Sometimes comical, sometimes poignant, always gripping, Jungle Submarines follows the real-life adventures of Botch as he grows up with his eccentric family – Papa the stoic, Mama the passionate, Minu the thug, Anu the stubborn, and Nini the sweet – in a country and a world that are charmingly disorganized.
Papa’s job takes him and the family from the swampy jungles of Bihar to the dusty deserts of Iraq, from the tranquil highlands of Coonoor to the bustling plains of Hyderabad; and this pageant of life teaches Botch about happiness and sadness, glory and defeat, strength and weakness, but above all about trust and family.
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Until I was around twelve, my father’s career had him move very often. We (the family) traveled with him, and this constant shifting led to some interesting encounters with people and places. I grew up home-schooled until I was around seven and flashes of these incidents pepper my early recollections. I penned down these memories for fear of losing them entirely and gradually accumulated enough writing to form this book, which I titled “Jungle Submarines.”
Why “Jungle Submarines”? The book begins with one of my first memories, an encounter with elephants in a camp deep in the jungles of Bihar, and the name reflects this first adventure. The book follows on with other anecdotes from Shillong, Jaipur, Mosul, Baghdad, Coonoor, and Hyderabad. The anecdotes are sometimes comical, sometimes scary, and sometimes fantastical, but throughout it all I have tried to reflect on how I grew and changed, and my relationship with my eccentric family and friends.
I have written the book in third person, with a rather humorous look at the protagonist ‘Botch’ (which is my pet name) and his family: Papa the stoic, Mama the passionate, Minu the thug, Anu the stubborn, and Nini the sweet. I secretly like to talk to myself as ‘Botch’ in the dialogues within my head. Perhaps it’s a horrible mental sickness; but please don’t intimate me if you know the truth! Let sleeping Botches lie.
Botch (or Mario) is a real and extant human being! He is a techie who lives and works in Bangalore. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science, he spent the first several years of his career working in various places around the globe before deciding to settle in Bangalore. He is passionate about travel, eating and drinking, reading and writing, and possibly doing all the above at the same time! It puzzles him sometimes that life has surrounded him with more than his fair share of eccentric characters, but they do make his life interesting.
What of the future? I have had many more eccentric adventures, continuing on through college life, my bachelor days, my marriage, and on to my present (staid) middle-age. Book two, with the continuing adventures of Botch, is making its way slowly out of my head and onto paper.
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