My view on Current Indian authors

Posted on April 8, 2011


I am a big fan of fiction novels especially if they are sci-fi , mystery, archeology, mythology. The thrill started with reading Michael Crichton and Isaac Asimov. Then with my engineering studies and Job came a lull. I started picking up books again when I went for my Masters to US. The book which re-ignited  my passion for reading was Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown . Thereafter I started wolfing down anything that was close to Dan Brown as an author or his area of expertise. I ended up reading all his previous books and all other books which tried to cash in on his success .

Eventually I got bored with these conspiracy thrillers whose sole aim was to prove that everything that the the Church or the US government did was a conspiracy or a secret. I was dying to read something different. I looked up to Michael Crichton but his last few works were kind of disappointing and spread too far apart before his sad demise. I liked Michael Crichton because he  picked up different themes and picked up the latest scientific advances and blended them perfectly. Dan Brown after a excruciatingly long wait became predictable with his Lost Symbol book. I started exploring different authors. I picked up Douglas Preston /Lincoln Child. Although their themes were good their endings were predictable . Also their central character (Pendergast)was more of an unbelievable superhero who was master of almost everything.  Same with Raymond Khoury who was turning out to be an imitation of Dan Brown.

Then I decided to look east. I thought why not read Indian authors. My initial apprehension about Indian authors was that the famous ones never picked up a theme to my liking. Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth wrote books which required a lot of thinking and slow reading. My interest was pacy potboilers and fast page turners which I would be compelled to finish within 2-3 days.  I decided to go by the popular route and picked up Chetan Bhagat’s Five point someone (which was not a thriller). I was terribly disappointed . Not because it was a bad book. It was good book and a good  story but the writing style was more Karan Johar’s movie making style. And I seriously hate that. The prose and the content was very light. More suited to college kids So I decided to look elsewhere.

While browsing through Barnes and Noble in San Diego, I found that there were too few books dealing with Indian mythology , history and so on. I thought why somebody could not come up with a Dan Brown kind of setting in India. Though Dan Brown criticized the church , Da Vinci Code generated tremendous interest in Jesus and revived Christianity to some extent. That got me thinking that may be I should write a book on Indian mythology. But before that I needed to read and research a lot. So I gulped down the Mahabharata and Ramayana within a week. Found out that they were as good pageturners as the  Brown/Crichton products. Again in Barnes and Noble I chanced upon a relatively unknown book by Nipun Shukla “Hindu Histories: A beginning”. That book just floored me. I never thought that mythology and the exaggerated stories around it had such humble beginnings. It dealt with beginning of Indian civilization and the great tribes  and their origins (Adityas, Daityas, Asuras, Danavas) and how the gods/leaders came into being and wove these threads with the common theme of Vishnu’s Dashavatar. This book was an eye opener and a fitting riposte to the truckload of shit available through German/English/British Indian (you know who I mean) authors who supported the Aryan Invasion and Europe as the birthplace of every civilization. Unfortunately this book went unnoticed and never even received  a review on Amazon. I recommend this book to each and every one and I hope Nipun writes some more.

When I returned to India a few months back I picked up “The Immortals of Meluha” By Amish Tripathi at the airport. This book blended fiction into our well known mythological tales and brought out a new aspect of story telling. I liked Amish’s narrative style (could be turned into good action movie). Few annoyances were there where the Meluhans were shown using terminology form today’s world. But on the whole the book had everything romance,action,mythology some originality. I started looking at the trend of the past few Indian authors Nipun, Amish and Chetan and all of them were MBAs. I thought this could be new choice for me for Indian authors (MBAs only :)). And for me to start writing I thought I needed an MBA too.

I decided to wait on my book writing till I came up with a fantastic idea. Meanwhile last week I chose another MBA Indian bestselling author Ashwin Sanghi’s book  “The Rozabal Line”. After reading the book ,till now I could say this is my biggest disappointment. The book had everything going for it, a good plot , detailed research work but still the book ended up being a Indian version of Da Vinci code and that too a poor one. Using of Anagrams, to Mary Magdalene theories to Illuminati all pointed to Dan Brown. The author could have avoided this. Also the chapters jumping from one location to another within a paragraph just put me off. The writer just decided to pick every conspiracy in the world and add to this book ( Mayan Doomsday of 2012, Jesus’s bloodline, Indian mythology, re-incarnations, terrorism, Christian Inquisitions in India,Illuminati , Involvement of CBI,FBI, Mossad, CIA,ISI and on on and on). I am surprised on how he missed out on Interpol. This is what happens with first time authors I believe . They try to pack in everything that is available. I hope his new work Chanakya’s chant is good .

For my book writing project I believe I need to use blog writing to improve my skills. Blog-writing will enable me to find If I can convince people with my views or observations and the comments and feedback will hopefully help me  not commit the same mistakes as a first time author.