Yes, as much as the title interests you, it interested me too! After reading his first book (The Winner’s Price-Life Beyond the Campus), I was well versed with his writing style and language, but the title of his second book was what compelled me to pick up a copy. “The term Bhagath has been used as a metaphor, and is not a take on any real person. The metaphor signifies a highly successful writer who also wears many other hats,” he says.
The plot revolves around the broken friendship of two friends. BB, the protagonist, shares the room with Ketan Bhagath, also known as K-10, who later becomes a celebrated author. Few years later, when BB, a free-time writer is forced to challenge Bhagath with his book by his boss at work, the actual story begins. From life in college, at work and how the publishing world functions, the book introduces the reader to an array of topics. Interestingly, the author, a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, used to live in the same hostel room as author Chetan Bhagat. “People say there is a ghost of a writer in that room. If there were a ghost in that room, then it has to be mine,” says the author, a 1982 graduate.
Some excerpts from a chat with the author
Does the comparison with author Chetan Bhagat bother you?
Since we come from the same college, people do conclude about techies and managers like me piggy riding as though Chetan’s success has become a license of sorts to follow suit. Many people think they can do a better job without realising what it takes to succeed commercially, and I wanted to show the other factors in becoming a successful writer.
Did you start writing because of the same reason as mentioned in the book?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a sexy lady boss to goad me to write. But to be frank, I was rather encouraged by the success of our Indian writers. Only, I never realised until I went through the grind, how much hard work people like Chetan, Amish (Tripathi) and others have put in promoting and marketing their books. As I said in the story, success doesn’t lie in writing, but in getting read.
What sort of rapport do you share with Bhagat in personal life? Are you both friends?
As you yourself found out, coincidentally, we had the same hostel and even occupied the same room in different years. But I am some years senior to him and we do not know each other personally. However, I have no hesitation in saying that I am highly appreciative of Chetan’s achievements, he is a youth icon. As for mass popularity, name one Indian writer all of whose books have been signed up for movie rights. At times, I feel there has been undue criticism. I wonder who we are to sit in judgement and unleash vitriol over someone’s work.
What sort of response have you got? Any hate mails perhaps.
The response from bloggers and reviewers has been positive. We are getting into a reprint. So far so good! Hate mail, no. Why should there be? After all, BBB is a piece of fiction that gives real insights into the world of Indian publishing. There is nothing derogatory to any individual. If anything, the story ends up raising the character to a new dimension, befitting a leader. Once again, irrespective of readers’ assumptions, the name Bhagath has been used as a metaphor as explained before.