Here I bring to you, author Rituraj Verma, who stormed his entry into the world of literature with his debut work ‘ Love , Peace & Happiness : What More Can You Want ? ‘, a thought provoking, insatiable and thoroughly enticing collection of stories interwoven into each other. With the book receiving warm accolades both from the critics and readers alike, I was prejudiced while approaching him for the interview fearing that i would be welcomed with a half hearted response . But I was in for a surprise when, instead of basking in the glory of his success , he tried his humble best to contribute as much as he could about his book which blossomed in the foray of literature on August 2012. We see him at his excited best while he talks about his supportive family and the achievements of his kids on similar fortes . Having etched an exceptional career life with the inception being in IIT, he has switched paths several times varying from retail agency and heading the consumer rights division of Future Group to his latest venture as a freelance real estate consultant. Wishing him greater success in his tryst with words, let me move onto the questions.
Q 1 . Tell us something about your new book ‘ Love Peace & Happiness : What More Can You Want ? ‘ . What was the inspiration behind selecting modern India as the central theme of your stories ?
Well, there are several inspirations behind the book – I could list them all in a small paragraph – Facebook, Hemingway, Inception, Mumbai, Catch 22, my own kids, friends, acquaintances, Kurt Vonnegut. The list goes on, but most importantly I found the human condition a very big driver to words that came into my head.
Q 2 . You have switched roles several times in your professional life . How did the ultimate transformation from an IITian to a writer happen ?
I always was a dabbler in writing, but once I crossed forty, I decided I would get serious about it. I guess everyone has a book in him or her but few people are able to cross the threshold. In my case, it was a friend who egged me on and I wrote the first draft in four months.
Q 3 . . Is the process of having the book published more tiring and demanding than coming up with the writing itself ?
Yes it is. My publisher is a young man so he is slightly better than the rest but the industry is in trouble with readers preferring to read messages on facebook and twitter to words in a book. The world of publishing is changing fast. I wonder how the world I am writing about in my next book will change by the time I finish writing it.
Q 4 . What would your advice be to youngsters who get caught in the process of choosing between their passion and profession as their future path , given that both travel different paths ?
Ideally you should be ‘combining passion and profession into one helluva life’, but you have to be ‘really good to pull it off’. So while a safer bet would be to ‘stick to your day job while following the passion as a hobby’, I would choose ‘Give it your best and don’t give up’ as my preferred cliche.
Q 5 . In the story ‘ The soulmate Theorist ‘ you sketch the life of a person who frequent a brothel after a failed marriage . Do you think moral degeneration plays a part in the instability of marriages and personal relationships of the present generation ?
Morals and degeneration are two sides of the same coin and the story points towards the hypocrisy of our times. People make rules for others that they can’t keep up with themselves which is the reason why relationships are so unstable.
Q 6. Is there an author or a specific work which has left an indelible mark in your mind ?
Hemingway for his ability to show , rather than tell a story and Franzen for exactly the opposite, but with a great deal of texture.
Q 7 . Have you ever encountered Writer’s Block ? Is there any particular writing habit that you adopt to get over it ?
I don’t encounter writer’s block very often. But I do use meditation as a technique to immerse myself in the character’s souls. That works best for me when I don’t really know the character’s next move.
Q 8 . With suicide rates shooting up amongst younsters what would your advice be to younsters who are forced to juggle their personal life and professional life at equal pace ?
For all those who find life dreary and impossible, remember to read Catch 22 before you pop that pill or slash that wrist. Seriously, don’t kill yourself over something small.
Q 9 . What are your interests apart from writing ? Who is the Rituraj Verma the mass doesn’t know of ?
I play the guitar, read books, go for workouts, almost all at the same time. Or close to it.
Q 10 . There is a general notion that authors get too stuck in their work that they spare little time to interact with their family. What has been your experience regarding that ?
One can overdo anything. I try to keep a very disciplined approach to writing, limiting the good work to the early hours when my mind is the freshest. Sometimes I do tend to overdo the publicity bit which can bother my wife, but mostly she and the kids love reading the reviews and they swell with pride when the good ones come in and act all unconcerned and arrogant when the bad ones come in. We are a very literary family as a result. My daughter just won second place in a national essay writing competition. My son is part of literary societies at IITK and if I could convince my wife to write she would win many prizes.
Our hearty congratulations on their success !
Q 11 . Moving on to the ‘lighter’ side :
A . Your DOB : 28th June 1967
B. Favourite band : BB King
C . Favourite quote : In the end, there is only one catch – Catch 22.
D . Favourite city : Mumbai- For its constantly increasing energy levels
E . What keeps you going : A small dynamo fitted in my head.
Q 12 . What is your next step as an acclaimed author ?
I don’t deserve the pedestal you have put me on. I’m just a beginner learning to write better. So , hopefully I will write a better book soon. I will post some stories on my fan page in advance.
Maybe the readers would want to disagree with him for once , when he said he didn’t deserve the pedestal we have put him on .An author who has churned out a widely read piece of work after months of mind wrecking moments and hours of toil , sans doubt , deserves every bit of the awe and admiration readers shower him with .
To read my review of Rituraj Verma’s debut novel ‘ Love , Peace & Happiness : What More Can You Want ? ‘ click on the link Book Review
P.S : I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Rituraj Verma for sparing time from his busy schedule to make this interview possible .
Compiled by Maliny Mohan ,writer at www.colouredbydreamz.blogspot.com