It has hardly been two months since author Vishwas Mudagal, released his debut novel, Losing My Religion, and this CEO of a leading software and innovation lab is receiving positive reviews and is travelling all over the country to colleges, delivering motivational speeches to students to take up entrepreneurship. His calendar lists trips to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, North Karnataka and other cities. The genial author, who easily smiles, is thrilled about how his book has been received, and says he totally did not expect such a warm response from the readers.
“When I wrote the book, I wrote it solely for myself,” says the Bengaluru-based author. The book is thoroughly character and plot-driven and took him four years to complete. Losing My Religion explores the life of a grounded entrepreneur, Rishi Rai. After he is compelled to shut down his company, he sells the only thing he is left with his car and goes on a year-long trip with an American hippie, despite having an offer from a company to be CEO.
“It starts off as my own story. I used to run a company called Jobeehive.com, which boomed in the beginning, but later fell flat. I also got an offer from a leading gaming and app development company to be the CEO. The only difference between me and Rishi is that I took up the job and he didn’t,” he informs.
Written in local dialect and laced with a youthful feel, the story begins in Bengaluru and moves to Om beach in Gokarna, the mysterious Malana Valley in the Himalayas and ends up at a reality show in New York. “Malana Valley is on my to-do list. It’s a place where all outsiders are treated as untouchables,” he explains, saying he has visited the rest of the places he’s written about.
The most challenging part for Vishwas, however, was to write about the romance between Rishi and his counterpart, Kyra. “Kyra is an epitome of the modern Indian woman. She is intelligent, smart and mysterious. It’s so difficult to write the love story of two intelligent people. I rewrote the romantic bits eight times!” he exclaims.
Being an author has been a journey of learning for him. He now has a newfound love for solo travelling. “I think it makes you learn so much about other cultures and also about yourself,” he muses. “I strongly believe that India should capitalise on the recent entrepreneurship boom. When I speak at colleges, I urge youngsters to stop sticking to the norms (corporate jobs) and start out on their own. They may fail, but failing is good because it tells you how not to do things,” he says.
Ask him about his hobbies, and surprisingly, reading is nowhere in the picture. “I’ve read Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead. But that’s it. On the other hand, I’m a movie buff,” he informs. He watches any good movie, and the best compliment he has received so far is that his book should be made into a movie.
Vishwas says his next book could have a futuristic backdrop. “The next one could be a story set in future, maybe 2030,” he reveals. Until then, looks like the author has enough on his plate, spending time with his wife and daughter, and travelling all over India.