A hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in an outsourcing industry — this is how Sid Bahri is introduced in the synopsis of his first novel, The Homing Pigeons. However, currently, he prefers to call himself a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. The writer bit is evident when you meet him — his body language and reading glasses being proof — his happiness you wait to see.
Born in Guwahati, Sid was raised in Chandigarh. Sharing the reason for taking up different jobs, he says, “I was schooled at Vivek High School and later pursued a degree in hotel management from Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42. In 1999, I took up the job of a ‘process associate’ in GE, a BPO. After working in Delhi and later Philippines for a year, I was eager to return to India and therefore took up the job of a banker in Citibank. Unfortunately, when I joined Citibank, recession had begun.”
But, it gave Sid the chance to explore his hobby of writing. “Until then, I had never meant to be a novelist, since writing was never more than a hobby for me. However, as I started writing, a fictional character of a banker, who I named Aditya and who had been fired from his job, started taking shape,” recalls Sid. Imagining how bad his own situation as a banker in the period of recession could get, Sid wrote for 10 days, only to lose the motivation to complete it.
After his first attempt in 2008, Sid began afresh in 2011 and penned another book that was more autobiographical in nature, since he didn’t think fiction was his cup of tea. “I challenged myself to complete the book. But, when I did complete it, I didn’t like it and so it didn’t see the light of the day,” he adds.
Finally, a year later, in February, the writer in him resurfaced and Sid’s pen was soon busy writing about a character called Radhika, another figment of his imagination. “The first draft was complete by June and when my friends read it, they implored me to get the work published. Finally, the book was launched on April 10 this year,” he informs about The Homing Pigeons, a love story of Radhika and Aditya, the latter a jobless man and the former a young, rich widow.
Apart from the numerous attempts that Sid needed to write, he acknowledges that writing a book is not a cakewalk, especially when you are in a job. “It’s tough to write. It used to be a 12-hour shift for me. To return home after work and write a book, one needs to compromise on one’s personal life,” says Sid.
Interestingly, the amateur writer quit his job after the launch of his book and shifted to Ranikhet to open a resort. “Ranikhet is a small, unique and quiet place. Moving to Ranikhet with my wife, who is a former journalist, and daughter wasn’t a tough decision. Though I wanted to open a resort here, things that appear hunky dory from a distance are not always the same from a close-up. I realised that I wouldn’t get the returns that I wished for, so I continue to be a struggling entrepreneur,” he says.
Meanwhile, he is already on to his next, a book with three characters—a middle-aged guy, a cricket coach who is terminally ill and a terrorist. “I’ll not stop writing now, though I’m not sure if it’ll earn my bread and butter. But I want to go with the flow,” resolves Sid.