He calls himself an atheist, but author Amish Tripathi says he was blessed with the bestseller, "The Immortals of Meluha", by none other than Lord Shiva. Now its sequel promises to make many revelations.
"Interesting revelations will be made about the characters; in fact new facets of the characters will be revealed. Addition of new characters is another given," Tripathi told IANS about the upcoming book "The Secret of the Nagas".
Of the 100,000 copies printed for the second book, 80,000 copies have already been pre-ordered. The book's second edition is already in print, even before the first edition is released Aug 12.
"Immortals of Meluha", the first in the Shiva trilogy, was a big hit with 175,000 copies sold.
"I am an atheist and not at all creative. I still find it hard to believe I was blessed with this book. It is, I think, undoubtedly Lord Shiva's unexplained kindness to me," said Tripathi.
"The Immortals of Meluha" tells the story of the survival of an imaginary civilization east of the Indus, with a warlord Shiva as its central character.
It elicited humongous curiosity with its attractive cover, which showed the back of a well-sculpted sage-like man with a trident. It was an internet hit before the cover and the word-of-mouth publicity turned it into a national bestseller.
In the book, Shiva, who comes to Meluha as a refugee with his tribe rises to be god, the Neelkanth, whom the civilisation has awaited since ages. Shiva, perceived to be their saviour, rose to a godly status by his warring skills and out-of-the-box thinking.
The book also refers to the 'somras', the drink that can immortalise a human, and also deals with the drying of the Saraswati river, the waters of which are vital to make the 'somras'.
While it still occupies the top-seller list across the country, its sequel is ready to hit the market Aug 12 with an even more attractive cover.
"The Secret of the Nagas" will reveal vital details of the so far-hidden identity of the Naga.
"The Naga, whose character sketch is still under wraps, will be revealed in this book. The readers will also know who he is and the good acts of a so far negative character," said Tripathi.
The mystery will unfold right from page one as the book will also reveal what happened to Sati, Shiva's wife. "The Immortals of Meluha" ended with Sati being taken captive by unidentified characters.
A strong character, who fought valiantly, rubbing shoulders with Shiva, Sati is the cursed princess of Meluha whom Shiva falls in love with and eventually marries.
When asked if Sati dies during the course of events in book two, Tripathi said: "We are all humans, in spite of the somras."
Will Shiva move on? Find someone else? The readers are looking for answers to these questions, but Tripathi is coy about revealing more.
"I will only say Shiva is a one-woman man. He will never fall for another woman but shall mourn for her for the rest of his lifetime," Amish said.
Several mysteries will come to the fore in this book. "Mysteries hidden in the kingdom of the 'righteous' Meluhans, Shiva's realisation of Swadeep - Meluha's enemy kingdom, new love stories evolving - especially between the head of Meluhan army Parvateshwar and princess of Swadeep Anandmayi and much more," he said.
The author also intricately weaves into the plots the ill effects of the customs of untouchables and honour killings in both his books.
Speaking of the philosophy and the characterisation of Shiva, Amish said Shiva is the "dude for the youth".
"He is what we call the ultimate Bollywood hero. He has a perfectly chiselled body, is a good dancer, loves his woman passionately and is loyal to her, an awesome fighter, the originator of yoga and meditation, smokes pot and fights for the cause of the underdog. He is the saviour," Amish said.
When asked if the character of Shiva in the series is inspired from Lord Shiva, Amish had an interesting theory to share.
"Let us just assume that 4,000 years down the line, the world comes to an end and life begins all over again. With all the history books and scripts gone, if we hear the story of a man called Mahatma Gandhi and how he believed in non-violence and freed a nation from foreign rule, chances are that we will either not believe in it or will consider it a myth," Tripathi said.
"It won't be entirely false to say that the same might be the case with all the mythological stories we have been hearing about gods and demons," he added.