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Words, places and other friends...

 

SPRIHA SRIVASTAVA | Issue Dated: February 24, 2013, New Delhi
Tags : IR Shankar | True Colours of Love | Indian author |
 

You are one of those people to have followed their hearts. When did you realise that writing was your true love?
The discovery that I could write a novel was an accident. I had been reading a lot of novels when I was unemployed. As soon as I secured a job for myself, I was assigned a project. Not much work was coming in, so I began writing a novel. I had just read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens then and was very impressed with his writing. I realised that one could write a novel in an autobiographical narrative style. I enjoyed the entire writing process. It involves lot of reading. I have always enjoyed reading books. Reading is my real and true passion. Reading stimulates my imagination and writing exercises my imagination. This is ecstasy!

Was there ever any fear of your book not being appreciated?
I have never had any fears when it comes to becoming a writer. Of course I am very much concerned as to how my books would fare in the market and how readers would react to my writings. The outcome and results of one's efforts are the surprises of life. It’s my earnest desire to produce a work of genius. This quest to author a masterwork propels me to plunge into novel writing.

Do you think it was easier to venture out into writing because of your location? Would this have been possible had you been living in India?
I wrote my first novel in Delhi. I wrote my second novel during a rainy Thanksgiving weekend in Seattle. So the location does not matter. The most important factor is my ‘state of mind’ at that time. I am eternally grateful to the Indian system. In India, English Literature has a special place. This gives a window into Western civilisation. And the US has such a great County Library System. I took advantage of the Library Culture to write my second novel.

Your first book, An Adolescent Mind, is a semi autobiographical novel. How did the idea of the subject come to you?
I had the story idea of my first novel for a long time in my head. It is a slice of life story. It is written on the basis of experience. I wrote the novel by fusing real life experiences like first love, peer-pressure, political events, Indian society, the media and the imaginative. Also, I must admit that I have this tendency to mythologise myself. An auto-biographical novel gives me such a platform.
 
While writing, is there a method that you follow?
I do not have any method to writing. In many ways writing a novel is a mystery. Something inexplicable happens. And thoughts flow in the form of words. And my fingers tap on my computer keyboard. I believe divine inspiration comes into play. I am just a medium. A novel is a miracle.
 
It is very tough to play with fiction... what’s the inspiration behind your second book True Colors of Love?
I read Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is a brilliant short novel. I began toying with the idea of writing a book which had an off-beat narrative. True Colors of Love is an experiment in that sense. The narrative is in the second person. It is also based on certain real life experiences. I have depicted first love; the pathos and the urges of a young man and his fascination for a nymphet.
 
How do you tackle creative blocks?
Writing a second novel is a tougher call. All of us have a story to tell. There is one novel in all of us. Writing True Colors of Love was challenging. And I am glad that I accepted it. After I wrote the first chapter, I could not go forward. Oftentimes beginning a novel is easy. The middle game and the end-game present greater challenges. I was able to overcome the challenges by extensive reading and plunging into a dream world. Will power also played an important factor. There are times when the ink of the pen goes dry. At that time I feel exhausted. It is tiresome. There is no peace. Then later, when I stick to the task, it all comes up well. And the novel is complete! Perseverance is the key.
 
Which is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?
It's a very difficult question to answer. As a boy, I loved Robert Louis Stevenson. He wrote Treasure Island. Then Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. In my teen years I adored Alexander Dumas, the celebrated author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. In my college days I read Agatha Christie's mystery novels. Later I discovered Dickens, Poe,Turgenev. The list is endless. Yet I must acknowledge my debt to Dickens. I love the man and his works.David Copperfield is my favourite book. 

 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017