- Brief us a little about your novel ‘A Dilli Mumbai Love story.’
‘A Dilli Mumbai…’ is a humorous and passionate love story that climaxes in Mumbai attacks. Two people from vastly different backgrounds studying in Delhi fall in love, marry against odds, go through the ups and downs of married life, and then one of them gets caught by chance in Mumbai attacks. What happens next, I will leave you to find out.
- What inspired you to couple the 26/11 terror attacks with romance. How did the entire concept originate?
I wanted to write a romantic novel that had passion and intensity, and at the same time, I wanted to write something that conveyed the senselessness of terrorism and mindless violence. 26/11 had happened just a couple of years ago, and we all watched it live on television and saw how many innocent lives were snuffed because some people will do anything for self-glorification, no matter what the cost. Nothing is important before their ideas, their beliefs — however unproven — which they cloak in the clothes of religion, morality and truth. Romance, true love, is exactly the opposite of that: the shedding of ego and fear to achieve happiness, the act of trusting and giving yourself up in someone else’s hands completely. Caring about people more than abstract ideas, being more kind than right. I wanted to combine the two opposites and show how terrorism harms life and love.
- Are the characters in this novel close to anyone you know/knew?
To tell the truth, no. They are all fictional characters.
- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I guess the question is about new Indian authors. I have read very few of them. Recently, I read a book with a fantastic sense of humor called Dating, Diapers and Denial. Apart from that, I liked another novel called Life Is What You Make it on bi-polar people. Among books of romantic genre, I remember enjoying Right Fit, Wrong Shoe and Of Course I love You…
- What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?
I am an entrepreneur in the education field which is like having one and a half day job. I had to do the writing alongside that, so finding time was definitely a big challenge. I guess some of the days I was working 14-15 hours a day on an average. Other than that, I had the challenge to create realistic scenes of the Dilli-Mumbai attack with on the dot chronology of how things unfolded. That took a fair bit of research. Psychologically, the book contained characters of different ages and interests, for example there is an old economist called Mr. Gill who acts as the mentor to the hero, and it was a challenge to portray them all. I am not sure how well I was able to do the job; only the readers can comment on that.
- What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
One book immediately comes to my mind: To Kill A Mockingbird. I think the hero Atticus Finch represents justice in a way no other fictional character has ever done, fighting against the pride and prejudice of race and identity. He reminds you of Gandhi. I don’t know if it’s only because of that book, but having a sense of justice and fairness, and ability to overcome your prejudices caused by fear are the two virtues I care for most in myself and others.
- What are your other passions, apart from writing?
I love to listen to music of a wide variety, and also watch a lot of movies. I would also like to travel when I find time.
- What do you do for a living?
I am also an entrepreneur in the field of education and recruitment. My company TalentBridge has a mission of bettering online learning and recruitment through technological innovations. I am quite interested in education as a subject and plan to write both fiction and no-fiction centering on it.
- Describe yourself in five words
I would rather quote a line from the poet Walt Whitman: I am large; I contain multitudes; I contradict myself.
10. Have you ever faced a writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
Yes, plenty of times. By reading and then writing nevertheless. As some writer said, the only way to leave writer’s block behind is to walk across it steadily, even if slowly, leaning on your pen J
11. Any advice for budding authors, especially on how to deal with manuscript rejection?
Yes. Dilli-Mumbai is not my first book. I started writing eleven years ago in 2002 when even Five Point Someone hadn’t come out and to get published in India was far more difficult than it is now. I wrote two novels before Dilli-Mumbai and got rejected for nine years before I tasted success. The only way to deal with rejection is to keep writing new things and keep improving on your writing. Writing, like any other skill, requires a lot of perspiration besides talent, and can be learnt. I have learnt how to write better by reading many books on writing well. Please search for these books on the internet and improve your writing while you wait for success with the publishers. Also, pay attention to what they say and don’t be egoistic in dealing with them. They are businessman who have to make money out of what you write, so they will publish you only when you and your writing gives them confidence about that fact. So always remember to write with the reader in mind (and to a lesser extent the publisher too if you are a first time writer)
12. Is there any new book you are writing? What is it about?
Yes, I am about to finish a new book. It’s called “MarryAGhost.com”. It’s a romance cum murder mystery set in Bangalore, Goa & Pondicherry.
Rapid fire round
- White wine or red?
- Laptop or desktop for writing?
- Your favorite gadget
- Your all time favorite movie
Twelve Angry Men
- Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?