Ashwin Sanghi was enjoying a delicious cup of tea from a street vendor when he was inspired to write his latest book. The Vishnu vaultBeaten (Westland).
"The seller kept saying:cheeni maar ke"That said, he was very generous with the sugar," Ashwin says of the book that came out at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2020. “I noticed that we call sugar Cheeni, which means "from China". I later found out that the first Chinese immigrant to Bengal in the late 18th century was someone named Tong Achew who had set up a sugar cane plantation and sugar refinery. The region in which he founded the refinery was then called Achipur. Hence the term "CheeniFor sugar.
“When the Chinese traveler Xuanzang visited India eleven centuries ago, he was excited to discover sugar and sweets and took back some for the emperor. This meant that sugar had traveled from India to China and back again. I wondered how many such ideas went back and forth. These are two great civilizations and the exchange between them would have been substantial. "
The Vishnu vaultLike all Ashwin books, is an intoxicating mix of history, myth, science and thrill. The book that will be published in Bengaluru is being extensively researched. "As usual, I've invested almost a year in my research – reading books, articles, and essays that would allow me to build the historical narrative around this old relationship."
Ashwin visited China for the last part of his research. “I've never been to China before and it felt a little intimidating. My route was not determined by tourist cities, but by certain places that were part of the narrative of my book, such as the Terracotta Army, the Wild Goose Pagoda, the Temple of the White Horse and the Shaolin Temple. Research was more difficult due to the Chinese dimension. Ask me to weave a story around an Indian idea and the process is almost automatic. A foreign culture is far more challenging. "
The author, who lives in Mumbai, came across interesting information nuggets during his research: “I studied the Silk Road. One of the most famous places along this route was Samarkand, which boasted the smartest merchants. As I read it, I came across a passage that said that when Samokien gave birth to a son, he put honey on his lips and put glue in his palms. Care should be taken that, as an adult, he only said sweet words while holding coins in his hand as if they were stuck there. I found that to be very similar to dealers with a Jewish or Marwari background. "
The 51-year-old says that he likes to do research in areas where there is overlap: “I am the type who overlaps history and mythology. between spirituality and science; between past and present; between geography and politics … "
Like all Ashwin novels The vault of Shiva There are also strong female characters from Pam Khurana, the young investigator at DRDO, whose job it is to find out the secret of the superhuman strength of the Chinese soldiers to Jaya Roy, the experienced RAW agent and Anu Rao. "You know my fascination with Shakti. I have always believed that darkness is not the opposite of light, but the lack of light. Shiva is not the opposite of Shakti, but the absence of Shakti. Male energy is the absence of female energy. The Rozabal line had Martha-Swakilki-Alissa, Chanakya's singing had Chandini, The Krishna key Had Priya and Radhika … each of my novels always had strong feminine traces. This is no different. "
All six novels in Ashwin's Bharat series have "Bharat" as a common thread, but no common character.
“I want to develop a character that appears equally in a new series – now a closely guarded secret. The Bharat series will always have different characters. The reason for this is that the storylines will be different – one scientist may be needed as a protagonist while another may need an academic or detective. Given that the Bharat series is a series in which I want to write a book every two years until I die, I want to keep my flexibility. "
- The Rozabal Line (2008) The historical thriller deals with the theory that Jesus settled in Kashmir
- Chanakya's Singing (2010) A look at the strategist Chanakya and his rebirth two and a half millennia later
- The Krishna Key (2012) A serial killer who thinks he's Kalki and a history professor who has to clear his name for a murder case
- The Sialkot Saga (2016) In this business thriller, two very different men are connected by an ancient secret
- Keeper of the Kalachakra (2018) string theory, quantum mechanics and the beginning of time are distributed among the pages
With the many web series available on streaming platforms, there is every chance that the books will have a screen avatar. "For now The Sialkot saga is with Hansal Mehta for an OTT adaptation. The Krishna key is at Eros Entertainment for a film adaptation. The Rozabal line is with a third instance for a mini series. I am sure that the remaining books will soon be offered or purchased as an option. But remember one thing. Adaptations to the Bharat series are always challenging due to the size and scope of these stories. Patience is therefore the key. " The Vishnu vault alternates between the current and Xuanzang's trip to India between AD 627 and 645
“It was the last trip among the three main travelers (Bodhidharma and Faxian). Xuanzang's journey has been extensively documented by his biographer. Writing about this particular trip was much easier than writing about the other two. "
Almost 80% of the trip is true, Ashwin says. "I made deviations in places that correspond to the fictional narrative. Xuanzang talks about a third statue in Bamiyan, which he does not visit. He only plans to visit it on his return trip, but doesn't end up crossing Bamiyan when he returns. "
Xuanzang's journey includes extensive footnotes mentioning the old and new names of the places he has visited. "I was afraid that the footnotes would distract, but the consensus between the publisher and the publisher and I was that the footnotes added the necessary information for the positions in the travelogue without interrupting the first-person narrative. You could actually read the whole story without referring to the footnotes. The footnotes are aimed at enthusiastic history buffs who would like to have this additional information. "