You are hereProposal - Sino-Indian Novel

Proposal - Sino-Indian Novel


What do you want to do?

I was born to write. And this year, I’ve sworn to complete my long-pending 2nd novel- based on the Tibetan Uprising of 1959. 

To make my project as authentic as possible without physically entering Tibet, I would like to travel over the summer to Tawang, Bomdila and Tenzin Gang in Arunachal Pradesh to meet and spend time with Tibetan community residing in India. This includes both second generation youngsters and veterans who survived the carnage 50 years ago in Lhasa. I would like to stay with them- experience their religion and way of life and discover the truths that China or even India has been trying to hide for so long. I also need to explore the locations where the events of the Indo- China War unfolded. Most importantly, I would like to live in a monastery for a week to experience Buddhism in its purest form. All this would help me weave together a moving, complex and realistic story. 

I plan to finish writing the novel by November this year. Since I have already been published by Jaico, I hope I will not need to run around as frantically as I had to the first time around.


Why do you want to do it?

Writing has been the only stable force holding my unpredictable life together. For the last six years, I have been trying to pen my second novel.  

The first ‘The Cannons of Kalindi’, was a children’s adventure published when I as 14 years old. Between then and now I’ve been influenced by several new authors and selected English Literature as a subject at college. Naturally, I’ve taken on far more mature topics now than before. 

This book, tentatively titled ‘The Prayer Wheel Effect’ revolves around the events of the Tibetan Revolt and 1962 Indo-China war that have left repercussions across the world and unwittingly connected the lives of complete strangers. It unfolds across three time periods in three countries- India, China and Canada. Events occur in Lhasa, Shanghai, Montreal, Mumbai and Tawang.

This has entailed huge amounts of research- including learning Mandarin Chinese all by myself, and teaching in Taiwan for two months as part of the AIESEC internship program for the sole purpose of gaining the insider’s perspective on Chinese culture.

For my first work, it was mostly my age that won me accolades. I no longer possess that advantage. The time has come to make an imprint of my own as a sensitive, capable and promising young novelist.

Earlier last year, after the gross human right violations in Tibet, many monks fled into India. By complete coincidence, I bumped into one such group, who had sought shelter in my college campus. My fluency in Mandarin Chinese allowed me to communicate with some of them. I learned about the torment and torture they had endured and decided that I must leave no stone unturned to bring forth the truth. Also, as per the Buddhist theme of my novel- ‘that everything is planned’- I was convinced that this should be my mission- both as a writer and a human being.


How will you do it?

Being a writer is all about solitude. I am undertaking this trip all by myself, with support of family friends, of course.

Naturally I will apply for my Inner Line Permit right away to facilitate easy access to the state. Also, I will apply for permission to stay as a guest at the Tawang monastery and with a Tibetan family at Tenzingang.

This summer, either in April or June I will travel via Guwahati to Tezpur over a period of 10 days. From here on, I will hire a jeep (Tata Sumo) for the 3 day uphill journey to Tawang. 

My father is a senior officer in the Indian Navy. This will allow me access to the Army accommodation in the Tawang and Dirang bases. I plan to halt at Bomdilla to stay with the parents of one of my classmates (from the Monpa tribe). 

Once I finally arrive at Tawang, I will first spend five days living in the monastery. This will attune me to the subtleties of Tibetan Buddhism and awaken a spiritual mindset (besides the research purpose). After this, on my way down the highway, I will make a stop at Tenzingang Tibetan Refugee Settlement. Here I will get to live life à la Tibetan and interview locals on what occurred back in 1959. The only obstacle I can think of is the language, but I’m sure a translator can be arranged.

Of course, I intend to visit landmarks en route like the orchidarium, war-memorials, Madhuri lake, etc to enrich the narrative. 


Budget?

Mumbai- Guwahati (return) 5,000

Guwahati- Tezpur Bus- 100

Hired Vehicle- 5,500

Food- 200*10= 2,000

Army Mess Fees- 1,000

Payment to Tibetan family- 2,000 (tentative)

Contingency expenses- 3,000

Total- Rs 18, 600/-


This adventure will complete the spectrum of sources needed to put together my somewhat ambitious project.