Her book ‘Welcome to the Zoo’ will be available in India this week. It’s Mishana Khot’s third book, an adventurous journey of four scrappy kids and their mishaps, accompanied by a pint-sized mob of friends and pets set in 175 odd pages.
They devise sinister plots to kidnap the Tooth Fairy, dress up as Egyptian Mummies and leap out at unsuspecting strangers on dark nights, smuggle puppies into the house, drive their starchy governess to tears, and pummel each other in horrible wrestling matches.
The Khot kids live inside an old Fort and spend their days rambling about in their overgrown garden or on the crumbling ramparts. They might not be very tall but that won’t stop them from getting into all kinds of scrapes. Set in small-town India of the early 90s, these stories will take you back to the simpler time of childhood, when all you needed to be happy was a pocket full of sweets and a dog by your side. Does it sound familiar? Well, that’s exactly taking out a leaf from Mishana’s childhood in Belagavi.
Mishana’s earlier two books, ‘A Brave day for Mr. Brown’ and ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Brown’ are already on Amazon and did pretty well worldwide. Mishana comes across as intelligent, well read, well traveled and speaks in a flawless, warm and hurried tone. So if you, like me, feel like asking the question “Are you Dr. Nitin Khot’s daughter?”, you’re not disappointed.
The same intelligent genes that she’s inherited are in full action through all her creative pursuits. (At one point during our conversation, as she got to gushing about her dad and I pitched in with my interactions with him as an active INTACH member, she quipped “Imagine being his daughter” with much pride) I had, in fact, received a copy of the book from him with his signature elaborately handwritten card with warm wishes for Christmas!
Mishana Khot has extremely fond memories of her childhood in Belagavi. The Khot Villa in Belagavi fort, which was, and still is, the epicenter of numerous cultural and artistic ventures, remains etched in her memory. Growing up as part of a large family with three siblings, Mishana reminisces the numerous adventures of the siblings with her dad, spending most of the time in her garden as a kid. ‘He’d pick us up and put us in his car to take us to places, day or night didn’t matter. “He taught us to do everything on our own. Dad never differentiated between his daughters and his son, making us climb trees and be fearless, travel anywhere, get our hands dirty, taking us to faraway places for fairs and the like. We were doing what most of our friends weren’t doing. He’d tie a rope and send us over cliffs, to waterfalls, to Yellurgad and many such wonderful places” she tells me.
Dr. Khot’s large library was a huge influence on Mishana, when he made available all sorts of books even as a kid, reading and discovering great authors growing up. Mishana delved into writing her first book even when in school, “Ginger the cat” which never got published, though.
Mishana completed her school from St. Joseph’s Convent and then headed to Mumbai for higher studies. She went to Sophia college for her Bachelor of Arts in literature following it up with SNDT Mumbai for an MA in English Literature. She started working in Mumbai with advertising and then moved to digital advertising, freelancing and agency jobs. It took her some time to come out with her first book though, for the publishing industry had, by then, got obsessed with certain kinds of genres that sold well.
She’s a professional writer but has been running an adventure travel company (https://www.thegreatnext.com/) which keeps her busy. Five years back, she and her husband quit jobs and went on a six-month break and traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast in the US, renting a van, trekking and camping on the way. Then they headed to Australia and crisscrossed the continent from Sydney to Melbourne in a camper van camping along the coast.
What next? Well, Thailand it was, spending the last two months there, figuring out what to do next. That’s when she decided to write her first book, ‘A Brave Day for Harold Brown’ a fifty page or so novel, available on Kindle. It went on to feature in the top 100 short stories, top 100 literary stories lists on Amazon. The second one was a sequel to the first.
The third book which is recently published is actually her first proper print version and hence is very special to her. Mishana and her husband organize adventure travel soirees for enthusiastic travelers, focusing more on Maharashtra, the Himalayas and the Andamans being the most popular places. She visits Belagavi once or twice a year (this year being an exception) and loves to come back to the warm town. She has already started working on her next novel (they will all be novels henceforth, she clarifies). Now here’s Belagavi’s own author to look forward to in the days to come.
Buy paperback or Kindle version
Amazon India: https://amzn.to/3qI9guf
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/38dHdKC
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3gRXskB
Amazon Australia: https://amzn.to/3nukoc4
Amazon Canada: https://amzn.to/2J3nXak
Buy the eBook here:
Apple Books: https://apple.co/34kuKnj
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/34nE1eh
Special Features Editor, AllaboutBelgaum
Swatee Jog, is the founder of Eeshanya Ventures, a digital marketing and content startup. She also teaches at Bharatesh Global Business School (MBA). She is a blogger, a columnist, has written extensively for national newspapers on people, places, and heritage, and has also published three books.
Reach her at [email protected]