How Edison's 'dying breath' story inspired a novel!
New Delhi: Inspired by Thomas Edison's 'dying breath' story, US-based author Monica Bhide embarked upon a mystical journey, transcending time and space to pen her new novel "The Soul Catcher".
Legend has it that Henry Ford asked Edison's son to catch his father's dying breath in a test tube, which is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum.
This idea that the breath of life can be captured and shared with those who need it most inspired Bhide to write her book, which is set in real, yet magical, modern-day India.
"I researched this book for well over five years before writing it. There was so much to think about - I wrote it as a novel first, then as a collection of short stories and then scrapped it all and started again! In the end, it is a novel told in stories - like a mosaic or a puzzle that comes together," she says.
Bhide, who started with writing food anthologies, says the past few years have been a source of great turmoil as she struggled with massive medical issues in the family, a divorce, financial stress and of course, the pandemic.
"I realised what was giving me comfort was words. Words others had written during times of great turmoil. And some not written during times of turmoil. But all those words offered me great relief during a heartbreaking time," she says.
In 2014, Bhide wrote a collection of stories called "The Devil in Us". "The Soul Catcher" is one of the stories featured in that collection.
"It garnered much attention. So, I decided at some point that I needed to write a novel about the lead character, Yamini," she says.
"The Soul Catcher" also highlights the dark side of people and relationships.
"There is always a dark side to all of us. Some of the characters in the book are selfish, arrogant, well-meaning but mean. They are all shades of human - I believe we all have shades of all different characteristics and depending on our environment, upbringing and nature, different parts of us shine in different circumstances," the author says.