Hello & Welcome Back Book Lovers!
Hope you enjoying all the buzz in the literary circuit.
I guess all of you know Chetan Bhagat, have read his books, watched him on tv, waited for his witty comments on Twitter and he definitely somebody who you cant ignore.
Well did you know he had a younger brother who was away in Australia all these years and is back now and ready to release his debut Novel.
Meet Ketan Bhagat who has just recently released his first book“Complete/Convenient”.
Ketan says he became a writer by accident unlike his older brother. He had a story haunting him for years and he decided he just wanted to write it. He loves his life, his work, His wife and his son. A total Punjabi boy, he his a complete foodie and a music lover.
He currently works for an MNC as the Regional Sales head and the story of his book is loosely based on the years he spent in Australia.
Don’t worry Ketan’s writing is nothing like Chetan’s way of writing. When you read Ketan’s new book your going to realize how differently both the brothers articulate their stories.
One things for sure, Ketan’s book is not your typical Romcom but much more.
So before we give you out too much from the book, it’s better you get your own copy now!
Also we give you a sneak peek of Ketan Bhagat’s life..
Below is the detailed interview with him..
1. Once your book is out in the market alot of comparisons will made with Chetan, what are your views on this?
I will put forward few facts and you can decide if it is even worth comparing us:
· He was a school topper, I barely passed. In fact I was often caught cheating in school exams.
· He went to IIT and I went to a diploma college. Again, I was sometimes caught cheating in college (sorry, I was just too lazy to study).
· He went to IIM Ahemdabad while I washed utensils and mopped floors as part of my training program at The Oberoi hotel.
· He won a gold medal in IIM Ahemdabad while I was almost thrown out of my MBA course mid-way as my graduation marks were less than the bare minimum cut-off of 50%
· As per TIME magazine, he is one of the 100 most influential people in the world. As for my influence, even my two year old son doesn’t listen to me.
· Chetan has churned out 5 best seller fictions. Each of them has or will be made into a Bollywood movie. I have just written my first novel.
If you compare Chetan to Ketan, no matter how much you ridicule me, the mere comparison is a compliment to me.
2. The book is closely based on your personal experiences, do we see a lot of Ketan in the character Kabir?
Supposing God gave you a chance to recreate yourself. What would you do? You would keep all the good things about yourself and erase all the bad things. Won’t you? Kabir is that version of me. He is a lot like me – works as an IT professional, loves to socialize, family man, raised in Delhi etc. but he is also a lot of things that I am not. For example, Kabir is very good looking, he is successful in his career, he is a guy whom people admire etc.
3.Chetan has made writing into a full time career, do you have any plans as such?
Not at this stage. I want to write stories without any compulsion whatsoever. So its best if I have a regular life outside writing. Also, I want to write about experiences that people go through in regular life. It would help if I myself am leading a regular life.
Having said this, life has taught me to refrain from using two words: NEVER and FOREVER.
4. Any plans of a second book..
I do have a story that has been haunting me. So maybe I would write again if COMPLETE/CONVENIENT does well. If people don’t want me as a writer, I won’t force myself on readers.
5.Who do you think your contemporaries are?
I don’t know. Mainly because I have nothing in common with anyone. If I consider the likes of Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subaramanian and Ashwin Sanghvi then I think I am being ridiculous. I have not even an iota of their success. Also, my topic is different from what they usually write about.
I am certainly not a Jeet Thayil or Salman Rushdie either. Again, I don’t have those kind of brains and talent.
I also find it hard to associate to the hundreds of ‘best seller’ writers I am nowadays meeting. I can’t write chic-lit.
I think my problem is that I became a writer because a story haunted me. Not for any other reason. So I have never really thought much about myself as a writer.
6.We are in an age of a publishing boom and there has been a plethora of books in the Indian market, how do you think your book will distinguish itself from others?
This is a common thing in any industry that is going through a boom phase. Remember the time when every week many movies were getting released. Or the IPL phase where everyone wanted to own a team. Or the phase when new television channels were getting launched every now and then. Same thing is happening in publishing.
Quality, of course, is getting compromised. Even I have come across books that haven’t been edited or spell-checked. In the past few months, I have been approached by ‘book reviewers’ who are 17 years of age. Some have already written ‘national best sellers’!
The situation will soon reach a peak where readers collectively will shun most of the crap that is being dished out and compel publishers to focus on Quality. That is always the next phase after the ‘overcrowding’ phase. Till then, I guess, we all have to bear with this.
7.Your favourite childhood movement with Chetan.. How close are both of you?
Oh there are many. He was a very interesting prankster. Few favourites:
When Chetan used to wear our mother’s bright red nighty, put on a scary phantom mask and then hide behind trees on the bus stop. The moment school children would get down at the deserted heated streets around 2 pm, Chetan ‘the ghost’ would pop out. Seriously, I still smile at the memory of screaming horrified kids running all over the street with a ‘ghost’ chasing them.
Chetan cutting Water Melon instead of cakes at his birthday parties
Chetan sticking a poster behind a girls back in school. The poster read – hands off guys, I belong to Chetan!
Chetan inviting fat kids and organizing contests around climbing 3 storey buildings. My god, for that stupid ice cream or cold drink, I have seen young obese toddlers sweating out for hours at my brother’s instructions
We were never very close as siblings though. Chetan likes to live in his own world and our family has a strong culture of letting people be. In any case we are very different people. Seldom see the same thing the same way.
8.A day in your life..
Starts with a yoga class conducted by my wife Pia. Tough physical postures amidst Pia’s bullying coterie. Seriously, a yoga class for a man is like a goat surrounded by tigers.
Then a cup of ginger tea to protect my weak stomach. Reminder of my waning body.
Then bathroom mirror announcing how much more hair I have lost and how many more inches I have gained.
In between, Rian (my 2.5 year old son) breaks something and I get scolded by my wife for not scolding him. I also get scolded for Rian being a prankster. Not sure how but my wife somehow manages to link me with everything that Rian does wrong.
Then an hour or so to work. Honking, braking, twitching, bribing, abusing… listening to Bollywood music and interviews. In between checking mails and Facebook on phone.
Somehow reach office and live through my mid-manager position. From outside I am a high flying manager at a leading MNC who drives relationships with key customers. Inside, I am a powerless, helpless man who has to strictly follow company’s laid down processes (no brain involved in that), listen tirelessly to customer’s and bosses’ complaints (lot of ass involved in that) and accept less experienced people joining at higher salaries.
No cabin, no secretary, not even someone to file my expense claims ! The only thing nice about office life is my super boss’s secretary who often smiles at me. I think she likes me. Though many times I can see that she is laughing at me.
Late evening, when I reach home, usually my wife is upset for two reasons. One, the maid is showing an attitude (only she has the power to do that to my wife). Two, some pycho has raped someone, usually in Delhi. Rest of the evening is spent carrying a shameful expression on my gender’s behalf. One ear listens to useless men debating endlessly on news channels and other ear absorbs how my maid is similar to my mother in her behavior. Thankfully, nothing reaches to my brain or heart. Do they even exist? I wonder.
By the time I hit the bed, forget libido…I have forgotten I am alive.
9.One Thing you love and hate about your brother..
I love the gutsy genius in him. He has had a tough childhood as our father was exceptionally strict with him. Plus he had weight issues. Yet, my brother rose and continues to rise. Seriously, we should clone his brain.
While I don’t hate anything about my brother, there are many areas where he can improve as a person. But why point them out here. That’s a conversation I should have with him.
10.Your favorite book by Chetan
2 States: the story of my marriage
11.Authors like Chetan, Amish and Ravinder’s success has been because of an aggressive marketing campaign by them…do you agree that success of an author lies in marketing their book well?
Yes and No. Yes because marketing is extremely important to generate curiosity which is compelling enough for people to give their 30 seconds of thought to it. No because even the world’s best marketing can’t save a bad product. In fact, I feel good marketing can expedite the death of a bad product.
I consider Marketing like salt in food. No dish can be served without it. Yet, it is not the dish in itself.
In English: Pursuit of Happiness
In Hindi: Company
13.Favourite Holiday destination..
Earth. Seriously, life is a holiday. I have never felt the need to take a holiday. My wife is mighty frustrated with this trait of mine.
14.Your experience as an NRI
Great. Fantastic. Highly recommended.
When you step out of India, you realize two things: 1) India has actually got the potential to be the number 1 country in the world and 2) India is actually one of the most screwed up countries in the world.
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Price: Rs 195
Available at a Crossword Store Near you and also online http://goo.gl/vPEmo
Signing off for now
Until next time Geeks.
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