Remember, when former President Pratibha Patil took to the skies on a Sukhoi? Well, it’s an image that inspired Jagdish Keshav, a freelance writer now based in Bangalore to pen a short story on, what else, but the hijacking of the President’s plane! It’s part of his first book of stories, called The President Vanishes And Other Stories (Author’s Press, New Delhi, Rs. 250), which releases today.

The last 25 years, Jagdish was away working in the U.S.A and Canada, dabbling in content, technical and copy-writing . “In the past I’ve worked for American Express Corporate Services, the weekly Brampton Bulletin Newspaper in Canada, and am still an associate writer for Pravda , the popular Russian daily, specialising in international current events,” he says.

A Bangalorean who studied first at SSVM and later Bangalore High School, he went on to study in National College, Jayanagar before leaving for the U.S.A. He’s back in Bangalore, after giving up his residency in Canada, because, he says “home beckoned. And my roots were stronger than expected. Moreover, India is a land of more opportunities now; the West is on a decline.” He was based in Goa for a while before he set up a business communication company in Bangalore with a friend.

The stories were written partly in Canada and completed in Bangalore, he says, and each is of a different genre. One of the stories, for instance, is a take on the Ramayana, where he talks of an incident that never happened — a story of revenge on Luv and Kush that goes all the way back to Lanka, he says. Another, is the story of an ogler from a small town who finds himself on a cruise ship that passes through the Bermuda Triangle. Yet another is a mystery set in a peaceful village.

The book will be launched today, July 6, at the Indian Institute of World Culture, B.P. Wadia Road, opposite Krishna Rao Park, Basavangudi between 10.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. Call 9731512738

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