Recently we got a chance to have a conversation with Prashant Yadav. We have reviewed Prashant’s book The Jeera Packer Prashand Yadav – author of The Jeera Packer[/caption]
I am an entrepreneur in digital education and consumer space. Founded BodhiSutra.com, which offers mobile based English learning solutions. I come from Sitapur in UP and went to IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad.
Writing to me is love. Why I write is because I love writing. Tough to pin point a reason, just like when you’re in love. You can’t say why you fell in love but you know it when you do.
An ex-shooter who packs jeera in a basement sounded way cooler than a struggling startup guy or a frustrated government officer or a mid life crisis prone VP Marketing, a Banker or even a VC Partner.
Jokes apart, the way I write, it begins with an intense feeling within me which needs an expression. The choice of the context then depends on what will make that feeling to be expressed in the most powerful way.
Thus, it’s not about what my profession is or what I know or what I am comfortable with. It’s about finding the best vehicle for that fiery, intense feeling. It’s a collaborative affair between the writer and the reader – the writer sup-plies the feeling of the story, its soul while the reader supplies the context, its body.
In The Jeera Packer, the core feeling was that of being stuck in a pointless routine and that desire for more rewarding and more challenging mission. How best to bring that out? The hero and his world could have been anything. Just that, UP milieu, dreaded gangsters, fumbling politicians and femme fatales felt the tastiest.
Fast paced thrillers? Yes. That’s how I write and that’s what comes naturally to me. And, I will be exploring several themes – it doesn’t always have to be crime. Even a love story can be fast paced, thrilling as well as deeply felt.
Mohsin Hamid, Jerry Pinto, Mohammed Hanif, NN Taleb. Of the older lot, I like Vladimir Nabokov, Chuck Palahniuk, Hemingway.
Em and the big Hoom by Jerry Pinto and I absolutely love how the words just flow in a nice, smooth rhythm.
I am a second dan black belt in Shito Ryu karate and a regular student at it. Traveling, yes, especially on my beat up Enfield motorcycle. Reading takes up a lot of my time. I love movies but have become selective in what I watch now.
I’ve been a full on Bollywood junkie, though the frequency has reduced a bit of late. All Bachchan movies are up there. As a growing kid, I’d watch anything Bollywood and enjoy.
In terms of favourite movies, Satya, Gangs of Wasseypur, Zanjeer, Deewar, Maqbool, Rangeela, Lamhe, Ardh Satya, are some that are up there.
Internationally, I like Scarface, The Scent of a Woman, Devil’s Advocate, Casino, Goodfellas, Blue Velvet, Serpico etc.
I saw Angry Indian Goddesses a few days ago and I really liked the movie.
I love Amitabh Bachchan – a crazed fanboy like you’d expect every kid who grew up in the eighties to be. Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay, Shaan, Kala Paththar, Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila to Laal Badshah, Shaneshah to almost everything he has done.
Vinod Khanna and Sunil Dutt’s daku getup gave me serious dacoit aspirations for a while in my teens – horseback, gun, galloping through ravines singing Kali Mata songs, helping the weak, and occasionally watching live item numbers.
Love Al Pacino and Quentin Tarantino – can watch almost anything they produce. Walked with Al Pacino’s swagger for a couple of weeks after watching Scarface.
So, cinema influence is heavy and maybe that gets conveyed in The Jeera Packer.
Love Mohd Rafi, Kishore, Bhupinder, Shailendra Singh amongst singers. Love Mukesh too when he is not singing something totally depressing and end of the world.
In terms of songs, top of the mind right now would be –
Chalo ek Baar fir se ajnabi ban jayein hum dono
Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon
kabhi kabhi mere dil mein
yeh duniya yeh mehfil
yeh mere deewanapan hai
main zindagi ka sat nibhata chalk gaya
and so on.
The songs that you see in the book are the ones I’d love to hear if I were in that situation.
I write early mornings. That’s what works the best for me. 3 odd hours predawn give me a good 2000 words on an average day.
Methodical in the sense that I have a writing schedule. Impulsive in the sense that I don’t have the entire story nicely slotted in a spreadsheet when I start writing. There are threads, events, characters, feelings and then, a lot of it grows organically.
Words are merely carriers of feelings. And sometimes, a short pithy cussword conveys more than a 100 word block of text would. You can’t rob the writer of such an effective tool.
Then, there is this question of being true. The biggest quality of a written work has to be its authenticity the adherence to the truth of its characters and the story. It’s the way a character thinks and behaves. It couldn’t happen any other way.
Also, at times, I think we make too much of cusswords. It’s all around us, it is how people speak on the road, in buses, metros, in offices, in restaurants, heck, even in the boardrooms. What are we trying to hide? Denial can never be a sustainable strategy. Perhaps, better it is to acknowledge and then find ways to deal with it.
As for limiting the readership, I think we need to have more faith in the readers. Trust them to go in for the story and not bother too much about a drug addict killer saying words one would not say in front of his parents. They don’t really need me to act as a nanny to them.
It wasn’t all clean cut and dried, nicely plotted on day one. A lot of it grew on its own. Yes, a few characters did get added on the fly when the story asked for them. It was like, you start with a few central characters and these characters operate in an ecosystem. So, what kind of people make up that ecosystem? If a pivotal character does something, what all ecosystem-people does it impact? Which of these ecosystem-people need to be called in from the shadows and made characters? That’s how it went.
No, there was no attempt to mimic real life happenings. Just to trace the journey and the world of pivotal characters. That drove some ecosystem-people’ to become characters and their doings to become plot points.
I pitched to every single publisher and agent who accepts unsolicited submissions. Got my share of rejections, false positives and a couple cliffhangers. The good folks at Fingerprint! loved the story and the rest was all smiles and high fives.
For a debut author, the marketing utility of a trailer is pretty ambiguous. It can generate some buzz and can be one of the activities you do, though.
The protagonist’s inner anguish bits and how it reflected in his behaviour and how, it changed over time. Then the fast moving action bits. That’s what was the most effortless.
Ending took a lot of effort and so did the sex scenes.
But enjoy, I did every part. Almost equally.
Societal change happens in every era. We lose some traditions and we ac-quire new practices. Perhaps kids are spending less time with grandparents but perhaps they are more engaged now. Also, there are so many other new ways of finding moral and ethical stories for kids which didn’t exist a few years ago.
Also, a lot of changes are results of much larger forces changing the way we live, earn our living, share our space and connect to people. Best strategy perhaps is to embrace change and figure new ways of sustaining and growing the story tradition.
On the contrary, people are reading more and more people are embracing reading now. It also depends on how the socio-economics of a society move. Reading habit expands as more people join middle class and don’t have to spend all their time and energy on survival.
I love Sachin Tendulkar’s work ethic and Virat Kohli’s aggression. Among the writers, I admire Charles Bukowski’s zeal to be true to his own writing ethos. And the productivity of Stephen King, how he can keep churning out books after books which continue to excite the readers. And I take inspiration from anyone who works hard for what he wants to accomplish
It’s a new technology with all the accompanying excitement but the adoption hasn’t really flown off. It is possible that sometime in future, and I mean may be a decade or more, the readership flips and we have more ebook readers than print readers. But as of now, print rules. People like us would never get over the romance of the smell of the pages of a new book. Things might change when the smartphone native generation takes over.
In fact I am almost through with the first draft of the second book. And this book is about women. The question I am trying to explore is why, despite humans being the most evolved species, why is human female the most abused and vulnerable amongst all females across animal kingdom.
There is some balance of power that sustains both male and female naturally in the animal world. Why does that natural balance of power break down so bad in humans that despite all law and justice and norms, females are seriously defenseless?
FB personal: https://www.facebook.com/prashant.yadav
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/prashantyadav.author/
Author Website: http://yadavprashant.com/
FB Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/thejeerapacker/
Read more. And read more often. And do read The Jeera Packer and let me know how you liked it. It is more important than we generally think – this two way communication between the reader and the writer.
Thank you 🙂
We found him candid in the conversation and the same time he is clear about his thoughts about various stuffs. The good thing is he is open-minded. When most authors often think that they have done their work and that’s it, the book will be there for a target audience and they will like it. Sometimes taking “constructive criticism” in positive way is also very tough. Which is not the case with him. So, go ahead and let him know your frank and genuine views about the book and he will touch base with you.
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