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An Interview With Pradeep Govind | The Author Of I, Duryodhana

Hi Friends,

Allow me to introduce Pradeep Govind, a marketing professional working in the Sultanate of Oman. We know him better as the author of “I, Duryodhana…“.

Pradeep Govind With His Book: I, Duryodhan

Pradeep Govind With His Book: I, Duryodhana…

Of course, he is a published author even before this book. Yes, his debut book is The ‘Capillary’ Effect & Other Short Stories. However, we got a chance to read “I, Duryodhana…” only, so far. We like various attributes of the book. And, we strongly believe that it is quite an easy task to give a few stars to a book and share a review about it, based on personal likes and dislikes. On the other side, writing a book is a sheer hard work that involves dedication and research work along with many other efforts that we may often never come to know about. The aim of sharing a book review is just to share our personal views from a reader’s perspective. It, when written in an unbiased and objective manner, help the readers find their potential “next read” and can give a bit of feedback to the author. You can read our book review for “I, Duryodhana” by following the link below:

The way the book is narrated and the protagonist of the book is chosen, intrigued us to know the author, as a person, in a better manner and explore his vision behind his work. So, we approached Pradeep for the possibility of having a Q/A session with him in the context of “I, Duryodhana…“. He is a straight forward person and things progressed smoothly and positively. From our team, I got a chance to have this session with him. And, here I am sharing the same.

​Hi Pradeep, Greetings…!

We are glad to have a conversation with you. Thank you for sparing some time to have a Q/A session with us. Your book “I, Duryodhana” is getting positive responses in both commercial and critical aspects. Please accept our congratulations for the same. Please tell us more about yourself, your profession and your passions.

Thanks Jiten. It’s my pleasure. It’s heartening to know the response the book has been generating.

About me: I’m an NRI media marketing professional currently working in the Sultanate of Oman. “I, Duryodhana…” is my second book. My first book “The ‘Capillary’ Effect & Other Short Stories” was published in 2013 on Amazon in kindle format.


[Pradeep Govind’s Original Composition – It Could’ve Been Me!]

Apart from writing, I am also an enthusiastic photographer and musician. I dabble with songwriting, composing as well as singing though I have no formal training in music. I have brought out two music albums. The first was in English in 1995 on the HMV label. At the time, I was perhaps just the second or third Indian artiste to bring out an English album in the country. It didn’t exactly set the charts on fire though.


[Pradeep Govind’s instrumental album : The Celestial Reed]

The second was an instrumental album titled ‘The Celestial Reed’ in which I composed and programmed all the tracks on my keyboard. You could find it on YouTube.

What draws your interest in writing?

I had a flair for spinning tall stories from a very young age and writing always gave me the freedom to express my thoughts without any constraints. But I never realized that my writing had the potential to help me beyond essay writing in school and so never took it up seriously.

One day, I was coming out of a temple when I saw a beggar outside. He seemed to be reasonably healthy and I wondered why he couldn’t work instead of begging. Then in a flash, a thought struck me that what he did outside the temple was exactly what I did inside the temple – “beg”. The only difference was that I was begging to the Gods I saw in those stones while he begged to the God he saw in me. That’s when I realized the folly in being judgemental.

This incident inspired me to write my first short story titled “The Better Beggar“. Once I started to write, somehow the ideas kept coming and I ended up writing my first book titled “The Capillary Effect & Other Short Stories”. The central theme that threaded all the stories in the book was to not rush into conclusions, overlooking the fact that there could always be a truth hidden beyond what you think or know. That was pretty much the same thinking that inspired me to write “I, Duryodhana…” . It is a narration of the incidents of Mahabharata narrated from Duryodhana’s angle.

Can you tell us how the idea of writing “I, Duryodhana…” was conceived?

I am of the conviction that history generally tend to adulterate the truth in order to favor the victors. So when you read the Mahabharata with a mind open to this possibility, you will find plenty of instances in the epic that make you raise questions in favor of Duryodhana starting from Vidura’s counsel to put him to death the very day he was born… just because of some ridiculous bad omens.

Duryodhana, is considered as a villain and is not a person majority of people are fond of. Of course, there is a village in south India where Duryodhana’s temple is there and peope respect Duryodhana as a diety there. What intrigued you to name the book “I, Duryodhana”? Was it a conceous decision?

The title was chosen consciously for not only does it subtly convey the fierce pride the protagonist had in himself, but also that he has something to tell the readers. That is why you have the three dots “…” in the title.

What are the reader’s reactions you’ve expected for the title? Can you summarize the response you have received?

When I decided the title, I was certain that it would generate curiosity and interest in the target segment of the readers… and it sure did.

Of course, we cannot see a character or a living person as a pure black /white entity. Everyone has (in majority of cases) brighter and darker sides. What according to you are the qualities to learn from Duryodhana.

I am not sure if you need to learn anything from Duryodhana. The idea is just to generate empathy for his human faults. If you have read the Mahabharata you will notice that Duryodhana was the only character who had a firm stand. He believed in what he stood for and had absolute clarity on it. He never compromised on it even in the face of death. Just about everyone else in the epic including Krishna had their legs in two different boats at some point or the other. The story of the Mahabharata could still have happened without any of the other central characters…but not without Duryodhana.  

As the story of Mahabharat (aka Mahabharata) is known, along with a number of retellings, you came up with your perspective, and that is most welcome. It also reinforces the fact that (1) we are argumentative people who love to explore all the perspective of a story without any prejudice. (2) You need to do an extensive research so you can explore the incidents backed by that. Can you share more details about your research work and other aspects?

There was not much conscious, objective research so to speak, save for some trivia. Unfortunately, there is no authentic original manuscript available for reference… the one supposedly written down by Lord Ganesha. The Mahabharata has always been a fascinating subject for me and I’ve been exposed to so many versions of the stories and sub plots in it in various formats right from comics, books, translations, online articles and so on and of course not to forget the mega TV serial. They have all been helpful in my work. I’ve also listened to many fascinating discourses and talks on the Mahabharata.  

There was one early morning daily talk show in Malayalam called “Bharatadarshanam” that I was particularly hooked on to.

It was conducted by the late Professor Thuravur Vishwambaran and ran for 10 years and over 3000 episodes on Amrita TV.

Do you think that in the hustle and bustle of the life, we often need to sideline some of our passions, and there come a time, a moment of signal which guide us to follow that passion? 

I guess one needs to be a little lucky to get the opportunity to follow his passion without having to compromise on his responsibilities, commitments and obligations…at least in our society. It may not be easy to drop everything and chase your dreams without appearing a little selfish. This may not be the case in western societies but here it is a problem. I guess this is primarily because our culture has trained us to prioritize our duties over our personal dreams.

Doing a job in the corporate world and sparing time for family while following our passion, is not an easy to manage multi-tasking.  How do you manage all these aspects of life?

I try not to put pressure on myself while doing something creative. I never set a deadline, be it for composing music or writing a story. In other words, I don’t allocate or commit time towards it. I just indulge in it when I am in the mood and I have the time. This helps me compartmentalize more effectively with respect to my other commitments.

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

I would say that I am more of an inspired writer. I need a thought or an idea to trigger me.

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

The book cover was designed by Arjit Ganguly of Om Books International (the publisher).

I, Duryodhana by Pradeep Govind - Book Cover

I, Duryodhana by Pradeep Govind – Book Cover

I did give him some inputs but thankfully he didn’t use any of them. I think he’s done a brilliant job. The response to it has been excellent.

Getting your first book published is not an easy job. And, almost every author has to pass through a difficult time for his/her first creation getting published. Can you share your journey to get your first book published?

Like I said earlier, this is my second book. The first one was self-published on Amazon Kindle. As for “I, Duryodhana…”, a friend of mine who read the draft referred me to “The Book Bakers”, a very enterprising literary agency run by Suhail Mathur, a bestselling author himself. He was confident of getting my book a publisher. In fact, he got me multiple offers. Finally, we decided to go with Om Books International given their reputation.

Every book affects its author in some way. How do you think, writing “I, Duryodhana…” affected you?

Actually the process for me is quite the reverse. What I write is normally the result of something I experience or feel and in this case, it was empathy and also a little curiosity to dig deeper into the story or history…whichever way you choose to see it.

Who are your favorite authors whom you love to read?

I love Sydney Sheldon‘s style of narration He knows how to leave an impact at the end of every paragraph and every chapter. I also like Khushwant Singh’s writing. Khalil Gibran is another one of my favourites though his writing is on an entirely different plane.

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

I have just started reading the English translation of Kalki Krishnamurthy‘s Tamil classic Ponniyin Selvan by Pavithra Sreenivasan.

What are your hobbies apart from writing?

Photography and music. I am also a sports enthusiast. Used to play a lot of cricket in my younger days till I had a shoulder dislocation.

What do you think about video trailers of the book(s) which are an almost inevitable part of marketing these days?

Its a good idea if produced and showcased well. Although I’ve not done it for my book yet.

What is your opinion about EBook readers and their impact on the generation overall?
Ebooks should be the way forward for multiple reasons. To begin with, it gives you the advantage of carrying your library with you wherever you go. Then, of course, the reading convenience in terms of adjusting font size etc. Most importantly its a “go green” concept that saves a lot of trees.

Do you love to read traditional printed books more or EBooks?

E books of course.

What are your opinions about various social networks and the way it can be used to spread awareness about some important cause around the globe?

Being a media marketing professional myself, I cannot say enough about the relevance of social networks in today’s dynamically evolving world. If properly strategized, social networks provide an absolutely brilliant platform for any campaign. But like every other human invention, it is a double edge sword. Needs to be used for constructive purposes

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

My grandmother used to narrate such stories when I was a kid. That apart, it was Amar Chitra Katha all the way in my childhood. I probably had the best collection of Amar Chitra Katha comics in my school. I would say that reading and listening to stories over the years has made me a keen student of human nature and behaviour. This has helped me become a little more tolerant and understanding of human frailties. So one could say that I have evolved in that sense.

Do you think that we are gradually losing the tradition of hearing “moral and ethical stories from grandparents”?

Yes. Very much. These days the kids have numerous other sources of entertainment.

Do you think it affects the social canvas of our culture?

It may have to some extent. But I can feel the emergence of a collective consciousness to revive our traditional, moral and ethical values which is an encouraging sign…as long as it doesn’t reach radical levels.

Please share your social media/web presence, so readers can connect with you.

Sure…

Why, according to you, one should read, “I, Duryodhana…”?

I would recommend this book only to those who know about the Mahabharata and are open minded enough to consider an alternate perspective to the epic. I have taken care to not tamper with the story or deviate from traditional narrations. I have only offered a different perspective to the incidents that occurred. If this makes the reader ask those two questions “why?” and “why not?”, it then would have served the spirit behind it’s writing.

Please share anything you want to from your end?

The Amazon link to buy my books:
https://www.amazon.in/s?k=pradeep+govind&crid=3LRJPVINU6KRU&sprefix=Pradeep+Govind%2Caps%2C257

Quick Purchase Links:
Over To You:

I hope you have enjoyed the Q/A session with him. And many of your questions might be already answered. Let us know that what do you think about this Interview session? Do you want us to ask anything else to heron your behalf? Do let us know. Also, let us know which other authors you like us to interview? Do let us know your thoughts and remarks via comments below. Do not forget to share this article with your friends over various social networks via Twitter, Facebook and others. And yes, you may like to subscribe to our RSS feeds and follow us on various Social networks to get latest updates for the site to land right in your mailbox.

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