At a mall in Kochi, Ravinder Singh is surprised to see the wide range of readers who gathered for the book launch. Not just youngsters, the crowd has old people too, who patiently waited in the queue to get the book signed. “There were mothers, too. I was surprised to see that. One girl came with all my books. It feels great to see people love reading,” says Ravinder, who is hailed as King of Romance by his readers.
However, Ravinder has taken his audience by surprise this time. His latest book, The Belated Bachelor Party, is about friendship, not love. The author says it was a conscious decision to walk a fresh path. “As a creative person, you have to challenge yourself, right?” he asks. “After writing about romance in my previous novels, I asked myself this question. And, I decided to deviate from my usual emotional romantic route that leaves readers with a tinge of sadness at the end, and try friendship with a touch of humour,” says Ravinder.
Like he said, the book tells the story of four friends — Happy, MP, Raamji and Ravin, who are on a belated bachelor trip — is filled with humour. The book begins with a prologue about friendship which, according to the author, is the most democratic platform. ‘You became friends by choice and remained so by the very choice. Democratic! Get it?’, reads a line. It goes on saying how these four friends come together for an adventurous trip.
Ravinder says the story is based on real life. “We, friends, had gone on such a trip, and we coined the term ‘belated bachelor party’ then, which subsequently became the title. We studied together from 1999 to 2003. Now, it is 2019. We still keep our friendship,” he says. “I have used their real names, too. We went exactly the same place where the characters go. We had some misadventures too, like them. So, it is partly autobiographical. Of course, I added a few elements to generate interest,” he adds.
What was his friends’ response to the idea of bringing their journey as a book? Laughing, Ravinder says, “They wanted to kill me. They didn’t want me to write it as they feared it would tear the families apart. They are still angry with me.” However, with a chuckle Ravinder adds that his friends are also happy to see the readers’ response. “They are happy to know that the readers like them,” says Ravinder.
He is, in fact, planning to bring a sequel to the book, seeing the readers’ response. Ask him whether it was difficult to pull of humour, he says, “Not really. I crack a lot of jokes in my personal space, especially with these four friends. I feel it was easier for me to write humour than telling them, because when I write, I can edit it to make it sound more interesting,” he observes.
And, he believes experimenting is the key to help publishing industry flourish. “Now, the competition is not between books. It is between books and the videos on social media. We cannot blame people because they enjoy watching them. I would say the way to beat it is to come up with ideas that are as hilarious as a movie or Netflix series. And, thus catch their attention,” concludes the author, looking for more response from audience....