“I am a child of the element of fire.
I go where my heart tells me. I walk that long lonely road.
And I will walk that road to the very end.”
Dipa Sanatani is back with another book and this time it’s a non-fiction. And yet it tells a story. Her story. Listen carefully and you’ll hear its song… Woven with a fairytale-like narration, The Merchant of Stories has all her musings, experiences and knowledge put together in a single book. The book builds a magical world of awe without the hint of any supernatural element in it. Well, life itself is magic… Isn’t it?
The book has everything—from the journey of her ancestors to her experience as a traveller; from the struggle of a writer to the rise of an artist; from the world of a reader to the making of an entrepreneur—everything. There is the pain, struggle, strength and the victory of a woman. There is romance and heartbreak too, concealed in the hidden box of symbols and metaphors.
Doses of astrology and spirituality are interspersed all through the book as she talks about the human experience. It showcases her deep understanding and profound knowledge. Through her perception of the world, she answers several questions that we had been asking since ages.
“Things break down because they were never built to last in the first place.”
The book is a paradise for travellers, stuffed with her travel stories written in her signature anecdotal narration. Some of the travelogues are written in the form of stories with dialogues. Travel the world through her magical words!
Sanatani has a way of dragging her readers into her personal victories and making them celebrate with her. It’s her way of saying: “If I can, you can too. But let’s celebrate first!” This is also her way of slipping motivational thoughts into the minds of readers.
With this book, readers are sure to get motivated. It might even inspire you to finish off that half-done work you had been postponing so far. Or perhaps take that first uncertain step towards your dream, letting go off all the fears that are holding you back. If you feel the words as you read them, this is something that would definitely come to you. Read aloud her musings and they are sure to resonate in your heart. And as the thoughts settle down… you will be a different person at the end of the book.
“Stay optimistic and know that doors will open where and when they are meant to.”
The Narrative Technique
The most noteworthy literary element in the book is the narrative technique. With a smooth shifting in narration, Sanatani is able to assume different forms. The author’s voice is sometimes authoritative demanding our respect and sometimes very personal as if a friend next door. Sometimes readers will lose the narrator in the engrossing narrative; and then suddenly, the voice will again emerge and surprise readers with some hilarious comments!
At times, the author would hide herself behind the curtain of metaphors. And occasionally she would give readers a peep into her heart. Even the stream of consciousness technique is applied sometimes while narrating some of her experiences.
Expect the unexpected in the narrative. I wasn’t expecting poems in the middle of a non-fiction book–if we can still call it that after all the amazing stories–but Sanatani has a way of surprising her readers.
The poems are music to the ears. They have a rhythm of their own. And a deep underlying meaning that will leave its taste upon the Canvas of the Soul. The words will keep resonating in the mind as the hangover of her poetry will refuse to leave your heart. One reading won’t be enough and multiple readings will leave you craving for more.
Sanatani homes a plethora of poetry within her. Even as she writes non-fiction, the poet in her seeps through it, struggling to break free. And as such, even some of the pages (and sometimes an entire chapter!) can be read as sheer poetry of deeply felt emotions.
The Self-Publication Journey
Towards the end, many chapters speak of her journey from a reader to a writer and then finally to the Founder of Mith Books. She speaks of the journey of self-publishing here, discussing the challenges one might face in the book publishing world; and also shares some solutions and suggestions to overcome them. It can well be treated as a writer’s guide to success, or at least the first step towards their dream.
Published writers will be able to relate when Sanatani relays the strange questions that friends and family throw at them when they discover they have an author among them. Laugh till your stomach hurts… And also, learn your lessons from them!
“Most people have no idea the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make your dream come true.”
Amid everything, the book produces the struggle of an artist, which is same everywhere at every age. It also projects the ardent journey of a traveller exploring life. With her tales of overcoming barriers and facing up to the challenges of life, Sanatani quietly passes her doses of inspiration to the readers who choose to believe in her. In a sense, the book is for everyone—for a traveller who loves to explore the world, for a writer on the process of getting published, for an entrepreneur in search of a little courage, for a reader looking for a delightful and inspirational read—everyone.
With the authorial as well as personal touch in her voice, Sanatani paints her life’s experience in a book which is named after the synonym she loves to introduce herself with—“The Merchant of Stories”. No one should miss the opportunity to read her inspiring journey through the ocean called life.
About the Author