Saturday, 24 March 2012

Blissed Out News

Defying the set norms
Last Updated : 20 Mar 2012 10:13:23 AM IST

By Zoya Philip

BANGALORE: With his latest book, Blissed Out, MC Raj is all set to break the traditional and societal barriers that have long existed. After publishing 15 other books, his latest book challenges what is considered normal and abnormal by the social environment that the entire world lives in.

Blissed Out was launched at the Reliance Timeout in the presence of a few eminent personalities and his family members.

It is the search of a woman, Helen, for her true identity. As she seeks her true self, the story takes the reader on a voyage through the UK, US, India and Aotearoa, the ‘land of the long white cloud’. Aotearoa is the most widely known and accepted Maori name for New Zealand.

“A couple of months ago I was in New Zealand for a conference on indigenous knowledge. It was there that the idea to weave a plot that had a strong presence of a Maori came to my mind,” says Raj. The story line dwells on Helen’s quest to discover herself after the death of her Maori husband. It also sheds light on the struggles that the Maori faces in a bid for self-determination and realisation.

As Helen gets entangled in the struggle, sub-consciously it turns her into a leader of a sort. As her search continues, she encounters intriguing aspects of religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, before finally uniting with a professor in India. While Helen seems content with the end product of her quest, a young man enters the scene. His entrance in the story gives the plot a whole new dimension and turn.

“Blissed Out is a book that was an outcome of various real life experiences that my female friends told me about. It is a reflection of their lives, at some point of time or the other while they searched for themselves and true love,” he informs.

“In fact ‘blissed out’ was how one of my friends described one of her relationships as,” reveals the author. He further adds that any woman could relate to the book as it is influenced by real life instances and stories. “Helen was adopted by her uncle after her parents died. While her uncle was a strict disciplinarian, Helen was hell bent to rebel and break away from the set norms. After her husband’s death she leaves the Maori community to find herself. Though it is a novel, there is an underlying message in the book. It urges every girl, every woman to discover her true identity and rebel against the norms,” he says while clarifying that by defying norms he is not trying to persuade them to go against anyone. “It is only to encourage them to stand up for themselves,” he says.

The book is written in a non-unitary directional manner. What the author is trying to imply is that instead of only moving forward, the story’s direction often reverses along with a number of events that occur simultaneously. This as a result gives birth to curiosity which keeps the reader glued on.

Meanwhile another sensitive aspect that the book brushes is, sex and relationships. “Why should it be alright for men to have multiple relationships and a taboo for women. How is that justified?” he questions. “This is not to say that promiscuity is the order of the day, but to say that how one lives one’s life is solely their prerogative. No one has the right to question or raise fingers at their decisions,” he asserts. In his words, the book, Blissed Out is all ‘about getting over your inhibitions’.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Blissed Out-Latest Book by M C Raj

Raising uneasy questions subtly

Published: Sunday, Mar 11, 2012, 9:47 IST 
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
In a rather unusual ceremony, SK Biswas, former director of Indian Institute of Science, released four books by social activists MC Raj and Jyothi Raj in the city on Saturday.
Unlike run-of-the-mill book launching events, the discussion that followed the release was not confined to these four books alone. Larger issues that concern the society like identity politics, development, moral policing and sexuality were interestingly dealt with.
The authors are well-known for having led one of the most powerful Dalit movements in Karnataka. They are the founders of Rural Education for Development Society (REDS), a people’s movement that was started in Tumkur district, and, by now, has spread across almost 2,000 villages of Karnataka.
Shouldn’t it reflect on basic aspects of life like health and sanitation? Saying that these questions are something that he often grapples with, Raj said his novels touch upon them subtly.
Of the four books, three are novels—Blissed Out, Raachi and Yoikana. The fourth book, World Parliament of Indigenous People, is a testament co-authored by Raj and his wife Jyothi. It is based on a first-of-its-kind conference of indigenous people organised at Booshakthi Kendra in Tumkur last year.
“The big question that Raj poses in all his books is that can human beings free themselves from the multi-dimensional hierarchy of caste, class, and gender posed on individual identity by the society,” Biswas said.