While his first book, Pyramid of Virgin Dreams (2011), was a satirical look at the dead-end maze that is the Indian bureaucracy, his second book, The Dream Chasers, is a coming of ages story of six youngsters studying for their MBA in Chandigarh.
Vipul Mittra, IAS, principal secretary to the government of Gujarat (tourism, civil aviation and pilgrimage), was in Chandigarh to talk about his turn as an author.
“My first book garnered a lot of praise from Amitabh Bachchan on his blog, to the point that he agreed to officially launch my second book,” says Mittra, whose second book was indeed launched by actor Amitabh Bachchan on November 26, 2013, in Mumbai.
So, how is this story any different from hordes of stories about kids growing up to find their way in life? “When you prescribe something to youngsters, they do not listen. At that age, rebellion is everything to most of them. I wanted to write something that is not prescriptive in nature; like a guide to growing up, not a rulebook,” says he.
His inspiration came from the fact that he wanted to let youngsters know that it is OK to be confused about their goals in life, says he, “Not everyone wakes up with a clear goal in life, some people take time to find their path.” And, is this why he has turned to writing? “Unlike most writers, I write out of spontaneity, not compulsion, which is why Dream Chasers took three years to complete. I have no plans of becoming a full-time writer,” says Mittra.
On being asked why he chose Chandigarh for the premise, he says, “Having seen the world, Chandigarh is the best city for a child to grow up in. The fact that it is my hometown also contributed to the decision.”
So, is the story drawn from real-life experiences? “Most of my work is about 40% drawn from what I have personally experienced, after all, inspiration is drawn from reality; creativity is not something that exists in vacuum.”
While his third book is going to be about the self-proclaimed ‘godmen’ of India, one wonders which authors he drew inspiration from. “Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy,” says he, teliing us to read The God of Small Things before signing off.