Pankaj Dubey, author of What A Loser! and Loser Kahin Ka!, is back with Ishqiyapa — a love story spanning the crowded neighbourhoods of Patna to the bustling megapolis that’s Mumbai. The book tells the story of Sweety, the ill-tempered loudmouthed daughter of a local MLA, who wants to become a “pop diva”. At the other end is Lallan, Patna’s ‘Ambani in making’ with his ‘kidnapping insurance’ scheme. A quick chat with Dubey:
When did the idea first come about?
The story was always in my head. After the success of What A Loser!, I wanted to come out with a romantic book.
Which genre draws you the most as a reader and a writer?
As a writer, commercial fiction fascinates me and gives freedom to the writer inside me.
One fictional character close to your heart and why?
The character played by Rajesh Khanna in the movie Anand. He was alive and vibrant and believed in spreading smiles.
Who among the pantheon of writers (past/present) would you like to have a coffee with?
Mahatma Gandhi — I have read his autobiography a number of times and I’m amazed to see his honesty. He never preaches yet never fails to make a point.
What is your antidote for writer’s block?
I don’t believe it exists. I think it’s another term for laziness.
How can budding writers prevent rejection from turning into dejection?
One should believe that there are equal shares of success and failure for a writer. A writer may fail the first few times. One must keep on trying and not take one’s failures too seriously.
Ending of one popular book that you would have changed?
R.K.Narayanan’s Guide. If I were the author, I would not have killed Raju. He sacrificed himself for the cause of others. He could have done much good if he were alive.
One tip for aspiring writers.
Try to associate with activities that ignite your imagination. Travelling and observing people helps writers. Travel as much as you can.