Fifteen-year-old debut author Aditya Krishnan chronicles his camping and holiday adventures in his new book.

While most of us return from our camps and holidays with new memories and photographs, 15-year-old Aditya Krishnan came back brimming with story ideas.

His first published book Starters with Mocktales (published by New World Publishings) is an anthology of all his travel and camping stories, besides three short stories, that were written over a period of five years.

Penning memories

Born in Mumbai and having studied at Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in addition to travelling around the world, Aditya’s travel experiences are as varied as can be. “Every year, I have the opportunity to take part in numerous camping trips and expeditions, which range from a week-long excursions to one of the world’s oldest rainforest, to a cycling trip in rural Thailand. All my expeditions have increased in intensity and rigour, and I want to share my experiences with my readers,” says this young author now preparing for his Grade 10 IGCSE examinations at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore.

“Some of the incidents felt like an alternative reality: I recall an incident where I was denied access to the washroom in the middle of the night by a monastery dog in a farm near Phuket. Not only was I a bit freaked out, I also felt like everything was not really happening to me: this was partly because of the unexpectedness of the absurd incident, and partly because I was in a groggy, half-awake state when it was happening. This event, which is actually a fact, sounds like fiction even when written out.”

Support

A regular contributor to his school magazines, Aditya started writing short stories in various genres including spy adventures. The writing then slowly graduated to experiences and travelogues. Teachers, parents and friends were his constant source of support and feedback on his writings. “A lot of my friends congratulated me on the achievement and more so on using my summer holidays for actually getting something productive done; the latter seemed to be a greater feat for them.”

As far as plans for the future are concerned, Aditya is confident that he will continue doing what he loves best – writing. He hopes to publish another book but in time after a lot of fun and exciting trips, of course!

Excerpt:

NYAA (National Youth Achievement Award programme): We learnt a lot of camping skills on that night. We wanted to try our luck at roasting marshmallows, which is where we learnt most: never try to sustain a bonfire made of waste cardboard boxes and disposable chopsticks. But getting the fire to start in the first place was quite difficult, despite breathing on the chopsticks after eating the burning hot noodles which we had eaten for dinner. After the miserable attempt at the campfire, and after terrifying each other with stories about Malaysian ghosts haunting the forest, we went on a night hike: but without any lights. I winced at every twig snapping under my feet: I know I shouldn’t have acted so scared, but I really wasn’t acting!