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  • Writer's pictureJoel Koechlin

"THE SUN-EYED CHILDREN"- A book release caught in the eddies of a pandemic...

A couple of years ago, while rafting down the Siang River (the upper part of the Brahmaputra, in Arunachal Pradesh, where it flows straight out of Tibet), I noticed a strange phenomenon. Despite a violent, powerful mainstream in the middle of the river, along the banks one could spot areas of self-trapped eddies of water; not necessarily in a cove, but sometimes in locations devoid of apparent reason susceptible to restrict the water flow. Each time our raft got entrapped within these swirling bodies of water, it required a considerable effort of paddling to come out of it, and get back into the mainstream. At times the raft was even moving backwards, upriver! These huge swirling pools were littered with wooden debris, such as tropical tree logs or parts thereof. Most of the logs, eroded through their constant movement within the water, had turned into beautiful sculptures kept for display in this pool, seemingly left behind by the Siang's current in it's fury to rush forward. I caught hold of one such lovely piece of wood and threw it into the raft. This soulful sculpted tree-limb was later converted into a souvenir and decorates my living room.

My book "The Sun-Eyed Children" reminds me of one of those logs, endlessly stuck in a stationary vortex, on the verge of a never-ending stream of pandemic!

The cover is finalised.

Design by Aurrima Marechal

The dummy prints are out.

The blurb on the back-cover is here to read.

"December 1970, midnight. In a deserted Munich suburb, at a dismal bus stop, a young rebel shivers under a driving sleet. His long hair gathers icicles while he ponders: should he burn his bridges and flee impending prison time? As the bus appears out of the swirling mist and stops, he shakes off any lingering self-doubt and steps in.
Little does he know he is embarking on an adventure far more demanding than his free spirit can imagine. It is the start of a journey that will take him half-way round the globe to distant India and the most remote reaches of the Himalayas. Embracing the life of a spiritual mendicant, he is forced into choices he never knew himself capable of, as he plunges headlong into a Quest that began centuries ago, and may find its conclusion in a far-off, uncharted future.
Only when he confronts the spectre of violent death, will he understand that all his life experiences must be integrated into one rich, all-encompassing Sweep of Existence that stretches infinitely across the ages, in an unstoppable ascent of perpetual evolution."

Then why on earth is the book not standing on shelves in bookstores?!

One may be tempted to produce a string of possible answers:

- Book stores are... closed, or broke.

- People tend to vegetate in never-ending nothingness.

- A pandemic-conscious culture grows deeper roots each day.

-"Groundhog Day" seems to have been re-enacted at a world scale, and repeats itself day after day since... (actually, we have forgotten how long — referring to the comedy movie starring Bill Murray).

- Wave one has passed.

- Wave two is passing.

- Panic one endures.

- Panic two concurs.

- And what about wave three?...

Because of all this, my publishers, Leadstart (Mumbai), do not seem in a hurry to release the book — and understandably so.

In the end, it all comes down to one single, irritating binary of words that seems to have infiltrated and infected much more than our bodies: the entire fabric of mankind's social structure and, in particular, our mind-set:

Covid 19...

Yes, Covid-19, that goes into 20, that goes into 21, that goes... Will it ever stop? The infection of the mind-set, I mean? THAT is the important question!

In a decade from now — although the pandemic will have ended long before — we will look back and may well realise that the scars left in our social structure, our Governments behaviours, our personal behaviour, our travelling protocols, our ways of education, our ways of communication, and more, are still running deep.

Meanwhile, as long as my single printed copy of The Sun-Eyed Children sits idle in my living room besides the battered Siang log, you may as well enjoy reading the short story below — a story set in our very special times: One Lockdown at a Time. Perhaps its irony will cheer you up! (click on the book and preview it on Amazon)


Other publications by Joel Koechlin Support my writing on Patreon

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