Wednesday, May 1, 2013

“Complete/Convenient, story told from a man’s point of view” says Ketan Bhagat!!!

This is an extract of Interview published at

Ketan Bhagat (younger brother of Chetan Bhagat) is all set to launch his first novel Complete/Convenient in May’ 2013. takes the opportunity to interview Ketan Bhagat.

Tell us something about yourself especially about your school and college life.

I was born and brought up in Delhi. My father was in army and so mostly out of station. My mother was an agricultural scientist and would only be home by five. That gave us brothers plenty of time and opportunities to play pranks, fight, break things, call up friends etc. All this and myself being the youngest in the family meant I was really spoilt and pampered. Even today I smile at memories of Nirulas ice creams, our green ambassador car which gave more jerks than kilometers in its lifetime, my dog, flying kites on terraces, school holidays due to mandal commission, chola bhaturas at mangal bazaar etc. From bullying conductors in redline buses to sneaking out my dad’s maruti 800 after he slept to visit my girlfriend, I have done everything that characterizes Delhi.  

I did schooling from The famous Army Public School. Yes this is the same school that has produced legends like Manisha Koirala and Chetan Bhagat. Yes, this is also the school that has produced another sort of legends like Shiney Ahuja. Time will tell which category I will fall into (laughs).

Except for once in Class X, I rarely managed good grades. I was too bindaas to care about them. My motto was only to have fun.

I couldn’t get into any engineering college after school. I did a 3 year Hotel Management course from Pusa, Delhi. During college, I used to earn pocket money by being a waiter part time. Then somehow became an anchor in Doordarshan. Post college, I worked for an year in Oberoi and since they made us slog, I opted for an easier option – MBA. Afterall, there is nothing like student life. While doing MBA, became a script writer for Music Asia channel. Again, good pocket money and chance to meet tv stars.

Despite two years of bunking classes, playing stock market with my gujju friends and eating vada pavs outside the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies building in Mumbai, God forgave me for not being serious about studies by making Satyam make a job offer. I was reluctant but Chetan recommended and also people said IT was the easiest way to become an NRI. Forget foreign posting, Satyam sent a spoilt Punjabi like me to a city like Chennai. For 1.5 years, the autowallahs there made oodles of money cheating me. Thereafter, I was posted to Malaysia, New Zealand and finally Australia.

When did you start writing? What is the inspiration behind? 

I never planned to become a writer. It is hard, lonely and intelligent work which cannot be outsourced. I was happy doing more entertaining things like scuba diving, skiing, bungee jumping, snorkeling, driving from Sydney to Gold Coast etc.

I was also very happy seeing Chetan as a writer. Seriously, even as his success and fame skyrocketed, my only interest in his writing and life was the number of bollywood actresses he could make me meet whenever I visited India.

However, about 3 years ago, I experienced something very different in my life. Intense, emotional and transformational this was an experience I was totally unprepared for. Surprisingly, friends around me were also going through similar experienced. With time as this wave of emotions (which I call as a ‘Peak’ that every NRI goes through) grew stronger totally enveloping my thinking and personality, I realized this was a phenomenon beyond me. Even after we moved back to India about 2.5 years ago, the aftereffect of this transformational experience kept lingering within me. I realized I needed an outlet. This is how the writer in me was born. Afterall, writing a book is the easiest, most practical and cost effective. Just type, your boss thinks you are working and no one charges you for writing (laughs). That I was Chetan Bhagat’s brother was a further source of inspiration.

Tell us something about your upcoming book “Complete/Convenient”.

Complete/Convenient : : There is More to Men than Bromance
An NRI’s life is not like the one shown in Karan Johar’s Movies. Most Indian’s don’t fly business class, get Ferrari keys the moment they land in airport, do not stay in opulent beach facing resorts and have beautiful semi naked blondes running after them in beaches. Yes, NRI life has beaches, dollars, glamorous things and lots of convenience. But there are sacrifices and constraints too.

Just like life in India is difficult but definitely better for most people than what was shown in Slumdog Millionaire. Yes life here is bumpy, choppy, irritating and jarring. But there is completeness to it.

I feel that no movie or novel in recent times has given a real view of NRI life or Indian life. This despite the fact that every Indian today has a choice to settle outside India and majority of them do consider doing so. This is what I have tried to capture in my book. All characters, incidents and twists are inspired from real life. At the same time, there is no judgment on which life is better or recommended. It just presents two worlds. It’s for the readers to decide which one they prefer individually.

Looking at the trend in India when professionals from varied fields are coming up with debut novels, how do you think “Complete/ Convenient” is more promising?

(laughs) I can’t say that. Readers will decide it. But it is a decent read. I am very sure of that. And frankly I am more concerned about readers liking my novel rather than comparing it with other novels. Each story is different. And one reader can like numerous stories at the same time.

Besides, like I mentioned, this being a very relevant topic for today’s generation I also recommend this book for another reason.

This book is a story told from a man’s point of view. A man not a boy looking for a career, girl or bromance. This is about someone who marries a girl of his choice and is doing well in his career. Nobody writes about the life of men who fall in this category. Just for example, Have you ever read a book that tells you what a man feels when his wife and mother don’t get along? This happens to 90% of men. Just like majority of men are victims of office politics at some point or the other. Trust me, there is a lot that a man has to go through in life. And they are emotional creatures too. Yet, most stories are centered around women.

It is said that new writers face the difficulty of getting a publishing house. How was your experience with publishing house since you had celebrity reference? 

While writing the book I had the same thought that I’ll be treated nicely by the publishing houses. But this didn’t happen. Even my brother’s publisher could have treated me better.

I went to many publishers with manuscript and faced rejections. The struggle was tough. Initially even I thought that people from celebrity families have it easy in life. Trust me, some of them don’t.

Luckily, just before I was about to give up, few publishers showed interest but I couldn’t figure out if they were interested in my story or in my being Chetan’s brother.

Srishti Publishers showed great interest and were excited about Complete/Convenient.

Luckily in India, lot many publishing houses are gradually setting up with interests in budding writers stories.

But yes, I definitely had to struggle for publishers.

Would you like to give any advice to Indian Writers who aren’t published yet?

It is important to know if you want to be a writer or a celebrity. Every actor can’t be Ranbir Kapoor. Similarly every writer cannot be India’s highest selling Author Chetan Bhagat. And trust me even Chetan Bhagat didn’t know he would become that big a phenomenon. He just wrote a story he believed in and rest was incidental.

Today I am releasing this book fully aware of that the expectations are set really high and I will be compared with Chetan. Obviously a lot of criticism and ridicule will come my way. Some has already started coming. But I am happy and enjoying this phase. Why? Because my intention was only to express myself through the writing channel. All this is incidental.

What are your future plans? Do you have any inspiration for your second book as of now?
When I started writing Complete/Convenient I promised myself that I will not write after this book. But writing is addictive. I felt so light after completing the novel.

And right now there is one more story in my mind which is haunting me. I will work on it after some months.

Many Thanks for your valuable time to Any message for the readers?

Please read Complete/Convenient. I promise you it’s a decent read.


Best Sellers in Books said...

nice Books-"“Complete/Convenient,

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