The Prologue from my maiden novel – Seven Shades of Grey

 

I have received many requests on the why and the how of my novel. The intent of writing the novel was to make money but that was in 1999. To me today, this is showcasing failure and yet being proud of the sheer effort gone into writing the novel.

Through these posts I want to give (anyone who is interested) glimpses into a past that perhaps resonates; I plan on putting sections of the novel here. I welcome all feedback and I have provided links in case you want to read the entire novel.

Vivek Mehra

The book cover. It’s from a painting done by my friend Sushma Sabnis. In the book though, this is the state of mind of the protagonist.

Seven Shades of Grey by Vivek Mehra

Prologue

What is it about being a first-time father that is so exhilarating, and yet so frightening? I can not know, I have yet to become one. In about an hour or more I will and join the ever-growing race of ordinary men transformed to ‘superman’ dads. My wife Dolly has just been wheeled into the labor room, an antiseptic sanctum sanctorum. An hour ago the first spasms hit and we knew it was time to take this exhilarating, frightening and yet natural journey. Even though excitement engulfs me, the shadow of confusion is not far away.

About seven months ago I was more exhilarated, and not at all frightened of this, oh so natural a phenomenon. The reason was simple: it had not happened naturally to me!

Out of ten years of our marriage, eight long ones had been spent desperately tryingto have a baby, without success. The years seemed to last ten centuries, ten lifetimes. Anxiety coupled with hope and ending in catastrophic disappointment had been a vicious cycle following us dogmatically. I had lost count of the doctors and clinics we had anxiously visited, each offering hope of deliverance, each turning out to be a bigger disappointment than the first. Then mysteriously it had all changed. I still remember that day as if it were just yesterday. Years of pain, anxiety and disappointment had vanished in a flash. Exuberance soon gave way to bewilderment that continues to dog me even today.

Only a long-married childless-couple could understand the thrill an unexplainable and sudden pregnancy brings about. Only a parent-to-be can understand the fresh set of anxiety that envelops one the moment the wife is wheeled into a labor room. And right now I am all of this and more. The more I try to rationalize, the further away I seem to get from the truth. Trapped in the quicksand of my past, the more I struggle to free myself, the deeper I sink.

When all hope was lost, joy as evasive as sunlight in the middle of a dark moonless night, nothing one could say or do would calm shattered souls. And yet the darkness had vanished, the morning sun rising making flowers bloom, taking us in swift flight to the edge of the earth where a rainbow bridging heaven and earth revealed a pot laden with gold, at least to these two hapless souls. As I stand now in the waiting room in the maternity wing of the hospital, I have time to kill, to try to rationalize what happened, to unravel the mystery that has plagued me for the last few months.

I have to get free of the quicksand!

As a dutiful son, I have informed the respective grandparents to be, and they are on their way. As a dutiful husband, I am at hand should my wife need me. As a dutiful friend I have informed all my friends, at least those that I could. As a human being, I am excited at the prospect of becoming a father. As a soul doomed to trudge this planet trapped in a human body, I am as confused as ever.

What was it that triggered this miracle?

Why did scores of qualified and dedicated doctors fail and suddenly nature succeed?

What had happened to me in the last year or so?

Had I become a confused soul or an enlightened one?

Had I lost my sanity or just discovered it?

Strangers became friends on a new planet I chose to inhabit – the Internet. Their words of wisdom, support and prayers comforted me, became a part of my other life. And somewhere in this duality that I chose to live I had been rewarded by the imminent birth of a much-awaited child.

And there was one among them, the one that fused with my soul before being lost forever. Words hammered on an unknown keyboard, hooked to an unknown computer, manned by a stranger, linked by an umbilical cord called Internet had first predicted this miracle to me.

A miracle is defined as “an act of supernatural power, a remarkable event”. To me the Internet was man’s greatest miracle. Not one person on this planet ever believed or conceived the impact that it would eventually have; not one would believe the impact it has already had.

Did I discover the true meaning of love or could I say that I had learnt an eternal truth? Or was I suffering from an acute case of dementia! It is my past that I must go to, if I still seek an answer. And yet the one, who first predicted that I would be a mute spectator to The Miracle in my personal life, had dissolved into nothingness in cyberspace, just as mysteriously as she had appeared on it. One miracle dissolved in another, and yet left another for me to behold.

Who was she?

What was she?

The answers lay in the events of the past months. Somewhere buried deep, shrouded by a veil of my ignorance, lay all the explanations that my weary mind seeks. They happened over a span of many months, but are fresh even today, alive in my thoughts, etched in my memory, part of that which makes the complete me. Many months that taught me more than some learn in a lifetime, many months that compressed more than several lifetimes of achievement, one miraculous event, one fascinating world, and the rest of my life remaining with just one purpose: to understand what really happened.

Will I ever know?

Will anyone ever know?

To read more, in print click here

To read on Kindle click here

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About Vivek Mehra

I am currently the MD & CEO of SAGE Publications India. But I wear many hats that make me the person I am. Between the (public) professional life and the very deep and private recesses of my brain lies a universe of thoughts, actions and beliefs. These have been shaped by events, people and perhaps Karma. It's this universe I seek to put in words. When everything else failed me professionally, it was the power of my words that not just resurrected a career but brought back life to life. It is with these words that I continue to make a difference with those whose karma connects mine. Sometimes it's direct and most times it's not. But the essence of who I am never changes and I remain a person searching for himself. Update: In 2014 I published my first book on Kindle. It was written in 1999 and it never saw the light of day. Reader input welcome... http://tinyurl.com/7shadesofgrey
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2 Responses to The Prologue from my maiden novel – Seven Shades of Grey

  1. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really one thing that I believe I
    might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very huge for me.

    I’m looking forward for your next submit, I’ll try to
    get the hang of it!

    Like

  2. everyone is writing these days with one intention to make lot of money, as a result not much (good) is coming out of publishers 🙂

    Like

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