Currently I am working on two novels - 'Heroism Consultants' and 'Lost Tales of the Quiche'. Been having the basic idea for both for close to 3 years now but been mulling over and developing the ideas.

Heroism Consultants is a satire on the way the corporate world functions. The main protagonists are five management consultants. An air crash takes them to the times of Hercules. The story follows their adventure through Greek mythology, applying their modern management techniques to Hercules's Twelve Labors with comical results. A sample excerpt from the story.

So how do you kill a lion? I know what you are thinking? All those lame jokes on ways to kill a lion that have been doing rounds from the time internet was invented, right? Ask the lion to join one of the companies, get various film producers and directors to take films involving the lion, and ask the various famous persona, the action heroes, and people of various professions – physicists, mathematicians, and psychiatrists etc. to take a shot at the poor feller. What a fall from grace, oh mighty king of beasts! Lions have lost their pride in every sense of the term. And at the rate at which they are being hunted, in a few years from now, the only place you would find them would be the jokes on the internet. Wish there was some way to make these jokes and the people who post and forward them extinct as well.

Well, there are lions and then there is the Nemean Lion! This is the beast our friends the consultants are supposed to help Hercules kill. Just take a gun and go bang bang at him you may say. How easy technology has made life, isn’t it? Even a bloody idiot who doesn’t even know to tie his shoe laces properly can fell this majestic beast and become a hero, if but he lays hands on one of these fire toys. But then there is a catch here. First of all we do not have any firearms with us. Flights have restriction on what you can carry you know. Unless off course you are one of those privileged ones who happen to be espoused into prime ministerial family. Now take that bloody smirk off your face. I know what you are thinking. Gunpowder would have been a better option than management consultants to solve this problem, eh? Q.E.D – management consultancy is not man’s greatest invention and I am an idiot.

The story is expected to be anywhere between 35,000 to 50,000 words long depending on whether I stop with Hercules and Consulting or I extend it to other Greek heroes and outsourcing and technology as well. I have written 19,000 words so far. Have a long way to go. I have queried a publisher on recommendation by a friend. There has been no response so far but I have not followed up aggressively as I am still a long way from completing the story.

Lost Tales of the Quiche is a retelling of the Mayan mythology in a fiction king of narrative style. The story is being told by an Indian grandfather to his grandson - between every scene, we have conversations between them, trying to understand some of the difficult aspects of the story and to discuss some of the ethical and philosophical aspects as well as a comparison with other mythologies.

An excerpt from the narrative section:

So stunned was she by this talking head that she did not utter a word. She just continued to stare in silence, unable to take her eyes off that skull which seemed to retain the noble bearing and charm of its deceased owner. The skull spoke up again. “Please bring your rosy little palms closer to me so that I can see you better.”

She involuntarily did as she was bidden as if under a hypnotic trance. As soon as the palm reached close to the skull, she saw the skull’s jaws moving apart and something emerge out in a flash and then she felt wetness in her palm. She withdrew her palm immediately and saw some thick frothy fluid that was swirling in the middle of her palm one moment and completely disappeared the next. As she was looking intently at her palm, trying to make sense of what just transpired, the head spoke again.

“Oh, lovely maiden, through my spittle, my spirit has entered into you. You now carry that which made this barren tree bear fruits. You now carry within yourself that which fascinated you and brought you to me.”

This revelation brought forth the words that had evaded her all this while. “What? What have you done to me, you vile skull? What sorcery have you cast upon me?”
“I am no vile skull, maiden but the mortal remains of a warrior from the world above. A victim of the dastardly schemes of the Lords of Xibalba.”

An excerpt from the conversation section:

“This sounds so much like our Mahabharata, grandpa – where Yudhisthira is invited to that fateful game of dice.”

“You are able to see the similarities, aren’t you? Every mythology has these incidents where Gods or heroes’ fate hand upon result of games. In Egyptian mythology also, Seth and Horus competed in a set of games for the throne.”

“I am wondering how it will be if India and Pakistan decided the fate of Kashmir over a cricket match.”

“Ha Ha Ha, my boy. Wish things were that easy though given the craze for cricket, lot of people on both sides of the border may even actually agree to this solution. But to be honest, often court litigations or war throw up as frivolous results as games. So I guess things have only got more complicated, not necessarily better.”

The story is expected to be anywhere between 35,000 to 50,000 words long depending on how much of the myth I choose to cover in a single book. I have written 22,000 words so far. There is already an offer to publish this as a 35,000 word novella from an independent press. Only challenge is to complete it soon to my personal level of satisfaction.

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