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Bio:

Schooled in letter-writing, BS Murthy, born 27 Aug 1948, graduated to articulate his managerial ideas in thirty-odd published articles before penning fiction with the ‘novel art’. Beginning with Benign Flame: Saga of Love, he fashioned two more ‘plot and character’ driven novels, Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life and Crossing the Mirage: Passing through youth before switching over to the narrative non-fiction with Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife. After versifying the Sanskrit epics, Vyasa’s Bhagvad-Gita (Treatise of self-help) and Valmiki’s Sundara Kãnda (Hanuman’s Odyssey) in contemporary English verse (can also be found in Constitution Society.com, Boloji.com, Vedanta Spiritual Library, gatewayforindia.com etc.) and ascending Onto the Stage - Slight Souls and other stage and radio plays, he returned to fiction  in the stream of consciousness mode with Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel and Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel. And finally he reached the short story horizon with Stories Varied - A Book of Shot Stories.

BS's fiction had emanated from his conviction that for it to impact readers, it should be the soulful rendering of characters rooted in their native soil but not the hotchpotch of local and alien caricatures sketched on a hybrid canvas. 

BS's ‘Addendum to Evolution: Origins of the World by Eastern Speculative Philosophy’ that was originally published in The Examined Life On-Line Philosophy Journal, Vol. 05 Issue 18, Summer 2004, which is incorporated in the Epilogue of his Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life.

BS, a graduate mechanical engineer from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India, is a Hyderabad-based Insurance Surveyor and Loss Assessor since 1986. He is married, to a housewife, with two sons, the elder one a PhD in Finance and the younger a Master in Engineering.

 

General Information:

BS's ‘Novel’ Account of Human Possibility                    

Whenever I look at my body of work of ten books, the underlying human possibility intrigues me no end, and why not. I was born into a land-owning family in a remote village of Andhra Pradesh in India that is after the British had folded their colonial tents from there, but much before the rural education mechanism was geared up. It was thus the circumstances of my birth enabled me to escape from the tiresome chores of the primary schooling till I had a nine-year fill of an unbridled childhood, embellished by village plays and grandma’s tales, made all the more interesting by her uncanny ability for storytelling. As my maternal grandfather’s grandfather happened to be a poet laureate at the court of a princeling of yore, maybe their genes together strived to infuse the muses in me their progeny. 

However, as the English plants that Lord Macaulay planted in the Indian soil hadn’t taken roots in its hinterland till then, it’s the native tongues that ruled the roost in the best part of the vast land, and in Andhra it was Telugu, the Italian of the East that held the sway.  No wonder then, leave alone constructing a sentence on my own in English, whenever I had to read one, I used to be afflicted by stammer. Maybe, it was at the behest of the unseen hand of human possibility or owing to his own foresight that my father in time had shifted our family base to the cosmopolitan town of Kakinada to put me into the missionary McLaren High School in Class X. With that began my tryst with English, which, courtesy one of my maternal uncles, eventually led me to the continental fiction in translation that engaged me more, far more than the technical subjects I had to pursue for a career as a mechanical engineer.

While the Penguin classics inculcated in me a love for English language that is besides broadening my outlook of life, my nature enabled me to explore the possibilities of youth, and given that letter-writing was still in vogue then, I was wont to embellish my letters to friends and loved-ones with insights the former induced and emotions the latter infused. Clearly, all those letters that my novels carry owe more to my impulse to write them than to my muse’s need to express itself through them. Even as the fiction enabled me to handle the facts of life with fortitude, as life, for its part, chose to subject me to more of its vicissitudes, I continued tending my family and attending my job.

Fortuitously, when I was thirty-three, my mind and matter combined to explore the effect of the led on the leader, and when the resultant “Organizational ethos and good Leadership” was published in The Hindu, I experienced the thrill of, what is called, seeing one’s name in print. Encouraged, I continued to apply my mind on varied topics such as general management, materials management, general insurance, politics, and, not to speak of, life and literature resulting in some thirty published articles. But fiction was nowhere in the sight, nor I had any idea to turn into a novelist for Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Emily Zola, Gustav Flaubert et al are literary deities (I hadn’t read Marcel Proust and Robert Musil by then), and where was the question of a devotee envisioning himself as a deity.

But when I was forty-four, having been fascinated by the manuscript of satirical novel penned by one Bhibhas Sen, an Adman, with whom I had been on the same intellectual page for the past four years then, it occurred to me, ‘when he could, I can for sure’. It was as if Bhibhas had driven away the ghosts of the masters that came to shadow my muse but as life would have it, it was another matter that as he didn’t want to foul his novel by dragging it to ‘publishable length’, it remained in the limbo. 

With my muse thus unshackled, I set to work on the skeletal idea of Benign Flame with the conviction that for fiction to impact readers, it should be the soulful rendering of characters rooted in their native soil, not the hotchpotch of local and foreign caricatures sketched on a hybrid canvas, the then norm of the Indian writing in English. Yet it took me a fortnight to get the inspiring opening sentence - “That winter night in the mid-seventies, the Janata Express was racing rhythmically on its tracks towards the coast of Andhra Pradesh. As its headlight pierced the darkness of the fertile plains, the driver honked the horn as though to awake the sleepy environs to the spectacle of the speeding train”.  From there on, it was as though a ‘novel’ chemistry had developed between my muse and my characters’ psyche that shaped its fictional course, and soon, I came to believe that I had something unique to offer to the world; so, not wanting to die till I gave it to it, I used to go to lengths to safeguard my life till I finished it with a ‘top of the world’ feeling. What one Spencer Critchley, an American critic, thought about my contribution – “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” - made me feel vindicated, though there were no takers to it among the Indian publishers and the Western agents.

So, I had no heart to bring my pen to any more paper (those were the pre-keyboard days) though my head was swirling with novel ideas, triggered by an examined life lived in an eventful manner. Sometime later, that was after I read a book of short stories presented to me; I had resumed writing due to a holistic reason. While it was the quality of Bhibhas’ satire that set me on a fictional track from which I was derailed by the publishers’ indifference, strangely, it was the lack of it in that book that once again spurred me onto the novel track to pursue the joy of writing for its own sake, and that led me to the literary stations of Crossing the Mirage and Jewel-less Crown. But in the wake of the hotly debated but poorly analyzed Godhra-Gujarat communal rioting in 2002, as I was impelled to examine the role religions play in social disharmony, my fictional course had taken a non-fiction turn with Puppets of Faith.

Then it was as if my muse, wanting me to lend my hand to other literary genres led me into the arena of translation, pushed me onto the ‘unknown’ stage, put me on a stream of consciousness, took me to crime scenes and dragged me into the by-lanes of short stories. However, it was Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg, who lent his e-hand to my books in search of readers. Who would have thought that life held such literary possibilities in English language for a rustic Telugu lad in rural Andhra even in post-colonial India? The possibilities of life are indeed novel. 

BS had also contributed more than a score of articles on general and materials management issues and general insurance topics in The Hindu,The Economic Times, The Financial ExpressThe Purchase and The Insurance Times, the prominent among them being - Organizational Ethos and Good Leadership, Reinvigorating Individual Managerial Environment (RIME) in The Hindu, Low Morale in the Public Sector  in The Financial Express, The Psychology of Centralization  and  Lead-time Management - Key to Inventory Control in The Purchase, Conceptualization of Indemnity under Fire Insurance, Rational Evaluation of Stock Losses in Manufacturing Units under Insurance Claims, Incongruities of Machinery Insurance, Handling Irrelevant, Bogus and Fraudulent Fire Claims, The Surveyor's Profession in India, and Redundancy of Spoilage Material Damage Cover in The Insurance Times

BS takes keen interest in politics of the day, has an ear for Carnatic and Hindustani classical music and had been a passionate Bridge player.

 

 

 
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Sundara Kãnda: Hanuman’s Odyssey

By: BS Murthy

Audio reading of BS Murthy's book Sundara Kãnda: Hanuman's Odyssey (Ravan's encounter with Seetha)

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Bhagavad Gita : Treatise of Self-Help

By: BS Murthy

The spiritual ethos and the philosophical outlook that the Bhagvad - Gita postulates paves the way for the liberation of man, who, as Rousseau said, ‘being born free, is everywhere in chains’. But equally it is a mirror of human psychology, which enables man to discern his debilities for appropriate redressal. All the same, the boon of an oral tradition that kept it alive for over two millennia became its bane with the proliferation of interpolations therein. Besides mud...

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Stories Varied : A Book of Short Stories

By: BS Murthy

Stories Varied delve into the possibilities of woman’s life in the man’s world. While Ilaa’s Ire takes one back to woman’s life and times in the Vedic age, ‘201’ Qualms depicts her predicament when torn between trust and duty. If “?” addresses woman’s marital stress in an alien land, Cupid’s Clue is about her acting on a rebound in the native place. Even as Autumn Love enables a woman to discover the void late in life, A Touchy Affair renders her amenable to her man’s ot...

“Why am I bogged down with this man-made thing without a thought for the man who made it all happen,” she thought on second-thought. ”He’s only to be blamed for that. Why not, he’s the one who maligned my mind with materialism, didn’t he? Or is it Mammon who had seduced my soul to the core? But how does that mater any way. He did desert me at the first post of adversity and that’s what matters. How shameful. Is it cowardice or callousness? How am I to know? Let him go to...

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Prey on the Prowl (A Crime Novel)

By: BS Murthy

Who could have poisoned Ranjit the realtor, Shakeel the Inspector, Pravar the criminal and Natya his accomplice? Well the needle of suspicion tilted towards Pravar that was till he perished with his mate, but then who was the one? Could it be Radha under the scanner for her role in the death of her husband Madhu and his mistress Mala, Pravar's sister? Or was it Ranjit's spouse Kavya, who owing to Stockholm Syndrome, takes to Pravar her kidnapper. As these deaths by ...

That June evening, the crimson sun gave in to the dark monsoon clouds to let them end its long summer reign over the Deccan skies. What with the thickening clouds thundering in triumph, Dhruva woke up from his siesta, and by the time he moved into the portico of his palatial bungalow at 9, Castle Hills, the skies had opened up to shower its sprawling lawns. It was as if the eagerness of the rainfall matched the longing of the parched soil to receive its fertile mate in a...

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Onto the Stage : ‘Slighted Souls’ and other stage and radio plays

By: BS Murthy

A compendium of the author’s stage and radio plays - while 'Slighted Souls' deals with the rebellion of the downtrodden, 'Men at work on Women at work’ is about sexual harassment at work place and even as 'Castle of Despair' is built on the ground of man's urge for success, the radio play 'A Love on Hold' depicts the drama of love and possession. "Slighted Souls" is a poignant love story set in rural Telangana, beset with feudal exploitation of the downtrodden dalits. ...

Slighted Souls Scene – 1 Voice Over: Under the British Raj in India, the self-indulging Nizams of Hyderabad abdicated the administration of their vast principality to doralu, the village heads, letting them turn the areas under their domain into their personal fiefdoms. While the successive Nizams were obsessed with building palaces and acquiring jewelry, the village heads succeeded in ushering in an oppressive era of tyrannical order. Acting as loose cannon from the...

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Glaring Shadow : A Stream of Consciousness Novel

By: BS Murthy

Glaring Shadow in a stream of consciousness mode is the self-account of the life and times of a man, who liquidates his immense wealth only to consign it to the flames. The agony and ecstasy of his life as he makes it big in our materialistic world and the way he loses his soul in the bargain, only to regain it when tragedy strikes him makes one ponder over the meaning of success in life. He had the soul of our times, and is the namesake of many. He tamed success by th...

"As if to stress upon my loss, another said that the beauty of his life was such that he made a huge difference to the lives of others. It was an article of faith with him that service to humanity lies in inculcating self-belief in people."

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Puppets Of Faith : Theory of Communal Strife

By: BS Murthy

This thought-provoking 'novel'non-fiction depicts the ironies of the faiths that affected the fate of the peoples, eclipsed the cultures of communes, altered the course of history and afflicted the politics of the day. It also examines how the sanaatana dharma came to survive in India, in spite of the combined onslaught of Christianity and Islam on Hinduism for over a millennium. In essence, this book is for those who wish to be aware of the follies of their faith and th...

Pitfalls of Faith If the ecstasy of the Quran is the soul of Islam, the legend of Muhammad is the mind of the Musalman. The exalted sense of his pedigree could have made Muhammad fiercely honest, even in the state of deprivation. It is to be appreciated that neither his insignificance as an orphan affected his self-worth nor his poverty dented his self-esteem. While nature endowed him with a shrewd mind his destiny seems to have helped him cultivate a sense of purpose. ...

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Benign Flame : Saga of Love

By: BS Murthy

The attractions Roopa experienced and the fantasies she entertained as a teen shaped a male imagery that ensconced her subconscious. Insensibly, confident carriage came to be associated with the image of maleness in her mind-set. Her acute consciousness of masculinity only increased her vulnerability to it, making her womanliness crave for the maleness for its gratification. However, as her father was constrained to help her in becoming a doctor, she opts to marry, hopin...

That winter night in the mid-seventies, the Janata Express was racing rhythmically on its tracks towards the coast of Andhra Pradesh. As its headlight pierced the darkness of the fertile plains, the driver honked the horn as though to awake the sleepy environs to the spectacle of the speeding train. On that, in the S-3, were the Ramaiahs with their nine year-old daughter Roopa. Earlier, from Ramavaram, it was in the nick of time that Ramaiah took Janaki to Vellore for ...

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Jewel-Less Crown : Saga of Life

By: BS Murthy

This novel depicts the material raise and the moral fall of the ambitious Gautam and Sneha, his conniving spouse, and how that leads to the poignant death of the latter and the spiritual discovery of the former thereafter. Besides, this piquant story also pictures the tragic life of their sole offspring, Suresh Prabhu, and his eventual redemption through love for and of the spirited Vidya. Book One, Artha and Kama, is about conflict and resolution arising out of ambit...

“If not for my disorientation, there was no way I would've gone astray,” she said with an apparent regret. “Gautam was no mean a lover for all that. If not a victim of circumstances, I wouldn't have ended up the way I did. Surely, I shouldn't have. True, I am amorous but not amoral at all. Whatever I had undone myself, hurt my man and ruined my son. Now, I think it’s time I help my son at least to get a chance to undo his past.” “I know how hard it is for you,” said ...

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Crossing the Mirage : Passing Through Youth

By: BS Murthy

If passing through youth was like crossing the mirage of life for Chandra and Nithya, it proved to be chasing the mirage of love for Sathya and Prema though for plain Vasavi, Chandra's pitiable sibling, it was the end of the road. As life brings Chandra, who suffers from an inferiority complex for his perceived ugliness, and Nithya, who was bogged down being jilted by Vasu, together, they script their fate of fulfillment. And as poetic justice would have it, Sathya, wh...

As if all this was not enough for his tender psyche to cope up with, he had to contend with the sternness of the paternal strictness. Thus, it was only time before the seeds of alienation towards his father were sown in his impressionable mind. But the support he got from his sister and the solace he felt in his mother’s lap helped soothe his ruffled feelings a little. In time, he reached the threshold of youth, but couldn’t cross the despair of adolescence. Oblivious o...

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Sundara Kanda: Hanuman's Odyssey

By: BS Murthy

If Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace; many believe that reading Sundara Kãnda or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings! Miracles apart, it's in the nature of Sundara Kãnda to inculcate fortitude and generate hope in one and all. After all, isn't it a depiction of how Hanuman goes about his errand against all odds! Again, won't it portray how Seetha, on the ...

Canto 33 - Genesis of Exile Seeing Seetha’s demeanour change Gladdened Hanuman’s heart no end. Folding his hands in reverence Approached he then Rama’s wife. Find thee grieving for some time What doth make thee feel so sad? Thy eyes that are all welled up Make they clear that thou are hurt. From thy bearing one can see Come that thou from noble stock. Tend I think that thou are none But an angel strayed to earth. Wonder thou could be ...

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Bhagvad-Gita Treatise of Self-Help

By: BS Murthy

In this modern rendition, the beauty of the Sanskrit slokas is reflected in the rythmic flow of the English verse of poetic proportions. Besides, the attendant philosophy of that is Bhagvad-Gita is captured in contemporary idiom for easy comprehension.

All about Life-Chapter 2 This character defining chapter of the Gita comprising 72 slokas, known assaankhya yoga, Realization through Knowledge, is regarded by many, as the peerless part of the great epic. Arjuna’s dilemma, meanwhile, turns into grief, as the horrific prospect of slaying Bhishma, his revered granduncle, and Drona, his venerated guru, sinks into his consciousness. Bogged down by sentiment, Arjuna appeals to Lord Krishna for guidance. The Lord’s response ...

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