Swapnalok Society

 Just over a year ago, exhausted from non stop painting and 13 back to back solo and group art exhibitions I decided to take a break. Chill. Recharge my batteries and my creative reserves, wondering if i would ever have a single new idea again.

Insecurity is a great motivator-‘I dont know’ sometimes the most important and powerful words we can tell ourselves.

So i decided to  do nothing for a few months, except read gossip magazines (anything more serious seemed too daunting) exercise, have massages at the spa blah blah. I was thrilled. For somebody as high energy as me the plan to do nothing was a serious plan.

A week into my ‘plan to do nothing plan’ i started to get restless. Bored. Hyper. Mental. Attended a candle making class. Took a course on mediitation. Reiki even. Still restless, wondered about learning a foreign language-theres a spanish class near my place…Cleaned out every nook and crevice in my home and studio again and again. Scrubbing rubbing and polishing. I still stayed away from my easel and brushes waiting for inspiration for my new theme of paintings to strike  like a bolt of lightning from the sky.

On one such” I dont know what next and so I’m ‘cleaning out my closet yet again day”  i found a thin file of papers at the bottom of a box in my storage cupboard- stuff i had written ages ago (in my ‘I’m a bored London housewife’ phase) and forgotten all about.

It was a synopsis. A story of a young girl Chitrangana Varma desperately looking for her father. Set in a co-operative housing society in downtown Mumbai called Swapnalok Co-operative housing Society.

I decided to revisit the story and started to write. Flesh out people from my own past, some real some imagined. I still didnt know what exactly i was doing but then something took over and i found myself being plunged into this magical make beleive world inside my head called Swapnalok Society.With all the chaos ,the scizophrenia, the love, the  eccentricities , the highs and lows of the people that lived there. I couldnt stop. I worked into the nights sleeping an average of two to three hours. The charactors started talking to me, telling me their secrets, their stories, their loves ,their longings.  I tapped into the rich reservoir of my own growing up years and soon the line between the real and the fiction started to blend.

6 weeks later i had a book-or rather the first draft of a book. I dashed it off to a friend of a friend who was the commisioning editor at Penguin books India. She emailed me back saying she loved it and would i be interested in developing it into a series. Was she kidding?  I said yes. And thats how it happened.

My first novel. The first book in the Swapnalok Society series is called “The Summer of Cool’ Its being officially launched on the 31st of janurary 2009 at the Crossword Book Store in Kemps Corner.

Wish me luck guys. Am i nervous? You bet! More than i’ve ever been for anything else in my life & i’ve done a LOT of things and have maintained a fair degree of detachment from it all 

But now suddenly, I’m oscillating between euphoria (the Oh my God i cant belive i have a book coming out kind of excitement) 

and despair (the Oh my god! will they even understand what I’m trying to say,and the oh my god will they laugh at me kind of anxiety)

I’m so spaced  i’ve shifted into a gear beyond thought… have i lost it? or have i finally found it? Why has all my confidence suddenly flown out of the window? Why cant i treat this like many of the other things i have done?  Hmnnn…its that phrase again. I dont know…

34 thoughts on “Swapnalok Society”

  1. “Insecurity is a great motivator-’I dont know’ sometimes the most important and powerful words we can tell ourselves”

    Suchitra -i have been telling myself I dont know ever since i remember.But i still havent done anything worth talking about or anything that anybody besides my family know about
    It is great that insecurity drives you to do so many things-i wish i was that lucky 🙁

    Good luck with your book! I look forward to reading it and dont worry nobody will laugh at you. At least that much i do know 🙂

  2. it is intersting to be told about the pangs of birth of your
    new novel! As one who has read many of your blogs
    and one charmed by your dignified defence of a liberated
    female,I lookforward to its release very eagerly.I do not
    doubt in the least that it will be received with warmth.Since
    you write well ,it will sell well.May it be the harbinger
    of the arrival of a new writer who knows how to tell a story
    as you have stories to tell.
    wish you all luck ,Suchitra!

  3. Your book is going to rock
    especially going by the style of the way you write your blogs

    all the best

  4. painting candle making learning a forgn language
    acting singing writing meditation reiki and what not
    where do you get all that energy from? do share the secrets of your diet with us in your next blog:-)

  5. Hi Suchitra

    i was a great follower on your blogs on intentblog and used to wait eagerly for you to post. I was wondering why you have not posted for so long.Now this is even better, just your own blogs. We missed to and welcome back to the world wide web

  6. I am not surprised you have written a book. Infact i am proud to say that i was one of the first people to suggest you do that.

    i am sure your book will rock just like you have excellled in everything you have done so far

    Good luck. Chin up

  7. Congtrats Suchitra, I wish you all the best for your first and all the books in the series.Your style of writing is very natural and flowing and it is very absorbing.Very few people are blessed with such talents.It is God’s grace. God bless you. I am very happy that you are sublimating your energy in a very useful way. Keep it up. I wish you all the best for all your endeavours in life.

  8. your book sounds very interesting
    how you got idea of young girl looking for her father? is that part of the book personal?

  9. A story of a young girl Chitrangana Varma desperately looking for her father.

    Any relation with Ram Gopal Varma?

  10. Wish you luck for the book! If the book is written in the same style even half as close as ur superb blog then there is no doubt that it will rock!

  11. YOYO!! Just one word…Are u some kind of re-incarnation of Superwoman! U paint, act, sing, make candles, also have tried salsa….and now the book!!..Is there any creative stone left unturned! How do you do it!

    I have to struggle to draw a straight line and had more hot wax on my clothes and blisters on my fingers when i tried to make a candle! And the candle crumbled and was of a shape totally contrary to what it was supposed to be…I cant sing to save my life!

    I wonder if some people are just blessed with a “Creative Bone” and which is why they can do everything creative no matter what it is…Every form of creativity is just an expression of creative energy which u have loads of!

    In my next birth i pray to god or whoever handles that account to give me atleast half a creative bone!!

    Good luck on the book front! I will pick it up and read it and by the sound of it I am sure it will briing back my growing up years!

  12. Yoyo..Lol!!

    I HAVE a creative bone!! But mine is hidden…way deep down hidden that even I cant locate it no matter how hard I look for it! But I have a theory- (I will take a copywright on it soon!)

    Its called “The Pursuit of Creativity”…

    When one cant sing, paint or find any other form of expressing creativity then they should just pursue it by way of following it literally. It means that one does not have to bake a cake to eat a cake. I now go and stand for hours and see paintings by some other artist, hear music made by someone else, buy and light candles in my house made by professional creative hands and watch a lot of dance type movies and imagine myself being behind the camera (atleast in my head ;-))…

    While doing all the above I feel that I am contributing to the creative energy in the world while chasing creativity around…For if everyone started acting then who would sit in the audience and whistle!

    I really believe my theory that we can derive “Voyeuristic Pleasure” by becoming a part of someone else’s creativity by being an audience there!

    I know I know my theory makes sense to me only…But then its my theory and it makes me happy and peaceful abt the fact that I cant express but I can definetely live the life of a voyeur!

    Oh! I missed the most important point here! I found a site too that is taking order for books online and I have also placed an order! Wish you luck and I AM jumping the gun and I hope it does so well that it becomes a sreeenplay someday!

  13. dear scout! ability to appreciate and enjoy other people’s creativity does not come easy.
    It springs from an innate sense of refinement and is a mark of humility and absence of
    jealousy.Unless there are people like you in the world what is the point in any creation of fine works of literature,sculpture or art?Scounts and suchitras are complimentary and
    together they make us all survive in an otherwise mindless world.you may probably be
    heading towards a greater inner peace! may god bless you.hope suchitra doesn’t mind exchanges between her admirers!

  14. there is nothing called a coincidence in life…a germ of an idea takes shape years ago… u pen it down and the only reason nothing came of it then, is because you forgot about it… but the subconscious mind has registered it and works on it… and then when you found it…again no coincidence… you got motivated enough to work on it… and the universe provided all the means and tools my dear…all the best its meant to go where you want it go….

  15. Sounds too cool for words. Some people are blessed with seeing their creativity blossom in various streams of art. Go for it. Am sure your book will be noteworthy and super reading like your blogs. To be able to have the courage to experiment with music, painting and writing, aint easy for sure. Do them alongside each other, well !!! Wishing you all the very best.

  16. Scout!! Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 1:15 pm
    Yoyo..Lol!!

    I HAVE a creative bone!! But mine is hidden…way deep down hidden that even I cant locate it no matter how hard I look for it! But I have a theory- (I will take a copywright on it soon!)

    Its called “The Pursuit of Creativity”…

    When one cant sing, paint or find any other form of expressing creativity then they should just pursue it by way of following it literally. It means that one does not have to bake a cake to eat a cake. I now go and stand for hours and see paintings by some other artist, hear music made by someone else, buy and light candles in my house made by professional creative hands and watch a lot of dance type movies and imagine myself being behind the camera (atleast in my head ;-))…

    While doing all the above I feel that I am contributing to the creative energy in the world while chasing creativity around…For if everyone started acting then who would sit in the audience and whistle!

    I really believe my theory that we can derive “Voyeuristic Pleasure” by becoming a part of someone else’s creativity by being an audience there!

    I know I know my theory makes sense to me only…But then its my theory and it makes me happy and peaceful abt the fact that I cant express but I can definetely live the life of a voyeur!

    the creative bone…i dont remember

    at the cost of sounding metaphysical its called the cause and effect theory… if i created something and didnt visualise a series of people reacting appreciating and loving it…. where is my audience? lol so welcome and thank you for deriving “Voyeuristic Pleasure” keep going ….)))

  17. Nisha Says:

    January 12th, 2009 at 1:07 pm
    “Insecurity is a great motivator-’I dont know’ sometimes the most important and powerful words we can tell ourselves”Suchitra -i have been telling myself I dont know ever since i remember.But i still havent done anything worth talking about or anything that anybody besides my family know about
    It is great that insecurity drives you to do so many things-i wish i was that lucky

    Nisha my darling child… just one question… if you dont know… then how can any one else know what you want…? even GOD cant … just think about what you want and know…. and ask bindaas… and believe that you will receive it… drop confusion, insecurities… insecurity doesnt drive you darling… creativity does… faith in yourself and your creator does… knowing your not a puppet in someone elses scheme of things…but your own master does…your creator is unconditional ….

  18. Wish me luck guys. Am i nervous? You bet! More than i’ve ever been for anything else in my life & i’ve done a LOT of things and have maintained a fair degree of detachment from it all

    But now suddenly, I’m oscillating between euphoria (the Oh my God i cant belive i have a book coming out kind of excitement)

    and despair (the Oh my god! will they even understand what I’m trying to say,and the oh my god will they laugh at me kind of anxiety)

    I’m so spaced i’ve shifted into a gear beyond thought… have i lost it? or have i finally found it? Why has all my confidence suddenly flown out of the window? Why cant i treat this like many of the other things i have done? Hmnnn…its that phrase again. I dont know…

    i am taking the liberty to speak here…i have maintained a fair degree of detachment from it all… way to go girl! thats what life is all about… dont get so bogged down or carried away with yourself… life is such a beautiful journey….

    But now suddenly, I’m oscillating between euphoria and despair (the Oh my god! will they even understand what I’m trying to say,and the oh my god will they laugh at me kind of anxiety)…

    the energy frequencies that will pick up… will… and those who wish to laugh will… life is just a journey… if you have come from your core truth and communicated what you truly wished to… it will be recieved by souls that connect… fikar NOT! and bottom line… i am no authority on this ok? but i sincerely believe… every end is where we take it to… no rocket science!

  19. Vasishta says
    “Unless there are people like you in the world what is the point in any creation of fine works of literature,sculpture or art?Scounts and suchitras are complimentary and
    together they make us all survive in an otherwise mindless world.”

    I agree with you vasishta. It is a mindless world and everyone is trying to survive.

    All the best of luck to suchitra for your book. i will surely read it

  20. Lavanya Das says
    ‘To be able to have the courage to experiment with music, painting and writing, aint easy for sure”

    Yes lavanya. Fortune favours the brave. In hindi we say Jo dar gaya woh mar gaya

  21. Scout says
    “I really believe my theory that we can derive “Voyeuristic Pleasure” by becoming a part of someone else’s creativity by being an audience there!

    you mean vicarious pleasure?
    voyeuristic pleasure is what one gets from watching porn and what peeping toms do 🙂

  22. OH! Suchitra! I have just finished your beautiful novel.
    It is refreshing,engaging and racily written and carries the
    seeds of a really gifted story teller.Once I started reading
    I just couldn’t put it down.the style,the content and the
    emotions it portrays are unique and stirring.One gets lost
    in the narrative and emerges chastened in the end.
    What a classic!
    Your book will be a roaring success.
    May God bless you!
    We expect continuous entertainment from your gifted pen!

  23. Dear Suchitra!
    your book has hit the net and is capturing the hearts of readers,
    my entire family and friends’circle!
    For a first of its kind,it has a homely touch and has none to equal
    and none to excel.
    God speed !

  24. I am amar. Really I love your books. Your books are rocking in the market. Plese write books for aware people about society, poverty.

    warm regards
    amar

  25. Suchitraji,
    Congratulations!
    I have never seen your paintings but on this blog, must say you’re very good at this art form.
    At the tip of U-turn or paradigm shift words like ‘I Don’t know’ can either make or break a person but if taken with courage, it opens new avenue to knowledge. When a person says “I know” it almost means he has closed the doors of knowledge but when a person says ‘I don’t know’ its starting point to know.

    LOL! Its funny that you decided not to do anything and even by reading what you did by doing nothing it was tiresome (meditation, reiki, candle classes! phew) but very interesting and inspiring to know that those synopsis you wrote zapped you and those characters took over your imagination…inspiring because you gave so much time for them and surprising that in short time (ONLY 6 WEEKS?) you can come up with first draft! Many writers cannot do that, you did it and that’s wonderful because you have really tapped the creativity, I am told first draft is labor and rest is management

    Am sure it will be a good read. Wish you pots of luck and hope you deserve all the success

  26. Hi,
    Ma’am, My name is Nishanth , and I am student reporter at The Times of India’s Bangalore newspaper called the Bangalore Mirror. Since you will be coming to Bangalore, I had a small request if I can talk to you about your new book-The Summer of Cool. The idea was that Youngisthan is more informed about the book, and come in large numbers when you launch the book in Bangalore.
    I would like to talk to you for about 10 minutes, by tomorrow (Friday evening) so that it can be used for Saturday’s paper. I have tried to contact you today (got three numbers!) but unfortunately could not make it. Could I please get to ask you about the book, art, and movies and how you manage to do all these? My contact number is 9901989723 and my email id is nishanthcoontoor@yahoo.co.in.
    Thanks!
    Nishanth.

  27. When is your second book getting released?
    how many more are to follow>
    we are eagerly awaiting them!

  28. Dear Ms. Suchitra Krishnamoorthi:
    Watching your ‘What’s on my bookshelf’ video, I was wondering how to interest you in my self-published Benign Flame. Later, when I watched the book launch video of The Summer of Cool –Swapnalok Society, I was tempted to ask for a signed copy of it from you. Well, my hopes on both the counts won’t be liars if you mail me a copy of your book and receive mine whose blurb reads thus:
    “As her father was constrained to help her in becoming a doctor, Roopa opts to marry, envisioning her man serving her cause. But as Sathyam, her husband, fails to go with her idea, she becomes apathetic towards him, and insensibly sinks into her friend Sandhya’s embrace, for lesbian solace. In time, at Sandhya’s wedding, she loses her heart to Raja Rao, the groom, and that throws her into a dilemma. Unfolding the saga of Roopa’s life and times in the complex Indian society, this literary novel, nuances man-woman chemistry on one hand, and on the other, portrays woman-woman empathy. Who said the novel is dead; ‘Benign Flame’ raises the bar.
    The author has convinced the readers that love is something far beyond marriage tie and fulfillment of love can be attained without marriage bondage. The author has achieved a minor revolution without any paraphernalia of revolution in the fourth part of the novel.
    – The Quest.
    The plot is quite effective and it’s a refreshing surprise to discover that the story will not trace a fall into disaster for Roopa, given that many writers might have habitually followed that course with a wife who strays into extramarital affairs.” Spencer Critchley.
    The author makes free use of – not interior monologue as such, but – interior dialogue of the character with the self, almost resembling the dramatic monologue of Browning. Roopa, Sandhya, Raja Rao and Prasad to a considerable extent and Tara and Sathyam to a limited degree indulge in rationalization, trying to analyse their impulses and drives – The Journal of Indian Writing in English.”
    I am sure you would agree that for fiction to impact readers, it must be the soulful tale of a people steeped in their native soil, and not a hotch-potch of characters assembled in makeshift tents laid with cross cultural pegs. But as you might agree, sadly for the genuine Indian fiction, the mainstream publishers, to cater to the Western prejudices crassly promote the Indian stereotypical novel that either deprecates the Indian society or dabbles with the diasporic angst.
    You may like to savour the flavour of pure Indian fiction, without the ployish presence of of white men and women in our native soil to attract Western readers, in my Benign Flame, Jewel-less Crown and Crossing the Mirage, the stream of consciousness Glaring Shadow and a crime fiction Prey on the Prowl . Besides you may like to see what worth are my novel non-fiction, Puppets of Faith: theory of communal strife, and the translations in verse of Bhagvad -Gita: treatise of self-help (with the codification of 110 interpolations) and Sundara Kãnda: Hanuman’s Odyssey and stage plays Slighted Souls and Men at Work on Women at Work
    I hope, to begin with, you would like to peruse my Benign Flame besides giving me an opportunity to read your The Summer of Cool – Swapnalok Society.
    With warm regards,
    BS Murthy
    F-9, Nandini Mansion,
    1-10-234, Ashok Nagar,
    Hyderabad – 500 020
    Ph: 040 27611397,
    Mobile: 9246209733
    Mail to – bsmurthy_48@yahoo.com

  29. I saw your blog when I was looking for something not related at all, but this page was on the first page of Google your website must be insanely popular! Continue the good work!

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