The new edition of the much anticipated literary festival in the country has just been announced. The Bangalore Literature Festival will be held at the Royal Orchid hotel (Near KGA) on 5-6 Dec 2015. The event is free to attend but early registration is recommended. Click here to register.
The two-day festival will feature writers from India and abroad. Open Road Review’s Kulpreet Yadav interviewed one of the bestselling Indian writers, Ravinder Singh, who is scheduled to speak at the festival. Ravinder, a computer science engineer whose last job was with Microsoft before he chose to become a full-time novelist and publisher, is the highest selling writer of romance books in India.
Kulpreet Yadav: No other author has been loved so much for writing love stories. What is your definition of love?
Ravinder Singh: This is a difficult question to answer. I think love is a powerful emotion that can drive one to extreme limits. It overrides all relations, even of blood. One chooses a complete stranger and falls in love with that person. Also the grief that one experiences after losing a lover is the most intense. I would like the sum up by saying that love is the most powerful human emotion.
KY: You lost your love and wrote a book to immortalize it. You found your love because you wrote a novel. What are your thoughts on immortality of love?
RS: Every relationship is immortal. When I wrote my first novel ‘I Too Had a Love Story’ it wasn’t my intention to immortalize my love. I wanted to relive the period of our courtship and keep my fiancée Khushi alive. I think immortality is not limited to love. Emotions are immortal and honesty is important.
KY: Can love last a lifetime in modern day and age where opportunities and inhibitions are testing people’s morals like never before.
RS: The answer is yes it can. I am using the word can because it may not always be so. In real life scenario relationships evolve over time. We are no longer confined to our nations—we live in a global village now. The practice of Sati does not exist. Now women want equal rights, equal wage, and I support this idea. The fact is that the dependency on men is reducing. But at the same time there is too much distraction nowadays. Everyone I meet has an Ex. There is only one life, most say, and they are looking for better options. That said, in very rare cases, love can last a lifetime.
KY: Who is your favourite Indian author under 40?
RS: The name that immediately comes to my mind is that of Varun Agarwal. I have read his novel ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company’. I liked it because it is a real life story and the inspiration—the basic theme of the story—is presented in a very chilled-out manner. No over the top gyan. But I have loved many other writers too.
KY: You have said many times before that you had never read a book before you wrote your own. Do you read books now? If yes, has it made you a better writer?
RS: Yes, I had said this before. I am also aware that my first novel was very immature as far as writing is concerned. But there is a reason for that. I grew up in a very small town in Orissa where there were no bookstores. But I read a lot of books now. I have recently read books by Dan Brown, Ravi Subramanian and Harper Lee among others. Yes, reading books has helped me with my writing.
KY: Like Durjoy, you too have founded a publishing company. Why? Wouldn’t it be wise to focus on writing since you are really at top of the heap?
RS: Many young aspiring writers have been writing to me for advice about the publishing process in India. My own experience with the publishing industry has been rather bumpy. I was rejected by every publisher before Shristi accepted me for my first book. I have always wanted to help aspiring writers. It was due to this reason that we crowd-sourced love stories from Indian writers for Penguin and were surprised when we landed up with 5000 submissions. That was my first baby step towards helping aspiring writers. That anthology sold three lakh copies (three hundred thousand). Now I have started my own publishing house and we have received over 1000 submissions. It’s my way of giving back to the writers.
KY: Any thoughts about Bangalore, its readers, or anything special it does to the writer in you.
RS: I had heard so many good things about Bangalore as a student that I wanted to work in the city. But Infosys had different plans for me. Two things that I love about Bangalore: one, the weather, and two, the people are young and educated. I’m looking forward to the Bangalore Literature Festival this December because I have never been to Bangalore for a festival. I have had my book events in the past but I had not been fortunate enough to be part of a festival. All that is set to change now.