Techie pens book on Chandragupta
Rajat Pillai is a techie but his Muse chases history. Armed with an MBA from IMI-New Delhi and ESC-France, this Chief Project Manager at one of India's largest financial services organization has brought out a debut historical fiction on iconic Chandragupta titled "Chandragupta : Path of a Fallen Demigod". Rajat currently resides in Mumbai but hails from Trivandrum, Kerala.
Rajat’s early years were spent in New Delhi and adolescent years in Trivandrum and he now works at a job where he manages Peoplesoft 9.0 HCM and HR Softwares initiatives. His website shows his very detailed plans where the books he intends to bring out quite some years down the lane are listed meticulously. And his books are on the ‘legends of India’. Hard to believe this from a techie barely in his thirties! Read the TG conversation with Rajat to know more.
Techgoss (TG): How did you start writing? What did you write the very first time?
Rajat Pillai (RP): I needed a strong medium for expression. I was part of some small stage shows during my teenage years. Then I had a short stint in acting and directing amateur films. So there was an outlet for my creativity back then. Later on work pressures increased in office and I was hard pressed for time. So I started looking out for a medium which would allow me to let out my inner ideas at my own pace. Writing allows me to establish a world which is exactly what I want. I don't have to worry about camera angles, lighting and how the boom microphone is working. I can concentrate fully on the story telling and characters.
The first story I wrote was a real life incident my grandmother narrated to me about tragic incidents that took place in her parent's family. I thought this true family story happening somewhere between the years 1925 – 1935 deserved to be documented. It has been 10 years since I finished writing it but I need to re-open it, put another 2 years of work before sending it to publishers.
"Chandragupta : Path of a Fallen Demigod" is my first book.
TG: What genres do you write?
RP: My genres is historical fiction and thrillers
TG: Historical Fiction is a rare choice for a writer, how come you picked history for a premise?
RP: I always had a fascination for Indian history from my school days. Later, like most students in our country I took the engineering and MBA route before landing up in a corporate job. The dis-satisfaction of not having followed my heart always remained with me. So I decided that I will research Indian history and write historical fiction only. This is what defines me as a person and an artist. I want to be known for my attempts to recreate a lost world.
TG: Why Chandragupta? What is your fascination with Legends?
RP: In Indian history there are many characters who I feel are under-played and mis-represented. Chandragupta fits the description . As I read more about him I figured out that he was far too complex as a person that normally assumed to be. Also, some incidents in his life which most people don't know about will leave the reader flabbergasted . I thought it was high time someone made an honest attempt to put all these together and capture the transformation of this great man. From being a village boy to becoming a king. From being a king to becoming a monk. Finally, the monk who ended up sacrificing his life. The book attempts to answer what all led to these sequence of events.
TG: Tell us about your future projects, who is publishing them?
RP: After the release of Chandragupta I have got three offers from major publishing houses for my future books. I am thankful to them and in talks to take the initiative forward.
TG: Your web page shows a detailed future plan for your books, that's meticulous and planned, how do you go about your daily writing schedule?
RP: I already have in my mind and on some rough scribbled notes the outer framework for my upcoming books. It takes a long time to get the final output though. During my long daily travel to and from work, I read old history books which form the basis of my research. In the past years I have read and written notes while travelling in Mumbai local trains, public transport buses and my car ( No worries I was not driving, I had a driver) . All this research culminates with the weekend writing where I end up adding maybe 2-3 pages to my book.
TG: How do you do your research?
RP: I prefer reading works of professors and historians who have gone in-depth into Indian history. Thankfully in India we have publishers who are there from pre-independence times who still publish these rare history books. Internet is a secondary source.
TG: Your favourite books, genres, writers?
RP: Favourite genre is Biographies and historical fiction. Favourite writers R K Narayan for conveying powerful ideas in simple words. Rabindranath Tagore for verses and words that echo in our minds long after they are read. Favourite books 'God of Small Things', ' The Guide', 'Alls Quiet on the Western Front', 'The Count of Monte Cristo', 'Kane and Abel' and 'The Godfather'
TG: Anything to add about the relevance art today?
RP: Most of the stuff that is available around us books, music, TV shows and movies are not helping us much to get in touch with our roots anymore. Bookstores are filled with poor quality chick-lit and movies are mostly cliched love stories or disaster action thrillers. TV shows like 'Chandragupta Maurya' and 'Veer Shivaji' are to be taken off air for various reasons like not reaching expected TRPs. Lakhs of members on Facebook groups are still protesting against the same for months but who cares ? Ghazal nights have just failed to garner enthusiasm after the great Jagjit Singh left us, we don’t have a second line to save that mesmerising art form. The world is now driven totally by commerce. We have stopped wondering who we are and where we come from. India with all its various colours is slowly getting outshined by the glitter of money. I think there is a strong need to preserve and protect our cultural identity.
Techgoss: Check out Rajat at his website