JOURNEY FROM A PREY TO A VICTOR
December 6, 2012 Thursday
Armenian author Dr John D Balian, recently visited the city to launch
his debut novel Gray Wolves And White Doves, a semi-autobiographical
coming-of-age story of the author himself
by Ishani Bose
Most of the important things in life are achieved by people who
never give up trying, no matter how bad the circumstances are. Hope
is the only weapon they have to rise above all their miseries and
achieve all that they’ve ever wanted to in their lives. Dr John D
Balian’s debut novel, Gray Wolves And White Doves is a similar story
of a child who overcomes tragedies and turmoil of a changing world,
through hope and perseverance, only to find a better life for himself.
“It is a story of a young boy’s (Hanna) journey into adolescence amidst
turbulent times in the Middle East,” says the author, who was in the
city recently to launch his book. “It is an inspirational story that
talks about how Hanna, the protagonist, despite all the atrocities
and adversities he has to encounter along the way, triumphs by never
giving up on his dreams,” he adds.
Dr Balian also claims the book to be autobiographical on many
accounts. “I was also born in a secluded village in Middle East to
a family that was uneducated and poor. I lost my family, and faced
a series of life-changing events, at the time of a political exigency.
It led me to wander through several Middle-Eastern and European
countries in search of a home. Eventually, someone took me to USA,
where I started my life from scratch,” he says.
On reaching USA, Dr Balian, attended Columbia University in New York
City, on a full scholarship, and received a medical degree from Tufts
University School of Medicine. Today, apart from being a physician,
he also works as a senior executive in a multi-national corporation.
Recently, he also got elected as a member of the Board of Directors
of the Armenian Center of Columbia University.
Being an Armenian by heritage and a victim of the second most serious
genocide of all times – the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turkish
Empire, the author talks about his own experience through the life of
the protagonist, Hanna. The title of the book, Gray Wolves And White
Doves, carries the connotation of the hungry predators meaning the
‘Solluk Kurt’, a 100-year-old Turkish secret organisation on one hand,
and the innocent prey such as the Armenian race on the other.
The author considers the book as a medium to share stories about
his past with the world at large, which he could never muster up the
courage to do, in all these years, even with his wife. “My past has
been very disturbing and until recent times, nobody, not even my wife,
knew about it. Every time, I went back in time, my mind was filled
with fear and I could never bring myself to talk about it. Writing
this book has been therapeutic,” says the author who took eight and
half years to write the book.
“I wanted people to get a vivid picture of all that I had been through,
so that they too could believe in themselves and achieve their dreams,
no matter what the situation,” he exclaims, adding that he would love
the possibility of a movie being made on the book. “The book has all
the ingredients to make a phenomenal movie — the good, the bad and
the ugly and most importantly it is based on a true story,” he adds.
Having received a wonderful response for this book, the author wishes
to start working on the sequel soon. “Whoever has read this book,
has loved it. I will definitely come up with a sequel to this book,
and it could probably be about my life after moving to the US. It
is just a vague idea as of now but I’ll start working on it soon,”
he says with hope.