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A new dawn with `Orange Moon'...

Sharat Kumar may not be a familiar name to an English reader but this management guru who pens beautiful verses about love and sex is not complaining. ZIYA US SALAM finds the author of "Orange Moon" full of beans in the run-up to the release of "Lal Kothi Alvida"... .

IT IS sunshine time for Sharat Kumar, the author of "Orange Moon". He is clearly enjoying the moment. Parsimonious with brevity of expression, at ease with words, he has more than one for each mood, every occasion. Never mind if he says, "Word is nothing, interpretation is everything". This wordsmith is no worshipper of words. He can talk about Leo Tolstoy's works and personal life. He can also talk about some award-winning works in the Hindi world. And hold his own talking of management in the jargon of a professional. But what this Meerut-born, Delhi-based man, who resigned from the navy to concentrate on other talents, actually loves talking about - after his works - is sex!

He talks about it with the same ease as housewives discuss the rising prices of potatoes or men discuss the latest fall in Sensex. Or many a pot-bellied, balding babu discusses Viagra with many a naughty grin. "Sex adds value to your life, leads to a happy mode of living. Body wears out, mind remains young and alert." But, hey, what is life without the three-letter word? As Sharat Kumar says: "Life is all about emotion. Without emotion Taj Mahal would not have been possible. And sex is one of the best forms of emotion. The basic thing in life is love between men and women. God is the Creator and He has created things in such a way that they always do things they like doing. They like to have fun. But God also wanted the species to continue. So people make love to procreate but it must also be fun. Sex is just another form of sharing. It is a great feeling of trust and commitment."

Yet he steps beyond the stereotyped ideas of love and sentiments. "Sentiments don't make you sloppy. You don't polish your shoes, you don't shave for days. That is no sentiment. A caress, a hug, a touch is everything, it is satisfying."

But then there is more to Kumar than just sex and love - not necessarily in that order. He has just won an award for the Best Management Book of the Year for the book "Mind Your Management".

Again, there is more to Kumar than just management. "There is nothing creative in writing a management book. I do so because I have run a management school for long. Otherwise, writing a novel is satisfying as it has a dash of emotion. And life is about emotions. As a writer you take bits of life, you don't live life in a vacuum. You use the experience to spin together characters for your stories. Novel is an accumulated experience. If life is about choices, I made mine to write books that have a depth of emotions."

Clearly he is in love with his craft. "Stories have a charm of their own. There is a bit of you in everything you write. `Orange Moon' also stems from some personal experiences, observations. It holds certain manners of my own conduct."

But then there is still more to him. He has written extensively in Hindi - "Orange Moon" is a translation of the award-winning novel "Shikhar aur Seemayen".

"You can only express yourself in your mother tongue. The same emotions do not come through in any other language. However, writing is not a paying proposition if you write in Hindi. Though it is the second largest language in the world, it has become the language of the impoverished. However, anybody who neglects his mother tongue does it at his own peril. Look at BEMARU states. They have lost respect for the language. Agreed, Hindi does not get you a job but the same holds true of Bengali or Marathi. But they still respect their language."

Here again, there is more to Kumar than just Hindi books or Hans publications - where his novel was serialised. He has just authored "Orange Moon". "I spoke to this friend, another a few years later, sent him the manuscript, it took some seven, eight years... "

Incidentally well before "Orange Moon", Kumar had penned "Bindiya aur Lakeerien" and "The Storm and other stories", not to forget "Terah Kahaniyan".

Yet again, there is more to the guy who graduated from the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla in 1956 and was commissioned in the Indian Navy from where he resigned in 1966. He is now in the process of winding up "Lal Kothi Alvida", a novel in Hindi set in Meerut. "I stayed in Mukteswar for some time. From early morning to evening I will write, putting in around 10 hours a day. The evenings were for socialising, for enjoying," he recalls, sitting at his residence in South Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave. A nice upmarket address, one would say. "Oh! I got lucky. I bought it for Rs. 40,000 way back," he recalls in the first bout of humility, then lapses into the familiar, "I bought it in a moment of foresight. It proved right."

Yet this man of many words, few pauses is so full of stories that it is difficult to foresee all of them seeing the light of the day in this lifetime. Little wonder he says, "I will never write a novel in English. I realised very early in life that I had to write in Hindi only. I am an atheist but God or the Creator has taken good care of me. I believe what you really want to do really happens." Now 65, he quotes with relish Leo Tolstoy, Einstein, talks of his friendship with Bhisham Sahni... And of course sex. "Cold beauty is nothing, grace is everything. Tolstoy's wife had that grace. Many years younger to him but she had her husband absolutely besotted with her," he adds on a parting note.

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