Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of The Road to Kedarnath! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Dr. Immanual Joseph: Thank you for sharing my story on Fanbase Press!
The Road to Kedarnath is a book about heartbreaking sorrow, healing, and self-forgiveness. Arjuna, a young man from India, comes to the USA to study, falls in love with an American girl, and marries her against the wishes of his conservative parents, thereby alienating them. He blames his wife for the rift with his parents. In a moment of irrational anger, he causes the death of his pregnant wife. Filled with remorse, he returns to India to make amends. Driven by inner demons, he abandons everything and becomes a mendicant. For three years he is a beggar, a madman, a renunciate, and as fate would have it, a thief and murderer. In his journeys, he consoles an old man on his deathbed, rescues a little girl from a sexual predator, and helps a young woman escape a rapist ‘god-man’. But a series of unexpected experiences convince him to commit suicide at a place near the holy Kedarnath temple hoping to be absolved from his sins and released from rebirth. There, he is saved by Krishna, an enlightened teaseller, who lives alone in a mountain cave during the brutal winters of Kedarnath. Arjuna stays at Krishna’s cave that winter, and what follows is six months of spiritual metamorphosis and self-forgiveness. Arjuna discovers the healing power of choices and realizes that by helping those he did, he is on the path of atonement.
The Road to Kedarnath is a peep into the lenses through which I see my world: a result of the learnings from my failures and successes and how I have come to terms with the process of living. I wanted to share my personal roadmaps for inner-peace and happiness in as engaging and endearing a way as I could conceive. The dream is that Kedarnath inspires people to look inward and discover their own space of joy and healing.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in bringing this story to life?
IJ: The Road to Kedarnath is a ten-year dream. I was going through a rough patch in 2012. On a particularly difficult day, the premise of what became this book popped up in my mind. I believe the Universe has inexplicable ways in which she chooses her conduits. The idea was simple: a man gives up everything and becomes a vagabond, and he finds healing and self-forgiveness through his travels. That same night I wrote the first chapter of the book. But then, life happened. The chapter I had written, and the story idea languished behind the curtains of everyday living. But sometime in 2021, the Universe decided it was time to revive the book. When I started rewriting this book, I saw it as a collection of wisdom, much like The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran. But it occurred to me that the philosophy of the book needed a really engaging storyline, or it would fail to reach the masses. I went back to the drawing board on the storyline, created the supporting characters, created space for the philosophy, and like pieces of a puzzle, the story came to life. I did not know how the ending would play out, but the story flowed through me. For this, I am very grateful.
The next part of the dream was producing it as an audiobook. The search for the voice that would bring the passion and pathos of The Road to Kedarnath to life was protracted. But I found the perfect voice of the book in Alan Mathews, a Professor of Physics and professional narrator based in South Africa. With his voice and the incredible music of Amuthan Sundar, the audiobook has evolved into a truly magical listening experience.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Arjuna’s story will connect with and impact readers?
IJ: In the brief time the book has been out in the market, there has been exceptional support for the wisdom and insights of The Road to Kedarnath. The book is unique in the engaging way it covers a wide range of life experiences in less than 168 pages, while keeping away from being overtly philosophical or emotional. A recurring feedback that I have received from readers is about how surprisingly relatable the journeys of Arjuna are to their own life. As one reader passionately shared: “(Arjuna’s) heartbreaking sorrow and his transformation connects deeply with our own emotions. We recognize the need for self-care and compassion as well as opening our minds to new perspectives and personal growth.” Another reader reviewed the book as “A beautifully written, transformational, and healing book that touched my heart. A gift of grace during a challenging time.”
With every single reader sharing how the book has touched and healed them, I am feeling increasingly grateful to the Universe for using me as a pencil to share its wisdom.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
IJ: I have created a podcast called The Tea-Seller's Tales which is an extension of the wisdom of Krishna, one of the key protagonists of The Road to Kedarnath. The Tea Seller's Tales is a collection of practical wisdom and short stories that offer a roadmap for inner peace, harmony, and happiness, and they are meant to entertain, engage and heal the spirit.
I have been passionate about workplace compassion and had previously written a book called The Fifth Revolution on the topic. With the release of The Road to Kedarnath, I am now compiling my perspectives on compassion and wisdom-living into storytelling experiences in Virtual Reality.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Road to Kedarnath?
IJ: The book is available as eBook, Paperback, and as Audiobook on Amazon and Audible.
The Tea Seller’s Tales, which continues the wisdom of Krishna, can be found here and on Spotify. If you want to reach me directly, my email is coach (at) compassionleaders (dot) com.