Writing books, (now I have three of them to cherish) has made me a practical person. Therefore, I follow an ideal that I termed “Prabuddha”. Let me explain that to you. But please ask me, whom do I write for?

Notion Press is a relatively new platform for me. I considered it a possible Indian alternative for Amazon’s Createspace, who published my previous two books. The advantage I found with Notion Press was the relatively low price for individual copy of books. But I did not know if Notion Press would be as efficient and trustworthy as Createspace. Prabuddha was already there, as a new project. Therefore, I decided for a trial-publishing attempt through Notion Press. To my relief and to my Indian readers’ joy, it came out well, with a price tag comfortable in the Indian book market. In fact, publishing Prabuddha at this time was part of my experiment with Notion Press. If it weren’t successful, I would have gone back to Createspace and had done an international edition. Meanwhile, let me ask you this; are you still with the question I asked earlier? If yes, you might have already understood the answer. Whom do I write for?

Well, in the case of Prabuddha, throughout out the publishing process, I was only thinking about myself. There was a selfish interest involved with the quality of the book and the performance of the new publisher. Both paid off, thanks to the Invisible Hand that directs all our missions. But the question does not stop here. There is another answer that follows.  

What is Prabuddha? And why did I ultimately choose to bring the book out in material form?

Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted is the result of years of contemplation and study. It contains some of the most important ideas regarding Consciousness and human existence. Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted offers the clear-sighted perspective to the reader, helping one in achieving “prabuddhatha”, ultimate clarity, or Awareness of the meaning of existence. I wished to share these magnificent ideas with the world. I wanted to open myself up for others to see and understand.

As a concluding remark, I can say that Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted was the result of both my human selfishness and divine selflessness. Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted made me realize that the purpose of every moment in life is to pull us a little closer to the ultimate meaning of life. Yes, there is a meaning to our existence on this planet. You can see it if you want to see. You can listen to it if you want to listen. You can feel it if you want to feel. Life is always there, by your side, keeping you safe in its heart. Out of these two stands, I consider the latter, the one I mentioned in the concluding part more significant. The truth is, I would have published Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted anyway because I wanted you to read it, to know it and to be it. My answer is clear and simple. I did Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted, for my readers.

Who is Prabuddha? You can read, you can see.  
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