Category : Interviews
Dear readers, today we have Mr.Virag on board with us. Lets us talk and know about him more. Here is a short description about him.
I am a computer engineer by profession, worked in the software industry for almost 10 years before I quit my job to pursue my passion of writing and filmmaking. As of now, I run 2 YouTube channels – “Chai Pakoda” and “The Hu-Man” alongside writing stories, scripts and poems.
Can you please introduce yourself to the world of literature?
Answer: I started by writing articles on social issues. My first book was a 2-book series titled “The Secrets of Manhood” which focused on problems faced by men. After that I wrote a political thriller, a fiction novel titled “Chess without a Queen”, in the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh. This novel encapsulates a lot of references from real life in highlighting various aspects of politics, governance, corporate affairs, media, bureaucracy, police, law and order in today’s turbulent times. And it also raises a question about redemption. Occasionally I also write movie reviews, short film reviews, lyrics.
When did you start writing?
Answer: I wrote my first poem when I was in class 10, about 16 years of age. After that I continued writing poems for some years, until, in 2007, I started writing articles and blogs which continued into me writing fiction from 2016 onwards.
When you published first?
Answer: My first book “The Secrets of Manhood, Part 1” was published on 25th May 2013.
Describe yourself in day to day life?
Answer: I am a night person, so I get up late in the morning and too lazy to go and have a bath till my mother pushes me to go for it. Currently, I am focusing on developing a few stories at a very high level which are based on various themes like revenge, betrayal, choices in life, linguistic diversity in India, international espionage. I have yet not decided which one of them would be developed on a full-fledged basis. Most of my time is devoted to thinking and writing apart from developing a web series for “Chai Pakoda” which requires me to go out and at times, making videos for “The Hu-Man” channel.
What are your hobbies apart from writing?
Answer: My hobbies include traveling, reading about science and technological developments, dancing and choreographing, watching movies and sometimes, I just prefer lazying around, maybe sleep and do nothing.
Tell us more about your book?
Answer: My novel, “Chess without a Queen” is essentially the story of two rival political parties in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India and the story begins with the elections due in a couple of months. Up until the elections, the 2 parties play a lot of games upon each other and the elections (which happen somewhere midway) lead to the formulation of another conspiracy which traps the new young CM in a crime he did not commit. The rest of the story is his fight against it and the discoveries he makes in the process. The characters are mostly inspired from real life and the story has elements of planning, conspiring, revenge, betrayal, friendship, camaraderie, love, understanding, empathy along with a lot of aspects of politics, governance, bureaucracy, media, police, law and order, legal system of India, the challenges of poor people and much more.
How do you manage your writing time?
It’s tough to say that, as I do not have any specific time allocated for writing. But I think a lot, in fact, the thinking is constantly on, even when I am doing something else and then I need about 2-3 hours of time to pen down my thoughts. That is mostly in the quiet of night. Naturally, as I start writing, more thoughts develop with the flow but I cannot start writing without an initial thought. Sometimes, I encounter a writer’s block. I usually take a break and do something I haven’t done in a while. It may be going for a long drive or a solo trip also.
What do you think of modern day relationships?
Answer: Modern day relationships aren’t much different from their older counterparts. Even today, the expectations for loyalty, fidelity and honesty in a relationship remain pretty much the same, except for the fact that modern day relationships are fast paced (mostly owing to technological advances and ease of remote communication). So, in earlier times, by the time a partner started feeling a tear in the relationship, they would have been so deeply bonded that it was tough to contemplate a split. But these days, owing to fast pace, most relationships reach their saturation so fast that we have started witnessing break-ups, hook-ups and two-timing all the more making us feel that quality of relationships may have decreased but at its core essence it still remains the same, except for the pace.
What do you think about cheating in relationships?
Answer: I think we have attached a little more importance to fidelity in relationships and the sanctity around it. It may not always be cheating as an over-possessive partner can also precipitate cheating. Absurd as it may sound, I have come across numerous relationships wherein a partner went on a fling to either ignite some jealousy or just to make a point that they still have options. Either ways, the need to do so arises from the insecurity that we see is building around us about cheating partners. It is happening for sure, but I think it is much ado about nothing. A little acceptance about the natural philandering ways of the human nature might also go a long way.
How important physical intimacy is in a relationship?
Answer: In a word, very important. Having said that, it does not preclude the significance of emotional intimacy. Often, physical intimacy has been looked down upon in a relationship. But for a relationship that is emotionally intense, if physical intimacy is missing, that relationship will die soon. The human touch has its own way of communicating many unsaid feelings which words can never express. But, that does not pave the way for the hook-up culture and the one night stands because it takes time, patience and perseverance to develop an emotional bond with someone. However, for any relationship to prosper, both physical and emotional intimacy are essential. One does not survive without the other.
What according to you are best marketing strategies for a young writer?
Answer: A young writer faces many challenges. Getting your work published is a very small part of it, even though, in the draft stage, that looks as a very daunting task. But, in today’s times, it is far easier to get a book published than to sell it. A young writer should have a multipronged approach wherein they should focus not only on increasing the market footprint of their work, but also on building their personal brand as an author. The usual tools of paid marketing, or a professional publicist are not within the ambit of every young writer. And therefore, social media comes to the succor for them. However, building a brand on social media is a long, tedious practice requiring a lot of patience and perseverance. Young writers can increase their social media presence by writing on topics that are relevant to their work, occasionally giving out small snippets of the work already written. Most importantly, they should focus on getting their work reviewed by a variety of readers and having those reviews on your Amazon account can go a long way into getting the fame that they crave for. Lastly, they should be shameless in promoting themselves.
Which is more important to you Content or marketing?
Answer: In a single word – both. One cannot survive without the other. Macabre marketing is no way to make a crappy content popular. Sooner or later, the truth will be out. Similarly, just good content does not guarantee automatic sales. You have to market yourself and the work in order to get into your reader’s attention span. Focus on each aspect as and when required. When you are writing the content, focus on it. Once done, plan your marketing. Talk to experts, the been-there-done-that folks but at the end of the day, your marketing strategy shall be yours because you have to execute it.
Your favorite writer and why?
Answer: There are a lot of wonderful writers available and it is really a tough choice to pick up one. But when I read Anand Neelakantan’s Ajaya (1 & 2), I have not been able to get over with him. We have grown up reading stories of villains destroying the lives of people and heroes vanquishing them in the end to emerge victorious. All these stories give us a hope that doing good harbingers good in turn. But that is a very idealistic child’s view of the world. In real life, heroes and villains aren’t segregated by black and white lines. Hero and villain reside in the same person. Anand’s approach to tell the story of the Mahabharata from Duryodhan’s (actually Suyodhan, which was his real name) perspective gives us a peep into the mind of the “villain”. His approach challenges our thought process, social structures and beliefs. And this is what makes Anand my favorite writer. I am currently reading his next work Asura: Tale of the Vanquished which is Raavan’s story.
What are your upcoming projects?
Answer: I am currently working on a lot of different themes as I have yet not decided about my next book. But, as mentioned before, some of the themes I am considering revolve around revenge, betrayal, choices in life, linguistic diversity in India, international espionage. Apart from that I am also writing a new web series titled “Jai Ram Ji Ki Neta Ji” for my YouTube channel – Chai Pakoda. This series is a political satire and reflects on the equations existing between the politicians and bureaucrats.
Any tips to the upcoming young generation.
Answer: I think today’s young generation is very dynamic and vulnerable at the same time. Dynamic, because we are seeing a lot of child prodigies coming out with flying colors. Even the average child of today is smarter and more knowledgeable than most adults. I myself dread, at times, talking with teenagers. Jokes apart, all that glitters is not gold. Today’s young generation is smart, cool, informative, focused and along with many things, it is vulnerable as well. I have been to the school in the late eighty’s and the early ninety’s and I hail from a very humble middle class background. So, I did not have too much exposure in my childhood. But, now I think, it was a blessing in disguise because the human brain can process only so much information. And when a young impressionable mind is exposed to a deluge of information (most of which is irrelevant to the child, at that point of time), it can also have a negative impact on the child without proper channeling and parenting. And that’s why today’s young generation, though dynamic and brilliant, is also easily confused and offended. It has too much on its plate and it can only eat so much. Today’s children need their parents in their life all the more than we did.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Answer: Positive Attitude in Negative Situations (pains).
Thank you Virag for your honest and inspiring answers. I will sure that someday you are going to change the world. All the very best for your future.
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