The Sun-Eyed Children

The Sun-Eyed Children — A Saga of Spiritual Adventure across Space and Time

South India, Summer 1971 – Against his will sent on a mysterious quest, Lionel wanders across the country, as a spiritual mendicant. He is famished, thirsty and lost to the world. His bleeding feet hurt. How could a well-educated young man from the West end up in such a precarious position? And why?

He had crossed the Majestic area and reached a point where, abruptly, the dense concentration of buildings thinned, and every street ended in a broad dusty road, almost empty of traffic. He walked across the road and stopped dead in his tracks, staggered.

In front of him, lay a vast expanse of wasteland, spreading from the foot of a short cliff; a drop of maybe thirty metres. The view from his vantage point overlooked a sweep of flat land the size of several football fields, and beyond, the dense city resumed itself. A few cows and goats grazed on occasional blades of grass, and rare passers-by walked across the barren ground. But this was not what had caught his attention.

Down below, in the middle of this no-man’s-land, scintillating under the mid-day sun, stood a huge multi-coloured circus tent! Lionel froze, stunned. It was marvellous, beautiful, ethereal, yet real at the same time. The sight was like an oasis turning up in the heart of a desert. The golden aura surrounding it was not of the sun, but the more subtle love-light of a Million d’Oiseaux d’Or (Myriads of Golden Birds), as written by the poet Arthur Rimbaud. It hit him in the heart like a burning thunderbolt. In a moment of instant recognition, a silent voice in him screamed: This is it! This is what you have been looking for!

The pure, divine beauty of such moments swiftly wipes away the debt of extreme miseries accumulated along one’s journey. All prior sufferings, regardless of their intensity, dissolve in that instant. If only one could retain a newborn’s innocence and understand the divine language, there would be no need for pain along the way. One could walk the sunlit path at all times…

Yes, there are happy ways near to God’s sun;

But few are they who tread the sunlit path;

Only the pure in soul can walk in light.”   [Sri Aurobindo, Savitri VI-2]

It was now crystal clear that this was what he had been searching for without knowing it, wandering aimlessly through this city for the past two days.

Lionel caught his breath and looked around. There were steps going down. He used them to reach the bottom of the cliff. Everything suddenly seemed very peaceful around him. The sounds of the city reached him, but in a muffled manner. He walked towards the circus. Many vehicles, trailers, cages, and smaller ancillary tents surrounded it – the usual circus scene. On most of the trailers he could read, printed on their sides in bold calligraphic letters: BOMBAY CIRCUS. As he got closer he could smell the odour of wild animals – felines, elephants, horses and camels. He heard the occasional roar or trumpeting.

It was an idle time for the circus, the shows were later in the day. All was quiet. Next to the main circus tent there was a large open canopy without side-walls, sheltering a group of three elephants, peacefully chewing on a bale of hay. A little apart, a man sat crossed-legged on a mat, having just started his lunch, brought on a large brass plate by an aide. He had a clean-shaved head, and was simply dressed in work pants and kurta. He looked up and waved at Lionel to come and join him. Lionel’s gaze met the man’s sun-like burning brown eyes, and he sat down on the mat in front of him. The aide returned with another thali for Lionel. There were two chapattis, rice, dal, a small cup of curd, and some mango pickle. It was simple but well prepared and very tasty.

Not a word was said.

The man did not speak till the meal was over. Lionel felt close to him, and had no desire to converse either, merely grateful for such an enjoyable meal. He felt so good in that exceptional moment under the circus tent, in the company of this unknown-known man, near the powerful elephants, that he did not wish for it to end. He had been very thirsty. When he drank the plain water in a brass mug, it tasted like nectar. The aide returned and took away the plates.

At this point, the man asked Lionel in Hindi, “Aap kahaan ja rahe ho? (Where are you going?)”

Lionel did not know what to say, so he pulled out his map, intending to use it to explain that he was going to the Himalayas for a retreat as a sannyasi. He unfolded the map and went on spreading it out between them on the mat. But before he could turn the map and orient it so that South was on the man’s side and North on his, while it was still upside-down to him, the man put his right index finger on a specific point on the map; a map about six square feet in area.

Keeping it there, he looked straight into Lionel’s eyes, with fiery intensity. “Vahaan! Aap vahaan ja rahe ho.  (There! You are going there.)” He paused.

Lionel leaned forward to look at the map. The man’s finger was pointing at the most North-Western state of India. More precisely, his finger was set right in the middle of the crown-jewel of the Indian Himalayas: Kashmir.

Why would this unknown circus man pick such a far-off, forlorn destination? More importantly, where would his knowledge be coming from? From which realm of wider consciousness? And what unforeseen twists of fate will guide Lionel along his perilous road?

You can find out by reading “The Sun-Eyed Children” Volume I – Earth.

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Debashis Biswas

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Walid Jalal

Walid has 7 years experience in online listing & marketing Working in SEO firm & Publishing sector. He worked in a Restaurant as a Manager in Sharjah for two years. He loves cricket & cooking.

Jayati Sarkar

Jayati has been into literature studies and has pursued her Mphil in Australian Aboriginal Poetry from the University of Calcutta. She is an avid reader and her love for books has brought her to the field of Publishing. For years she has explored the other side of the book as a reader and now she works with Leadstart as the Senior Executive in the Editorial Department. Her work profile includes working closely with Authors, managing the projects from end to end and also working with national and international publishers for management of Secondary Rights.

Ashwini Jadhav

Ashwini has about a decade’s experience in design. She is a Master of Commercial Art, who has worked in the publishing and advertising sectors as a visualiser & designer. She was judged as the third best in the state, when she finished her foundation course in applied art. She is a practicing calligrapher in Modi Lipi (a script in the Marathi language) and is a Rangoli artist who has won several accolades in those domains. During the popular Ganesh Chaturthi festival, several idols of Ganesha in varying sizes get made, one the most important finishing touches to the idol is that of painting the eyes, which Ashwini has practiced to perfection and does it for hundreds of idols every year. In addition to the above, she is also a trained classical dancer, a national level Kabaddi player and loves cooking.

Ananya Subramanian

Graduation in journalism and love for books, led Ananya to take up a career in publishing. With her experience in the field, she has come to believe more and more in the power of stories and the people who tell them. She is a vegan and an animal-lover; and loves to dance, tend to her pet plants and often find solace in solo travelling.

T. Vijay Kumar

Vijay has over a decade’s experience in supply chain management working in India and the Middle East. He heads the production, supply chain and receivables management for Leadstart. Prior to his current role at Leadstart, Vijay worked in inventory management for five years, in Abu Dhabi.

Iftikar Shaikh

Iftikar has a decade & half years of experience across publishing and the banking sectors in the finance domain. He enjoys working on numbers and loves uncovering stories that the numbers tell. A fitness enthusiast, he loves trekking and travelling.

Maneesha Arun

Maneesha has an experience of over two decades in the content industry spanning over publishing, media and secondary rights business domains. She has a deep interest in psychology.

Mahendra Rawat

With more than a decade’s experience in book sales and distribution, Mahendra comes from a family immersed in the book trade. He worked with several book distributors and publishers before his current assignment with Leadstart.

RAJESH KRISHNAN

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Rajesh Krishnan

Rajesh comes with over 3 decades of experience spread over various business domains. He oversees Leadstart’s business development & sales across southern & western India, Sri Lanka and Middle-East. His hobbies include dancing, trekking and travelling

Pooja Dutt

Pooja has over a decade’s experience in operations, sales and people management in various business domains. She loves to interact with authors and helps them meet their publishing goals. She is fond of travelling & cooking.

Bhavika Bharambe

After completing her MBA in marketing, Bhavika has focused on roles that helped her to become an experienced marketing professional today. She has worked for brands from various industries; Educational, Tourism, Retail, Entertainment, Airlines, Banking and more. She loves to spend her time by reading books and listening to music.

Naina Solanki

Naina leads the project management and author support functions at Leadstart Publishing. She is fond of being abreast of the latest developments in technology and is a keen learner of the six sigma methodology. She loves reading and travelling.

Preeti Chib

Preeti has a decade’s experience in brand and communication management with most influential and innovative media companies. She is passionate about building brands by translating consumer insights into product innovations and campaigns. She is a compulsive reader and considers a day gone without some bit of reading a day wasted. She loves reading stories to her children every night. A lover of visual art, to delve a bit deeper into the same, she took up formal training for design as well.

Malini Nair

Malini is passionate about Literature and Business Management. After her MBA (Marketing) from St. Xavier’s, she took up roles that involved sales, marketing, costing, MIS etc. in multiple sectors like Banking, Insurance, E-broking, and even the Steel industry. Eventually, her passion for languages and books compelled her to re-route her career to literature. This led to a career break and a Masters Degree in English Literature; post which she took up a role at Wordit CDE & Leadstart, enabling her to work towards both her passions.

Chandralekha Maitra

With two decades of experience as a book publishing professional, Chandralekha began her career as a features writer and columnist, working with publications across India, before moving into book publishing full time, with India Book House. She received her training in editorial title management from Book House, London. Over the years she has worked with some of the finest publishing houses in India and overseas, and across genres and markets. She has also worked with Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art, India’s first auction house, gaining in-depth exposure to research and publishing in the fine arts-antiquities-cultural heritage genres. Additionally she has had a parallel, specialist career in Human Resources, working at Group HR, Tata Group, among others. She continues to write, train and mentor in this domain as her publishing commitments allow.

Raj Supe

Aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda, Raj Supe is a poet, storyteller and novelist, as well as a seeker and devotee of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath. An MBA by education, his career spanned advertising, research and creative consulting, before devoting his time to literature and spirituality. His works include Three No Trumps (novel), Sagarika Anusagarika [Echoes of Nine Rivers] (poetry), Pilgrim of the Sky (spiritual memoir), and translations of religious texts such as Cloudburst of A Thousand Suns and Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari. He has also worked on film scripts with Ram Gopal Verma and Ashutosh Gowariker, and on plays with Makarand Deshpande.

Dr. Rabindra Kumar Nanda

An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Stanford University, Dr Nanda is also a National Science Talent Search Scholar. He holds five Patents and is a published author of 50 national and 52 international research papers.

Swarup Nanda

Swarup has over a decade and half’s experience in multiple business domains related to content. Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, he has worked with a couple of MNCs in the media space. His passion for literature and books is his motivation for building Leadstart.