Love, loss, chance and destiny form the crux of diplomat-writer Pavan K Varma's latest novel, When Loss Is Gain. "My previous books were non-fictional in nature. This is my first work in fiction, and I have realised that writing an imaginative story is an internal experience," says Pavan. The author gets talking to CS:
Pic/ Satyajit Desai
Who: Pavan K Varma
What: Talks about his book and Indian writers
Where: At a bookstore
First time, fiction
I have written 16 books, all of them are non-fiction. But when I had this powerful story idea in my head, I felt that it was finally time to venture into fiction writing. While writing non-fictional books is an external exercise, you need to experience emotions to pen down a novel. My story is set in Bhutan, where I am currently posted, but I haven't used the remote locations to add exoticism to my story. It is basically a story about how you see your existence in this fast-paced world, and how you fail to appreciate the small gifts of life. I have also tried to address the topic of what role desire plays in our life with the love story of Anand and Tara. Finally, it is about how we overcome adversity in our life (smiles).
I have been writing books since the last 25 years. Fortunately, my books have done well, and so I have never lacked any motivation. My professional life of a diplomat and my vocation of a writer run on two completely different lines, so there has never been any conflict between the two. Whenever, I am a little bored of my life as a diplomat, I run into my world of books.
And while my recent book is a love story, I must confess that I haven't read many romantic novels. My favourite love story is the one between Radha and Krishna, which has given us so many songs, poems and folklore. The narrative of their love is also different from that of a human love story. But then, gods make love in different ways (laughs).
Indians going English
For every one good Indian writer writing in English, there are at least half a dozen mediocre ones. Ideally, one should write in one's mother tongue as we have excellent command over it. Most Indian writers, who write in English, have limited knowledge of English prose. I would say that Chetan Bhagat brought about a revolution when he became a highest selling author with Five Point Someone. The records equalled any Western bestseller, and this inspired many. Likewise, randomly rejecting English novels by Indian writers is a sign of mental colonisation. We must appreciate things that come from our homeland.