|The first edition, 1992, of Mystic and the Blossoms|
If one went about trying to define beauty, it would be very difficult to do so with precision. It is something like love that can be felt but not described. We know that birds and a variety of animals express tender love. It is heart breaking to see birds scream when their young ones are in danger, but it seems that they may be oblivious to beauty. Appreciation of beauty is something that appears to need evolution into a human or a godly being. Therefore an appreciation of beauty may be a mark of evolution. It is difficult to imagine gorillas and donkeys appreciating the beauty of a flower or a butterfly. It is tragic to see that there are humans too on the planet that are quite oblivious of beauty.
As a professor of engineering and a faculty member in three leading universities of our planet, my profession was to make scientific contributions and educate students of engineering. Some remarked that I was making a valuable contribution to society because technology improves the quality of life. Personally though, I was not fully satisfied. Technology can improve human lives but it is not sufficient in itself to do so. It has to be combined with an evolution of human character. This point could not be explained easily with a scientific paper; nevertheless I wished to get the point across. Therefore, I made up and wrote a fictional story of a backward village that developed into a beautiful and prosperous place as a result of the combined influence of technology and character evolution. The appreciation of beauty was one of the points included in the story. The story was longer than a short story but briefer than a novel. However, when it came to publishing it, there was neither the time nor the patience to go through the routine that a new novelist goes through. I was much too involved with my profession and this was just a side hobby. A friend, a Professor of English at the Indian Institute of technology – Suresh Upadhyay – suggested what the title should be - The Mystic and the Blossoms - Nevertheless, I managed to publish it locally here as a small hardcover. It was a single run of 500 copies therefore it did not get around much. Over the last decade though, with the spread of the internet newer editions have been published, after knocking out the ‘the’ from the beginning of the title and now it is available worldwide e.g. here (http://www.amazon.com/Mystic-And-Blossoms-Ashok-Malhotra/dp/1411648579). Today while looking through my library I found an old fading copy of the original hardcover edition and photographed it next to a statue of Buddha that a friend Keiko Amano had once suggested I snap and share. That is the photo that accompanies this post.
UPDATE: May 15, 2014: The Kindle version of this book is currently available as a free download over the next five days. Do download it. you will enjoy the story. http://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Blossoms-Ashok-Malhotra-ebook/dp/B005GT391M/