New Delhi, May 31 Journalist, editor, costume designer: film aficionado Bhawana Somaaya has worn many hats during a 36-year career that began in the 1970s, along the way penning 14 books -- including authorised biographies of film icons like Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini.
But it would seem that she just can't get enough of Lord Krishna, her first book on the "makhan chor" appearing in 2008 and its sequel, "Keshava, A Magnificent Obsession", earlier this month with a third in the pipeline.
These are Somayya's only non-film books. How did she develop a fascination for Krishna?
"He came into my life suddenly and the book also happened suddenly without my consciously seeking it. Lord Krishna is the eighth child of his parents. I am the eighth child of my parents. 'Krishna: The God Who Lived as Man' was my eighth book and it released in 2008, this is not a minor coincidence," she said.
"I believe that I was able to conceive 'Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession" because He wanted me to write this book. Fingerprint Publishing has done a marvelous job of the production because nothing but the best can work for Lord Krishna," Somaaya, who since 2012 has been the editor of the Blockbuster trade journal, told IANS in an email interview from Mumbai.
Keshava...is all about the folklore associated with the legend of Lord Krishna. It is a book of all that Krishna loved and imbibed life into -- be it the Tulsi plant, the flute or the tree where he romanced his beloved Radhe in Vrindavan. Lord Krishna loved the Lotus flower that remained fragrant and pure despite the muck surrounding it, which was Krishna's message of life as well. The book also introduces us to Kamdhenu, better known as the wish fulfilling cow and a constant companion of Kaanha the cowherd.
All this must have required a lot of research.
"The research was from everywhere but also from observation and imagination; it is all about personalising the research and making it my own. I think what finally shaped the book is the devotion, in my opinion it is the emotional tone of the writing - I feel the book reads like a prayer. I feel for all the nine characters in the book and I don't know if I can write a similar book again," Somaaya said.
Where does she get the energy to hold down a full-time job, churn out 14 books since 1999 and write in myriad publications, creating a vast body of work?
"I don't think of it as a vast body of work, for that matter I don't think of it as work; writing is a passion, I write because I like to express, it is a way of life. The energy is there in all of us; it is up to us that we use our energies constructively," Somaaya replied.
How long did it take to write the book -- conception to conclusion?
"I am one of the few authors who write books combined with a regular job; so it is difficult to put an exact time frame on the process, but I would say from the concept to the final draft takes roughly a year," Somaaya replied.
What of the future?
"I am thinking of a sequel for 'Keshava' but I am not sure. In the meantime one more book is ready, it is called 'Shaping of the Seed' and is based on Garbh Sanskar so this will be my third non-film book. I am also penning my parents' love story 'From Karachi to Kings Circle'... whenever I am able to accomplish that, let's see." Somaaya said.