Yamini Walia speaks to Chandan Pathak about his latest book and his tryst with the Himalayas
Tell us about your book The Beckoning of Gyanganj.
The Beckoning of Gyanganj is the story of Ravi Deka, an avid trekker who loves the Himalayas. On one of his treks, Ravi gets separated from the rest of his group and a series of events lead him to a strange, stunning and beautiful place called Gyanganj. There, he has visions about painful events dating back to several hundred years. In a nutshell, this story is about the life events of Ravi, his love Risha, Swami Raghunath, Princess Lata and the people of Mayurpura Kingdom. Above all, in a series of events, the story depicts the invisible, yet influential roles of divine saints belonging to Gyanganj.
What was your inspiration behind the story?
I have always been fascinated by the idea of a princess falling in love with a common man and the lengths that he can go to in order to win her from the clutches of a ruthless king. Also, I came across several stories where a king or a prince would torture commoners, and this saddened me greatly. Through this book, I have tried to weave my own story encompassing all these aspects, while focusing on love, romance, spiritualism and politics. I hope my effort will appeal to readers of all ages.
Why did you choose Gyanganj?
I have read extensively about Gyanganj and Shambalain in spiritual books and that has made me curious about this sacred and mystical place. Based on all the accounts I that have read, it’s a mysterious place. These aspects inspired me to write a story centering around it.
What is it about the Himalayas that fascinates you?
In spite of the risks of landslides and falling rocks, I feel secure in the lap of the Himalayas, just like how a child would feel secure in the embrace of his father, and this is reflected in my writing. You can’t ignore the influence and enormity of the majestic mountain range on my writing. As you read the book, you will feel the might of the Himalayas.
Do you plan on writing more novels? What subjects do you have in mind?
I am currently writing a love story set in the ’80s. This is loosely based on a real life account. I cannot wait to see the reaction of younger readers and how they would relate to a romantic relationship that existed when there was no mobile phone, SMS, internet, email or WhatsApp. I also intend to write a self-help book with the hope that it will help my readers tackle several issues. I might even write a sequel to The Beckoning of Gyanganj to bring the story to a logical end. I would also like to re-write the stories of my first book, Footprints.