Home / Interviews / An Interview With Hariharan Raju | Author Of Barbarika

An Interview With Hariharan Raju | Author Of Barbarika

Hi Friends,

Allow me to introduce Hariharan Raju, the author of Barbarika. Barbarika is a Science Fiction weaved in mythology and its roots are traced into – the Mahabharata – the greatest epic the mankind is aware of.

You can read our detailed and unbiased book reviews for the same at:

While Mahabharata is a compendium of stories weaved so nicely, most of the authors who are familiar with Indian mythology, try to explore it in their own way. We found Hariharan Raju’s way of exploring it quite interesting.

Hariharan Raju |  Author of Barbarika

Hariharan Raju | Author of Barbarika

So, we’ve thought that it would be nice if we can have a Q/A session with him, it will give us an opportunity to know more about this young and aspiring author.

Fortunately, the things worked out and from our team, I got a chance to have a Q/A session with him :).

So, without any further delay let me share it with you all.

We thank you on behalf of Team ThinkerViews to be available for an interview. Congratulations for getting your book Barbarika published.

Hey, good evening guys! It has been a kind of a privilege to have an interview with you :). Actually, ThinkerViews is very special for me because your view (book review) made my day when it got released!. I think, till now, correct me if I am wrong, my book has (received) the highest rating at ThinkerViews. It got 8.5 rating 🙂 (for Barbarika). So, it feels good and fun to connect with team ThinkerViews.

You are right, yours is one of the highest rated books at ThinkerViews. Well, we believe in sharing our genuine and unbiased views for the stuff we review, including books. We love the originality and the way the Science part is added in the book and that is what we’ve shared :). I am sure that you must have received more feedback from the readers and as we found the book quite interesting, and many of them would have shared the same feeling with you. It is a kind of clichĂ© question, obviously, you are feeling joyous, accomplished and happy, but, each success comes as a stepping stone right? Do you feel inching closer to your goal?

Yeah, of course. Every review (of Barbarika) I came across with, be it on Amazon or any other review site or even by some friends who call me or Whatsapp me (to share their views about the book); they mention that “I like the book” or “this is the part of the book which I love” or “I like the most (part) of the book”; and it gives me a kind of feeling that I’ve done something good.

But, I never feel accomplished. Because my dreams are big! I would like to consider myself as a storyteller rather than a writer. Writing is different from storytelling. If you want to write a book, you need to follow certain rules and a flow, and most times you need to consider the reader base also. See, I am a screenwriter and when I am writing a script I need to follow the “three-acts structure.

Hence I want to be a storyteller, and rather than following a specific predefined structure or template, I want to do something out of the box. Whether it is screenwriting or writing a novel, or even when telling a story to my kid, I just want to keep improving myself as a storyteller.

So, coming back to your question, yes, I feel joyous, I feel happy, but I do not feel accomplished till I find an effective way to tell all the stories which are in my mind. And, with Barbarika I took my first step and thus, yes, I feel that I am inching towards being a writer/an author, and that feels good :).

Ok, so you want to tell stories in a way that it not only amazes you as a storyteller but in a way that the person(s) on the receiving end also find it amazing. And, this feeling is more important than following some predefined rules of various ways of storytelling according to the media and/or genre you follow? That is interesting. Please tell us something about you, your profession and your passions.

I have done my Engineering from Anna University in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and done my masters in data analytics from BITS Pilani. So, primarily I am a Software engineer by profession with the brief background in research and innovation. :). My key areas of working include tech innovations and solving tech problems. I have worked for Ford Motor Companies for last 10 years. And, as you have seen in my book, I’ve thanked them as well (for their support and cooperation) for allowing me to have a right balance in work and personal life.

In terms of passion, yes, writing or actually storytelling in many forms as I said, is my passion. Currently, I am writing a few scripts as well. I want to balance both. Of course, I enjoy writing and at the time I enjoy working in the tech field. For many, I hear they separate work and passion, feeling work gives them money and the passion gives them the excitement! In my case, both (my work and passion) gives me money and excitement. I am equally excited about inventing something in the tech field and writing a screenplay. I will do the work only if I love doing. Otherwise, just for the sake of a huge amount of money or reputation also, I will not do things which I don’t like to do.

So, I like both the areas that I am in, and I love doing what I am, and thus, I will continue the same.

Wow, that is pretty much clarity of thoughts and vision. I admire it. It is interesting to know that “History” was your favorite subject in school and your mother used to teach social science. Please share something about it.

I don’t know, how or why, but I was interested in history from a very young age. Historical stuff fascinated me especially because it explored the tales of kings and wars. They are like larger than the life stories. And I always attracted to it.

My mother was a social science teacher. Both my grandmothers (paternal and maternal) used to tell me a lot of stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They kind of knew every bit of these epics. So my fascination with heroic stuff possibly begun from there.

I’ve read Adolf Hitler also. Even though he was on the negative side, but refer the era he was living in and you will find that his passion for his country was enormous!. He was a hero on his own and lived larger than life. I am always inspired by the people who changed the course of history or simply a game changer. Hence I love Mr. Henry Ford a lot as he changed the game on his own during his days.

I can say that I have never lived in the present day! My tech jobs and passions made me work on the futuristic products or in other words, I can say that “being an innovator and tech entrepreneur I work on the products for the future” and my writing tries to show some great stuff in the history. More than the present, Past and Future always inspire me which I feel can have the scope for a bigger dream. So, possibly I like historical stuff in that aspects to connect the dots of present to that. But, it came naturally to me. I used to get great marks in history from my childhood:). In fact, I was a pet (student) for my history teacher Ms. Josephine. :).

So, I always have an attraction for the history, or in other words, history always pulled me towards it, all the time.

You are a certified scriptwriter and based on your writing skills we see a good future for you in that field too. Please share more information about this passion of yours.

Scriptwriting is altogether a different world. I am still exploring it. I am learning it each and every day by reading books about it, watching movies. It is not just about the writing aspect. It is about how precisely you can use the screen space in script writing.

Storytelling is different for a book writer and a screenplay writer. Screenplay writer needs to keep it short why the book has to be comparatively detailed. Earlier for Barbarika, I have had that discussion even with my publisher also. Initially, I wrote 400 pages of story and then We wanted to keep the story of Barbarika to be said in around 140-150 pages. So, at places (in the book – Barbarika) I didn’t go in a much detailed description. The book is more like a screenplay than a novel. It is a experimentation and got to see it is working in our favour. But still few readers felt it is a short read with the contents it is having.

However, as said earlier, I am still learning various aspects of writing books and scripts. All I can say is, I am a good storyteller and I have a lot of stories to tell to different kind of people. But I have to work on the techniques, the base, and more. Hopefully, soon as I am a quick learner that I will be doing some good scripts and books which I might be proud of throughout my life.

What draws your interest in writing books?

Frankly speaking, I didn’t have it initially. I am an accidental author. Last year, almost around this time, I had not even have thought about writing a book. The story was initially written for a web series or a movie (to an extent). As this story needs more screen space, I think more of a web series than a movie.

When I met several producers in the same regards, they liked the story and referred that it is more like a book content than a movie. In terms of web series, it is fine, and we are still working on the possibilities of a web series based on this story. I am hopeful that in future, sooner or later, we shall be able to make a web series from this story (or a part of it)!

So, everyone felt that it is a story to be explored as a book rather than a movie. I, however, was not sure. I mean, I didn’t have an idea about writing a book at that time. Of course, I am a regular reader who loves to explore good books. And, I have a basic idea of the template in which a story should be explored in the book. But, have not much concrete information. So, I started exploring some good books, specifically the books in the similar category set up in the Indian environment.

But for me understanding the market is another challenging task. For example, am I going to write this book for children only or for all age groups? Movies may not have that much classification (of age group etc.) but books have. So, I was in a non-confirmed state. Actually, my wife always telling me that I should write a book one day. That gives me some great motivation. I always tell her that I will write my biography (maybe at age of 50 or so when I accomplish something on my own) and for long I feel that will be my first book. But as producers felt this book has the good content to be a book. I became an author in some quick time.

So I would say, I was destined to write this book 🙂

What inspired you to write – Barbarika?

Writing comes naturally to me. I don’t know how other authors write, but for me, it is a natural process.

Actually, I was on a road trip for Ford Motor company. So, for this long trip, I carried “Mahabharatam” book (aka Mahabharata) with me. I always wanted to read Mahabharatam and I had many versions of the same, but actually, I was not getting proper time for that. That trip proved a good one for me. I was all in reading Mahabharatam, and I was fascinated by the same facts and stories.

There, I got an idea about writing a fantasy story (as I said earlier) based on Mahabharatam. Suddenly, I realized that in Mahabharatam, no one is a complete black or white character, they are all grey! Be it Pandavas or anyone, everyone has a story where they did some good stuff and some bad ones too. But, if you look at Barbarika in that sense, he was a white character! He was always pure, he was always good, he never did anything wrong in the entire context of the story, but he got sacrificed! Krishna played some trick on him! So, I thought to explore more on Barbarika.

There are a few more such (pure white) characters in the Mahabharata, and their stories are explored in various ways, but the Barbarika’s tale is not that much explored. He is having more number of temples in India than anyone else. Hence I decided to tell his history through me.

So, these are the reasons for me to explore the lesser known story of Barbarika to start with. And, then the entire story is set to a whole new platform.

What are the major challenges you faced when writing this book?

There are some common challenges you will be facing whenever you are writing anything. So let me list them:

The first one is, you need to spend some time. As I am a working professional and I have a kid to take care of, so I need to devote time there as well. Sometimes you want to write a lot but there come the responsibilities you need to take care of :(. And sometimes you feel so lazy that even though you have nothing to do, you are completely blank at your mind too :). So work-life balance is a challenge.

Some of my friends love to write during nights due to this reason. However, I am different and write whenever I feel like writing. So, dedicating that time is very important. Sometimes, I immediately go to my room and start writing as I got an idea. Most of the ideas I’ve conceived are when I am riding a bike or watching a movie or waiting for something. most of them are offline things. So, I am not a kind of person who can schedule that – ok today 9-11 I am going to write. I never write or work in that mode.

But Writing Barbarika has many other challenges too. As you are touching so sensitive areas. Talking about Barbarakia you are talking about Krishna also and also the great epic of Mahabharata, so you need to be careful. The characters need to come to the modern world in a different avatar, and that was a challenge for me.

For example, I cannot portray Krishna in a mode in which he is not portrayed in Mahabharata, I need to portray him sensibly. So, I need to focus on what each character is known for and adding that to the modern world portrayal of the same.

So, touching an epic, you need to be very cautious, there are some fantasies you cannot add, there are some boundaries which you cannot cross. If I am writing any other fantasy story I don’t have any restriction. There is no boundary there. But while portraying characters from Mahabharata, the portrayal cannot be as flexible as a fictional story. So that was the tough part.

Another tough part is writing the science fiction segment for complimenting the great epic. It took around 7 months to explore and understand the genetics stuff (the research is done here in Chennai itself)! So I am able to give some convincing descriptions and make the reader feel that what I wrote is theoretically possible. So, I wanted to develop two layers in the story, one is the Hindu mythology layer featuring Krishna for the believers of Hindu mythology and for the atheists and/or science lovers, I wrote the science fiction layer. It was also challenging as I needed to draw a parallel line between both the layers. And, ultimately make them interesting, look believable and connecting at a point.

Writing a Sci-Fi linked with mythology is quite a tough job (if you want to write a convincing and interesting one). It requires a lot of research work also. Can you share your experiences about the same?

Yes, writing a Science Fiction is a tough job. I’ve collected bits and pieces for the same. Actually, I have a habit of collecting information. And I believe that it will be useful in any of my future stories. So, I was, like writing a separate piece (of the book when writing) about genetics like; What it is? What are the possibilities in the current world? What are the future possibilities? etc.

In the same way, I have collected information about the period of Ashoka. When I have conceived the idea of the story of Barbarika it was not part of it. Also, when I made up my mind to explore the story of Barbarika, it was final that I am going to explore the characters of the mythology. So, that will be one layer. But what about those who don’t believe in it. I, myself is a believer of science and how can I believe on the mythological things. So, I’ve created another layer and connected both the stories.

It was a tough job. As I am playing with history I cannot go out of the line. So, when you read Barbarika, you will find that it is not all my fiction. It has some great references from various Puranas and the scientific part is also 100% correct to the core. So, whatever possibilities I included in the science fiction part are actually doable with genetics.

But, yes, I have created some small fictional connectors which connect the stories. Weaving the story is a tough job as it requires mythological and historical connection with the modern world. So, yes, linking Science Fiction with Mythology is always tough.

However, there was one thing which made it easy for me, and that is Mahabharata! Mahabharata has scope for everything. Mahabharata talks about genetics. Mahabharata talks about so many things which even the scientists and research scholars of current time are puzzled with that how can this be done at that age? It provides me space to connectors which I can link with modern-day science.

So, yes I spend a lot of time in research work, I read a lot in that context, but, actually the connecting things come naturally to me.

Can you tell which part(s) / scene(s) in the book you enjoyed writing the most / like the most in this book?

Well, I enjoyed the creation of the science fiction layer and to link it with the mythology layer the most challenging while writing the book. Initially, I thought it is impossible to weave these two layers, but when I started writing and connecting things, it started fitting into place. And, that was the most enjoyable part :).

But, if you ask me for a particular scene which I enjoyed the most is the time when the hero (Shyam) turns into Shikhandi :)! Actually, when writing, I enjoyed visualizing this scene to the core. You know, someone suddenly turns into a transgender (and of course the other things); is something interesting right. And, I enjoyed writing it.

The way you developed characters in the book, is impressive. They are strong regardless of their gender. And, that is how it should be. Which character did you enjoy more in exploring? Also, can you share something interesting which you consciously infused as an attribute in any specific character(s)?

Thanks a lot for the compliment :).

Whenever I watch movies, I will always feel pity for the antagonist! Because I feel like he doesn’t have a strong connect (in terms of writing). Because, every writer, whenever he/she write a story, put in all the efforts to add emotions/expressions to the protagonist(hero/heroine)’s character. Even, most of the backstories/logic are added for these main characters to tell the audience an idea about why he/she is doing so and so things. Even for the bad things -if they are doing, they justify it with some logic. For Antagonist, he is just a bad person in the entire story But I don’t see the writers putting in same efforts for the antagonist’s character to make it more appealing! Few exceptions like Joker’s character in the Batman movie.

I believe that every character needs equal space, not only the lead characters to tell an interesting story. So my antagonists will be always powerful like my protagonist.

Back to gender equality – for me it starts from my family itself. Yes, I was born and brought up in a family where we 20-25 people live together:). Most of my cousins and relatives are women. And, I always have a great respect for them. So, I wanted to make sure that whatever stories I will write (I have completed a few more stories), they will be treated equally like the lead characters.

I enjoyed writing Radha’s character the most :). Because it needs to be looked in a different aspect. Because the problem she has is unique. I didn’t have much fringe for that before. So, that was a little challenging for me to write down that character.

We all get inspired by the people living around us and incidents happening around us. Writers take a lot of inspiration from these realities and then mix it with fantasies. While writing mythology there is not much scope, however, a lot of imagination has to be weaved in the tale. Can you share any of real incidents which helped you in writing this book?

As you know, while writing a mythological story, you might not get much from the real stories to get into. So, I tried creating the most significant events from the Mahabharata happening in the modern world; for example, Draupadi’s incident happened in the modern world story.

But I have one real incident. I wanted to show Radha as a singer. Because be it Radha from Mahabharata or Mirabai’s character from subsequent stories, they were singers and their characters are associated with Krishna’s through the same. Radha-Krishna and Mirabai-Krishna shared a bond of love, and the same has been explored for the characters of Radha-Shyam in the book.

So, I was brainstorming about how to add the singer element to the character, and what sequences should be there, to make the readers relate her more to Radha or Mirabai and also with the current world. Initially, I thought of portraying her as a chorus singer, or a movie singer. But, one day when I was watching Television, I came across a show named “Super Singer” in Tamil Nadu. It is quite popular. Actually singing reality competitions are popular throughout the country right. So, I got the idea that, possibly I shall go ahead in the same way, and make my heroine as a singer who is participating in a singing competition :). Of course, I need to connect some dots, like, why Shyam is coming to Chennai? How he came to watch the show? This particular idea helps me in connecting these open dots as well.

Once, I remember, Director Shankar(Robot 2.0 fame) told that most of his story one-liners started from real incidents from the newspaper. There are many such things which help me while writing other stories of mine, but this particular incident is associated with Barbarika :).

The book cover plays an important role in bookselling, were you involved in the book cover designing process? How much?

I was pretty clear about the cover page that as it is going to be my first book, having my name on the cover will not add any brand value to the book. So, the cover is the first thing that appears when someone looks at the book. So, I wanted to tell the story through the book cover! And, the credit goes to the entire design team for the same.

Barbarika by Hariharan Raju | Book Cover

Barbarika by Hariharan Raju | Book Cover

Hence I got the idea of ten-headed Ravana where I replace with every other character from Mahabharata. So, I thought of portraying the characters by putting their faces on the body of the central character, that is Barbarika.

So that was the first part and in the second one, I wanted to convey that I am not going to tell the entire story is set up in the modern times. I want to give the glimpse that characters are coming to the modern world. Hence we made Krishna in modern avatar carrying a fidget spinner instead of his chakra :). So, it was my way to give him a feel of the modern Krishna.

So with that, readers can have a clue about what kind of story the book contains. The team’s work paid off and when I’ve visited the Chennai book fair, my book was the bestseller :). So, it worked for me! And, I will suggest people (authors/writers) re-look their (book/media) cover page when you are publishing your book.

So, Yes, I was involved with the book cover designing process from the beginning to end with my design team. I had the clear vision of the cover and the design team helped me to achieve it.

It is not easy to get your first book published, even if it is self-published. Can you share your book publishing journey so far?

You are right. Publishing the first book, even if it is self-published, is a tough task which requires time and efforts from your end.

Post writing your story there is a packaging job including the cover page, getting forward and more. For me, the things happened in a different way.

Last year, almost around this time, during October end or probably November 1st, I completed the entire story. It was for a web series or a film, not for a book. I started approaching people and they’ve suggested me that it might not be a good thing for a movie, but better for a book.

My wife’s birthday was on December 16th. So, suddenly I got an idea that why don’t I publish the book on her birthday and give it to her as a surprise birthday gift?! As it will be the first book of mine giving her the credit for the same and dedicating the book to her shall be a perfect gift :). As she is the motivation factor for all my writing.

And it was almost October end, and if I want to give it as a birthday gift I need to get it published within one and a half months. Publishing a book is a tough task, and here I have a deadline to follow!

Thank God that my publisher (Notion Press) were cooperative. However, I had no idea about the things which need to be done in order to get the book published. Then I got to know about the preparation of cover page and book trailer needs to be done before that! And, if I need to get published the book on time, I need to complete these elements by so and so date(s). And the toughest part will be, it has to be proof edited before as well. And should be a number of proofreading iteration were there. And in parallel, I was working on the cover design team as well.

As my wife didn’t know about this deadline, as it has to be a surprise gift for her. I had to keep all the things hidden from her as well! I simply cannot tell her that I am busy with the book and all. So, I need to make up the things like I am busy at office work or something similar :).

So, for me, more than publishing the first book, publishing it on a specific date and that too as a surprise gift to my wife was more challenging:). And I am happy that I am able to accomplish the challenge as planned.

I didn’t know or expect the (possible) way (in which) the book will be received (by the readers). But, I knew one thing very clearly, if nothing goes well with the book, then also, I will be able to make my wife happy with the surprise. And, that motivated me and pushed to me to match the timeline.

Why should one read, Barbarika, according to you?

It’s an interesting question!

I would say, I’ve touched everything in the book. Initially, when people asked me about the genre of the book, it was not easy to answer. It has a fantasy element, it has a mythological retelling, it has a love equation, it has a science fiction equation with genetics, it deals with history, so it was a tough statement to make.

Another problem we face with the current generation is, our growing inclination towards western literature. We tend to ignore our own so vast and rich literate for that. We, including myself, are more into exploring those tales, rather than our own. Let me give you my example. Though I am a fan of reading books and I am into literature since an early age. I didn’t read complete Mahabharata till the age of 30! It was the next year when I got a chance to read it completely. But, I have explored Harry Potter and other stuff much before that! The current generation does the same with Western Superheroes.

I started feeling that we are going out of our own thing and other western world things are taking their place including Indian literature, mystery, and fantasies! And, you know there is a very small amount of literary works for children is done at our end in that space too. I heard from my publisher that the present day kid will not sit and read the entire Mahabharata or even retelling! So, the initial challenge for me is to create a book which needs to be engaging for them. Also, I don’t want to write some story just for killing their time, it should be enriching their knowledge in some way or other. I know that Barbarika is a small read of around 150 pages. But, I would say it has everything.

In fact, at ThinkerViews you’ve already rated the book with 8.5 stars out of 10, and making it top rated books in the segment. Similarly, I got other reviews reflecting the same :). Almost all of the reviewers liked my way of storytelling, the information, and the content than anything.

So, if you want to read a good content oriented book in a short time given your lifestyle, then you should go for Barbarika :). I didn’t put some glamour words in it and not tried to make the thing rich in literary ways, but I tried to tell the story in an interesting way connecting our own things.

Every book affects its author in some way. How do you think writing these books affected you?

Ha Ha Ha!

Yeah, every book affects the author in some way. When I was writing Barbarika, I was kind of living in the fantasy world of Mahabharata with other kings. I was watching all the stories, seeing all these characters in front of me in my mind. Just like Barbarika saw the entire Mahabharata war.

Normally When we see someone very cunning, we refer him as “Shakuni”, right? When I was writing, by knowing that some people around me are very cunning, I started putting their faces into the characters and vice versa :). And, when I met people, I was feeling like I was meeting Shakuni or meeting Krishna, the playboy. I took a lot of references from the people around me who has similar characteristics, and the other way around. So yeah when meeting them I felt like meeting Shakuni / Arjuna / Krishna. But actually, they are not (these characters). They are quite different.

So that happens when you write a fantasy fiction. And when it is weave around mythology, history and the modern world, it confuses you a lot.

The other feeling you might have when writing a “fantasy fiction is that you will think big, larger than the life stuff (rather than the realistic stuff). So, you started expecting similar outputs in real lives also. So, even in the response of some smaller tasks, you start expecting bigger responses. You want to act like superheroes in the real lives solving big problems in a minute. Which you might know that you actually cannot! So, this might happen.

So when writing fantasy fiction you might wake-up asking a question that Whether I am Mr. Hariharan Raju or Am I Arjuna every morning? These are the kind of influences this book gave to me :).

Can you tell us more about your writing regime? Are you a method writer or an impulsive one?

:). I tried to be a method writer when writing the screenplay. But, I am not. Trust me, I am more like impulsive when writing stories.

I am naturally getting the stories. Sometimes, some things suddenly strike my mind while I am doing some stuff, that helps me creating stories. It is a huge process thereafter to get it converted into a convincing story. First and foremost, I will tell any such idea to my wife, if she likes it, normally I will try to develop it in a story. And slowly things will fall in place. Actually, the story is always there in your mind until it gets developed into a solid story.

So, once it is developed, some dots will be connected, the doors will be open and the story will start taking a shape. Going further it will be the process of developing, develop, develop… And then rewrite.. rewrite…rewrite.

I do have some friends who are directors. I tell them my version of the stories. With their feedback, I will rewrite again if their points are really convincing. My wife is the victim hearing all the versions of the story. Sometimes she will not like what version of the story I am telling her. To check this, go and ask my wife on Barbarika story, her version will be different than what is published :).

So, yes, I am an impulsive writer but want to develop my skills in method writing as well. I am not sure whether I can develop those skills, but I have great respects for method writers and I want to be one.

Do you think that it is possible that “Vedas” and “Puranas” are the legacy of a highly advanced earlier civilization from our pre-historic past?

Yes, of course.

I strongly feel that. When I was writing the story and doing research I got to see some stone carvings and other stuff, which gives you much more information about that particular area. So enticing in the information they are carrying. As I am in the Information Technology field, sometimes when I look at the stuff, I got dumbstruck about the information available since years.

Particularly, I am a proud Tamilian. The Tamil kings and scientists in ancient worlds done something remarkable, and same with the literary world too. Most of my references are taken from the prehistoric past.

Yeah, being a Tamilian, I have high regards for “Thirukkural”. There are so many things about the way of living are referred in it. By civilization people often referred the monuments and other stuff. But, Civilization is about how you get matured and how you are different from the man living in the stone age. So, I had been a good person today than I was yesterday (and thus what I was 10 years ago). Civilization means a lot of maturity to grow., what to eat, what not to eat, how to live, these are all important aspects. We got these things in the legacy by possibly smarter civilization.

It seems that you are a nature lover, what in your opinion we should do to preserve it?

Not only to live a happy life but, simply just to live a life, you need to preserve the nature! Quite simple.

You need nature, nature doesn’t need you! So we need nature and thus we need to preserve it to the core. In my role at Ford, I was a proud lead for Ford’s global green initiative for around 5 years in a row where we help recycling the things to preserve the nature. And, we are still working on many such things in Ford.

When your review for Barbarika published, we were in Uttarakhand. We were surrounded by mountains. We got to see pure water, pure air, and other such stuff. That shows me what are all things we are missing in our so-called busy life. Losing pure air, water, and food, what are we gonna achieve?

Here in Chennai, we need filters to drink water, living in the polluted air. Even with all the gadgets, the feel you getting in Joshimath and Chennai is different. The energy which you need is available from nature only, you cannot get it artificially. It is the almighty, and we definitely need to preserve it.

My wife is very concerned about the usage of water and other things. I am proud that she made me change many things for good We started adapting lifestyle which do little harm to nature in all possible ways. So, after having a kid, I want to leave the space for him also. And, as per the statistics and data, I am hearing that every 15-20 years there has been a dramatic change in natural resources like rivers, trees, jungles and other. Even, in the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a flood in Chennai and it taught huge values on us. Every big calamity in happening in any part of the world is due to our carelessness and our habit of not preserving the mother nature.

You need all sort of purifiers like a water purifier, air purifier, and other such purifiers because the nature is not preserved, why otherwise you need to purify these basic things?! A lot of new diseases came into existence due to our negligence towards nature.

So, unless you preserve it, it will hurt you and they will kill you at the end.

What is your favorite genre when it comes to reading?

I love to read a lot of biographies and non-fiction. I don’t have a big collection of the same though. Thriller and history books are, of course, part of my life and do have some good collections. I like autobiographies because of the realities explored in the same. I love reading fantasies also. As a child, I used to read a lot of comics, all of the superheroes:). And, hope that reflects in my work as well! Also, I read a lot of magazines and newspaper where I feel you get a lot of idea for your stories/characters.

Who are your favorite authors whom you love to read?

I read a lot of regional content to be precise and mostly in Tamil. I like reading these book as they are very close to me and I can relate them well also.l. Writer Sujatha is my all-time favorite. He is my biggest inspiration to become a writer and I feel he is only writer excelled in both literary and technology areas.

I love reading Christopher Doyle‘s books of late because on the same interest are we are writing. I like his work and he is a kind of mentor for me. He is the one who created a path for Indian mythology in some ways. His works are so inspiring for me. I like Devdutt Pattanik‘s works as well, especially his interpretations for ancient Indian literature. I like Amish’ work as well. I used to read these authors books regularly since last few years.

Which are the book(s) you are reading currently?

A Century is Not Enough – Biography of Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly is my all time big hero and I am a die hard fan of him.

Handbook of Jainology.

So, I like mythology and spiritual stuff more these days. While Ramayana and Mahabharata taught me a lot about Hinduism, now I am trying to understand Jainism. On a side note, my wife is a Jain. To impress her is one big reason though.
This book gives you “how to live a life” lessons for Jain philosophies, it is a lot more enriching than anyone thought. And it is a good book in literary aspects as well. I think it must be read by everyone who wants to explore Jainism.

What is your opinion about EBook readers and their impact on the generation overall?

Currently, everything is getting digital. In fact, India is getting Digital India right. EBooks are good things for the current generation, you can read them on Smartphone, Kindle or any other digital devices on the go. And, you cannot carry a lot of books with you, and when you get some time, rather than doing other stuff, you can read them easily on the devices. I carry Kindle and EBooks always with me :).

Of course, you will not get the touch and feel of a traditional printed book. Nowadays, the printing industry is also facing a lot of challenges. But, in terms of digital books, an author can easily upload a PDF book to Amazon or other site and can reach to a wider readership. Even, a FaceBook post can reach many people in a short time. It is a boon for both readers and writers.

So, it is the next big thing. Some of my friends still prefer paperback and hardbound copies, and initially, I also felt the same, but nowadays I read a lot through EBooks. Slowly, people are inclining towards it and writers also started understanding the needs.

What are your hobbies apart from writing (of all kind)?

Simply I am a movie addict. I used to watch a lot of movies, web series, realities shows etc. As a scriptwriter, I need to. I used to play cricket as well. We do have a team and played corporate matches often. But, after my kid came, so whenever I am getting time I used to spend with him. It includes my playing with him, teaching him, making him asleep or anything similar.

So, when you have a one and half year kid, you don’t get much time for hobbies :). But having a supportive wife, I still have some good time for my hobbies as well 🙂

Even writing was started as a hobby and now became an integral part of my work.

Yes, I completely understand. And, I strongly believe that being a parent is not just a biological phenomenon. With that phenomenon, you committed yourself a responsibility to be a parent who makes the infant a better human being. Time, Warmth, Love and the feeling of security and sensibility are the best things parents can do for a child.
While the marketing of a book is changed a lot in the last few years. Nowadays you can see trailers of a few books are also launched/released. What are your thoughts on it? Do you think that having the book trailer available on the Internet, can do good to the book?

Definitely, trailers will do good for your book, if it belongs to fantasy or a different genre. I don’t think a romantic book needs a trailer. Books like Barbarika definitely needs a trailer, because, even if I want to summarize the story or give some glimpses of my story, it will definitely take 5-10 minutes. It will be very hard for me to make anyone understand in one minute telling them the entire story. So, in that way, I think trailers prove to be pretty helpful.

Of course, for that, I diligently put some efforts in book cover and trailer. The trailer got a good attention from film fraternity also. So, they are the people who are above my vicinity. I can reach them using this trailer, but cannot do the same otherwise.

You might have heard that my book is launched by Mr. Madhavan (the actor), he is famous here in Tamil Nadu as well in North India and all over digital space. When he asked me that what this book is all about, I didn’t have time to explain. If I have to explain to it him, I have to explain it in over 10-15 minutes which is hard to buy from him. So, I just sent him a link to the trailer of the book to watch. So, he was able to understand (the concept and theme of the story) and found it interesting.

A lot of actors who had seen the trailer called me and let me know that they liked it. They appreciated it and wished me good luck. So, it proves to be really helpful to me. So, if you are writing a fantasy or thriller, it is required. So it depends upon the book. For my book, it played a major part.

If this book (as it has potential) has to be adapted as a TV Series, whom would you like to play the main characters?

It would be great if Akshay Kumar plays Shyam’s role. He has the charm of Krishna and he can play a negative role as well as Dr. Meghavarna. So he is the ideal choice for the web series if it is made in Hindi or released in the entire country. If it is in Tamil, I think Madhavan is the right choice for the role (of Shyam). Because, when I was writing it, I imagined (at places) it to be him. And, that’s why I asked him to launch the book :).

But it is going to be a multi-starrer Web series. If possible it will include all leading actors to do their part.

Radha’s character can be played by Radhika Apte. She is in the web series since a while worked in all kinds of roles. She has the physical appearance which has a resemblance to My kind of Radha’s character explored in the book.

As my original idea was writing a web series, I want that a different actor should play the lead role in different episodes. So it will be a multi-starrer with Akshay or Madhavan playing the lead role.

Did you grow up hearing moral and ethical stories from parents/grandparents? If yes, how it affected your persona?

If affected me a lot. They made me what I am now. I am a proud teetotaler.

Credits to my parents and grandmas.

I am a vegetarian by food habits now. That credit goes to my wife. I have great respect for elder people. I can never be harsh to old people. I do have a cool heart.

Anger comes with the right reason. Whenever I am angry I have reasons for that. Other times I am so cool in my head. I respect each and every one around me. I never see the hierarchy or the status (they actually don’t influence my behavior much, in that regards). I don’t believe in caste and the religious system either.

So, there are a lot of good things they taught me. All credit goes to the people around me including my grandparents, my mom, and others. My Mom is so generous that she would give anything anyone asked for. She is so kind to everyone. And, it has a huge impact on me.

I see the positive side of that. There are some negative things which I see in them too; but I take only positive things from the same. That makes me better. I am not sure whether I am a better writer or a better entrepreneur or something similar, but I can proudly say that I am a better human being and a loyal citizen. Also, trying my best to make the society better for the people around me.

They teach me the stuff through stories which I want to pass on to my kids, especially the moral and ethical stories. I want my kids to follow the same path excluding negative things (if any) from me.

Can you tell us about what are you planning to write next?

Currently, I am working on making this book in the form of a web series. A lot of discussions in the same regards are going on. So, once I get an approval, it will move ahead. I am making some necessary changes to the story to make it more appealing to the web series audience. Also, the end of the book has a big scope for writing a sequel for the book. Already I made three pages synopsis for the second part of the same. It is a very first draft as of now and will take some time to get matured.

In parallel, I am working on two scripts right now. Hopefully, I can launch myself as a screenplay writer by early 2019 in Tamil. First one is based on a child rapist. That is completely out of my comfort zone. It is very realistic, dramatic and emotional story, nothing like fantasy fiction. The references are taken from the real world incidents.

Another story which I have completed is the story of great Tamil king Veera Pandyan. It is also an interesting tale. Barbarika is a story with a lot of information, but, Vira Pandyan’s story is full of drama, it has high paced action and mass appealing attributes. Both are getting developed as of now along with the sequel of Barbarika.

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