One warm Rajasthani afternoon in the year 2008—while taking a break from festivities hosted at splendid Diggi Palace Hotel where I happened to be residing courtesy the sponsors of the Jaipur Literary Festival—I found myself wandering aimlessly through the sprawling semi-forested area behind the Hotel. Turning a corner, I spotted a woman ensconced on the porch of a charming old-world cottage—glasses perched dizzily at end of pert nose and sketching madly away. She looked up at my approach. “I know that face,” she said, peering up at me. “Aren’t you an emcee at the Lit Fest?” “C’est moi,” I said, and that’s how Mishi Bellamy and I became friends.
Over tea and crumpets (okay, they were ordinary bikkis, but Mishi is so quintessentially English/Bohemian we should have gorged on crumpets with dollops of raspberry jam and clotted cream, accompanied by Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong) we became friends. It came to me then, though I did not say so at the time, that we were simply old comrades reconnecting.
I was surprised to see how expert her sketch looked. “Come,” said Mishi, and led me into her secret chamber to reveal to me more of her artwork. I was blown away! Truly I had seen nothing like it before! Could a living breathing human produce art of such surreal perfection? I babbled on about how terrific an artist she was and meant every word. And, as you will see for yourself from these samples below, Mishi Bellamy is an Artiste Extraordinaire:
Mishi and I stayed in touch over the next seven years, through ups and downs and mutual globe-trotting. In 2013, when I self-published Whip of the Wild God: A Novel of Tantra in Ancient India, she told me she loved the novel and expressed disappointment that I had not asked her to create the cover. Everything had happened serendipitously, I explained—neither I nor the two friends who’d helped me launch Whip had any idea what we were doing. For the cover, I’d approached a gifted young artist I’d met at a local ashram here in Tiruvannamalai—but he was a novice at cover design and the four of us had bumbled around to produce the current cover.
Whereupon Madamoiselle Mishi (she now lives in France) said: look, Mira, I can design the cover of your work-in-progress novel (which is Krishna’s Counsel), but since you’re bringing out a trilogy of novels on enlightenment, it’s best you bring all three covers into artistic line. I assured her the artist friend who had helped us with Whip’s original cover would not mind if she re-did it with this noble aim in mind—Abhilash Sivadas is after all an up-and-coming professional with plenty on his own plate to be concerned about. And so Mishi swung her delicate skills into action and designed a fabulous cover, not just for Krishna’s Counsel:
but also for Whip of the Wild God…
As soon as she frees up from her own intense schedule, Mishi promises to design the cover of Copper Moon Over Pataliputra, my third and final saga on the molten process of transmuting our darkness into light—and which I plan to finish within the next three years or so; at which point, if the gods continue to beam down their grace upon our hardworking heads, my trilogy will be complete.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to see more of Mishi’s work, or contact her to create any form of artwork, contact her via email@example.com; you can also see more of her fabulous work on Behance.net and on mishibellamy.com)
Just for the record, although the protagonists of each of these three novels are different and were born in different ages (the first around 1800 BCE, the second in 1960’s Bangalore, south India, and the third around 300 BCE), I call my work a trilogy because the main metaphysical/spiritual theme is moksha or enlightenment. All three of my gorgeous, brilliant but emotionally volatile/ vulnerable heroines—despite their godawful plunges into hedonism and utter stupidity from time to time—are chasing the same pot of gold—which Ramana Maharshi described as being a blissful state free of desire and fear.
Gautama Buddha described this ultimate freedom in his powerful mantra: Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha. Beyond, beyond, even beyond, there lies the Soul. A bad transliteration written on the fly, I will admit; nevertheless it is the state of exaltation that the Awakened One pointed to that resonates with me—one of blissful consciousness that surpasses all forms of mundane happiness.
Sweet greetings from sacred Arunachala, where the incredible process of burning down the ego so we can experience ourselves as the almighty Self is accelerated by the power of Shiva the Destroyer!
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Beautiful beautiful art! Metaphysical crime fiction – how brilliant! Go, Mishi! Go, Mira! Love love love, Kathy
Thank you Kathy – sure Mishi will appreciate the support too! And lots of love to you.
O her work is beautiful! I can barely wait to read Whip .. and will when away over the festive season. Hope this finds you well dear Mira … Love, Susan
Susan, thanks! Yes, I can imagine how busy you must be with the festivities and family gathering around…enjoy and talk soon. Much love!
The covers are incredible….
Thank you Jan! Mishi is incredibly talented and I am very lucky.
Perfect! Everything is nicely aligned, including the colors. Cool idea
for a trilogy around a similar theme. Both of those books, and with the 3rd
would look great on shelf together. You definitely found the right artist for it.
Michael, thank you – hope Mishi is reading these comments as well – will ask her too – I am sure she will be smiling. Love!
Covers are terrific! Having read Whip, I can see how well the cover melds with the story! And eye-catching too….
Thanks KB…you had a big role to play in getting Whip out…
What a wonderful artist. Those are excellent KILLER covers she designed for your book. What a find of good fortune…
Yes, amazing find!!! As you are, Steven!
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As the scriptures proclaim to the heeding…. “Everything that is meant to coalesce will.. at the right time and right place through the right persons… ” Seems this too embraces this ancient proclamation… it wasn’t the right moment for the first book cover… however that “error” if you can call it.. has been corrected now… The moment of your meeting with Mishi seems to be pre-ordained… and the change in covers too… Brilliant painting .. Brilliant mix of colors and imagery… Surely adds another feather – the peacok one!! – to your writing on Krishna… the evergreen hero…. Love you all…. Couldn’t get hold of the books as I am presently in Bahrain… aiming to get them during my vacation in November.. Will give my feedback then… May the cowherd “make” your write more volumes than the 3 you have planned.. Bahuth Natkat hai woh chitchor… You get addicted to him and his leelas… 🙂 – Murali (always in his hand !! )
Thanks Murali, happy to know you will read Krishna’s Counsel when you can, and would love to hear your response. Divine addiction is the best! Om, Mira
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