The Secret of the Zipacna Dragons is my first novel set in the fiction world, Adijari. I reworked it countless times to make it a seamless and enjoyable read. It follows the emotional story of a young orphan boy Gradni who wants to eradicate dragons because he is convinced they are the scourge of the earth. Along his journey, he discovers that they are not what he has been told, but he is torn between doing what is right and making a name for himself. All this while caught in a political back and forth of factions that have their own agenda. This world is full of a great variety of dragons, all of which are heavily influenced by my study of global dragon and serpent mythologies.
I grew up in Oman and the U.A.E and caught the writing bug back in high school. My mother gave me a giant blue ledger book and I carried it with me all the time. I just really enjoyed telling stories and knew that that was what I wanted to do with my life.
As a fantasy writer, I’m infatuated with mythology and what these ancient stories can teach us about humanity today. I read Nordic and Persian myths first, and then got into indigenous folklore from America and around the world. Indian Mythology is the one I keep coming back to in between reading up on others. The commonality, uniqueness, and vastness of these different worlds are an infinite well of creativity for me to draw from as I create stories in my own make-believe world of Adijari.
Kirkus Review is calling my book: “An ambitious fantasy tale that builds an enticing world with simple but effective detail.”
Looking ahead, I have a novella coming out sometime this summer and am working on an online project that is more directly inspired by the Mahabharata. This work is also influenced by reader participation. I’m grateful for my imagination and the imagination of creators who have influenced me. I hope that my stories similarly inspire the imagination of others. You can find The Secret of the Zipacna Dragons and more of my writing at www.spjayaraj.com where you can also sign up for my newsletter to receive news on upcoming releases and special offers.
The Author’s life is revealed in poetic, cinematic, emotional imagery, as she tries to make sense of her extraordinary childhood split across five thousand miles of the Indian Ocean. Conceived in the womb of the Himalayas, born in sunny, untamed heart of Kenya in Africa, she is nurtured to spiritual and intellectual growth by the ancient thoughts and cultures of India and Africa. Family and community nourish her. In Kenya she discovers a freedom with no confines. Wild animals excite her heart with fear, fascination! Sleeping or picnicking with lions, with elephants; travelling on long trips, by Lorries, or on foot – children carried in baskets on African porters’ shoulders in the company of parents in lounging ‘Palanquins’ for three weeks, through flooded rivers’ banks!
Through Medical Doctor’s missionary zeal to heal the poor in northern frontier in Kenya; their daring quest to access their daughters’ education in India becomes the catalyst for the unique journey of a five years old Usha’s life.
Soon Second World War breaks out, splitting her childhood across deep waters. The world-wide turbulence has a rippling effect on the life of a small child. In 1942, a passenger ship in the Indian Ocean was bombed by the Japanese. No more ships plied the route. The separated families could not meet their loved ones. Or receive letters! Time stood still. Her loving mother, gentle, strong father lived in her dreamland only.
In a Haven of Peace and Tranquility in the Boarding School at the foothills of the Himalayas in India, in a Gurukul Nature is a school and a playground, she begins her life of a spiritual and psychological well-being by Yoga, Meditation; is nurtured by the ancient rhythms, and a stillness when life is lived at an organic level and given a feel of overall well-being and contentment.
After a separation of ten years, she had to make fresh acquaintance with her parents. In Little India in Kenya, a new bond is forged! This amazing life of Rediscovery – is challenging, but life-affirming! The Homecoming is a poignantly emotional experience, both for parents and the child.
To join the poetry reading on Monday August 24th 2020 at 6 pm PST and 9 pm EST, click on this LINK!
The South Asian diaspora is perpetually evolving, breaking new boundaries and forging new connections in every sphere. India Currents presents its second Desi Poetry Reading to discuss how South Asian immigrant communities have changed over the years, as well as attitudes surrounding diversity, multiculturalism and belonging.
This is effort is in collaboration with Matwaala, a South-Asian poetry collaborative designed to provide immigrant and POC writers with a literary platform. In their own words, Matwaala represents “voices that dare to say the unsaid and hear the unheard…voices that break down barriers…voices that dare to be South Asian, American, and simply human.” Since their formation, they have hosted a number of poetry festivals and writing workshops. Most notably, they recently spearheaded Smithsonian’s Beyond Bollywood Project, where they created a Poetry Wall in honor of South Asian writers at the Irving Museum and Archives.
This poetry reading will feature notable writers from various pockets of the South Asian community, including Geetha Sukumaran, Ravi Shankar, Ralph Nazareth, Kirun Kapoor, and youth poet Kanchan Naik. India Currents staff Srishti Prabha and Kanchan Naik will moderate the event, facilitating questions from the audience via email.
To find out more about this event and its panelists, stay tuned for updates on our Facebook and Instagram!
Kanchan Naik is a rising senior at the Quarry Lane School in Dublin, California. Aside from being the Youth Editor at India Currents, she is also the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper The Roar, Teen Poet Laureate of Pleasanton, a Global Student Square editor for Newsroom By the Bay and Director of Media Outreach at nonprofit Break the Outbreak.