Can I remember the names of the characters I watched in last night’s series on Netflix? I can’t remember in the midst of all the action! Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love the movies. It’s just that, except for some favourites, I can’t seem to go back and see something new that I hadn’t noticed before in a movie like it happens when I am reading a book!
Ask me about books. My first ever thriller experience was when I was 12. It was a Robert Ludlum novel called The Matarese Circle set in the Cold War era. I don’t even need to think hard to remember the names of the two heroes of the book. Vasili Vasilovich Taleinikov, the KGB agent code named ‘The Serpent’ and Brandon Scofield, ‘Bray’ to his friends, the CIA agent code named as ‘Beowulf Agate’. Each had killed the other’s loved ones and now they need to come together to stop an all out war between the US and the then USSR. I was 12 then. I remember the names. I remember the story.
That is the power of a good book. It is etched in memory, never getting old. Never dying. It’s author, immortal, revered, enjoyed, always celebrated. But that’s not why I started to write books. Not because I want to be revered or celebrated. I was inspired by Ludlum. I saw a movie in my head sitting at home for the first time without having to move from my chair. Six months later, I could read the book again and discover new scenes I hadn’t noticed before.
It invigorated the muse in me. I knew then that I wanted to create worlds, build characters, destroy evil fiefdoms and stand by heroes. That’s just me. I know people who want to write a book on withholding tax and know others who would want to devour that work.
Books can never go wrong. There’s a book for everyone. Each one of us. The author may have written it last year, in the last decade, in the last century or several centuries ago. But we, as the readers, hear his voice. He reaches out through time and space and tells us about his times, his pain and pleasure, his torment and leisure, concepts of science and spirituality and we, as the readers, live in the author’s dreams.
Books can never go wrong because no matter what, they will never be outdated. My book Agniputr is based on a single stanza, a victory incantation, from the Yajurveda. I managed to create a 82 thousand word thriller which fused Vedic knowledge with quantum science based on a single line. ‘Agni, with one syllable, won sound.’
My latest book, Song of the Trinity is inspired by a question in the Rig Veda that asks what if even God doesn’t know what lies beyond the universe? Imagine the vision in that thought contextualising it with the period it was conceived in. The depth of knowledge, the sheer capacity to imagine the unfathomable. That can never be outdated. It can never go out of circulation. It will always exist. After me. After you. And maybe the generations that come next may be inspired to answer the all-important question raised in the Rig Veda.
Books can never go wrong. There’s a book for everyone and every book teaches. I don’t espouse to be a teacher. I maintain that my books are meant for immersive reading and entertainment but that doesn’t mean I did not learn from books. I don’t mean the books in school either. You don’t get to choose those. You only learn what’s been thrust upon you and not what you want.
I meant books you read because you actually want to learn something. Books that interest you. They are the oldest form of teachings and yet, they will always be fresh. From the age of leaflets to e-books, they have revolutionised the way man thinks. And they will continue to do so. Remember that when you next see a book. Grab it. Because…
Books can never go wrong.
Vadhan is a lawyer, executive director in one of the big fours and author with five published books and many manuscripts, some completed and some commenced. His latest book, Song of the Trinity: The Rise of Kali is out. Get your copies in Amazon, Flipkart or in any major bookstore across the country.