It was interesting site at my home that day, when I received an email from Book Drum moderators, inviting me to take my love for reading and writing a step forward by entering the competition. I was suddenly rummaging for my favorite books through piles of toddler clothes, and heaps of toddler toys. When I couldn’t find any that I actually wanted to profile for the competition, I realized all my favorite books had been relegated into the background, since I became a mother. So, hubby was coaxed into a he-man act of opening the bed-boxes, taking out the huge cartons that contained my books, and holding back his anger while I suddenly dumped books all over the place.
I had many favorites to chose from – The Lady and the Unicorn, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984, but I finally settled for Siddhartha for two reasons – one that it was a slim volume, and second I wanted to showcase a work that spoke about the history and the beauty of Indian religions and culture.
Weeks of researching, rummaging, recalling, interpreting, writing, editing, embedding, and compiling resulted in a multi-media rich profile that I believed was compelling. I could also get some of my friends to contribute their travel photographs for this writing venture. However, the sheer volume of information that I had compiled in a few weeks time was the reason that I didn’t win the tournament. As the editor wrote to me:
I have now edited your profile, and we will be publishing it and featuring it on the homepage on Monday. Please would you have a quick look through and let me know if you spot anything out of place?
The judges were very impressed by the sheer volume of fascinating material you assembled, but they felt that perhaps that very volume might put some readers off what is, after all, quite a simple and short book. It’s a good point, and you might like to consider whether there are some bookmarks that are less relevant, or which could be more concise while still giving the great insight you bring. I would also love to see a few more pictures of gorgeous Indian/Nepali scenery, costumes and temples (it’s very video-heavy at the moment).
You should be able to edit the profile once it’s published.
All the best, and well done on a really impressive body of work.”
Even though I couldn’t win the competition, and even hubby asked a loud, and clear, “Why” in disbelief (showing that he did care), I was happy to be able to contribute to this monunmental work of creating book companions that can help readers traverse all boundaries of age, culture, and geography. When I have some free time to spare, I would like to continue adding to this great online reading companion. Till then, for all those, who have had faith in my ability to write, this book profile of Siddhartha is dedicated to you: http://www.bookdrum.com/books/siddhartha/9788129102041/index.html.
The second writing/publishing act also took during this phase, when I was contacted via this blog, by the editor of Hinduism Today that prints about 15,000 copies of every issue, distributed in 14 countries, and is created by the monks of Kauai Aadheenam. He wanted permission to publish my blog on Khajuraho, in an edition of the Magazine, featuring UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Needless to say, I was more than happy to oblige, and now my article is featured in the July edition of the Magazine available online at:
These are two instances, other than of course, the short story – The Muse – being featured in a collection of short stories by bloggers – The Eleven – when having a personal blog space has led to my work getting published.