Post “Half Girlfriend”, Chetan Bhagat deliberately gave himself a year to do other things before his next fiction project as he felt it won’t be that interesting if writes all the time.
But in the meantime, he has come out with a new book of essays, his second such work, titled “Making India Awesome”.
In this book, published by Rupa, he analyses and suggests solutions to the country’s most intractable problems – poverty, unemployment, corruption, violence against women, communal violence, religious fundamentalism, illiteracy and more.
He dubs “Making India Awesome” as a story with no romance or page-turning and thrilling moments but a book about a dream – to make India a better place.
Bhagat says he gave himself breaks “so finally when I write, I am itching to write”.
Besides penning several best-selling novels, he has been an activist, a motivational speaker, a reality show judge and a prominent face in TV debates.
Asked if he has too many things on his plate, Bhagat told PTI, “Lately, it might have been the case. My work in the entertainment space helps me connect to millions, who in turn are drawn to my writings about the country. It is a conscious strategy that has worked well. However, for now I feel the need to reconnect to writing and do something creative.”
He says awesome is something that inspires respect, considered cool and aspirational and to do that one needs to work on the nation at many levels. “Details of that is what ‘Making India Awesome’ is about.”
Bhagat wanted to do a collection of essays and columns “so people can read several of my ideas about the nation as one place” and thus “Making India Awesome”.
On TV debates, he writes in the book that after all the arguments, the novelty of the fight soon wears off and as nothing is solved, people get bored and move on.
Asked the reason why he himself takes part in debates, he says, “I take part when I have something to say and I hope to not fall into the trap of a fight. Issues are rarely one-sided so I do it to try and present a balanced side. That said, I do them selectively.”
On criticism, he says, “I try to sift the good criticism from the bad, nasty, personal attack kind of criticism. When I am writing, I largely avoid it. When I am marketing, I keep track of it because I am out there. It does hurt sometimes, but not enough to make me deviate from my work or goals.”
According to him, the USP of his novels is never just one thing. “I think I try to take on relevant issues, make an engaging story and present it in a simple manner. It seems to work.”
He feels it isn’t important for an author to constantly remain in the news.
“It depends on what kind of author you want to be. If you write about current affairs and your writing has an impact, you will be in the news more. However, many great writers don’t do that and they are just as amazing.”
Asked what his seventh novel will be about, he says, “Can’t say. Letting the creative forces take over and write the story this time,” adding it is in his head. “I am always working on a story!”
He has authored six novels u2013 “Five Point Someone” (2004), “One Night @ the Call Centre” (2005), “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” (2008), “2 States” (2009), “Revolution 2020” (2011) and “Half Girlfriend” (2014) besides his first non-fiction book “What Young India Wants” (2012).