Nirvana in a Corporate Suit tells the tale of an average corporate guy’s quest for happiness, and contains strong doses of adventure, magic and spirituality.
“The journey takes us and our hero into the wilderness of the Himalayas, where a magical alternate reality welcomes him into a world littered with talking mirrors, dimensions that feel like a multi-level game, and are designed (and scored) like a Hollywood big budget production, along with a spiritual mentor who calls himself Baba - an ex-rockstar with a dubious backstory, who happens to be a rabid Kurt Cobain fan. Nirvana is comically profound and profoundly comic, a tale of adventure that subverts the very idea of self-help in favour of creating a story that uses entertainment, hilarity and thrill in covert service of promoting the larger principles of happiness and spiritual well-being,” says Runjhun Noopur, an ex-corporate lawyer-turned-author and entrepreneur.
Her own tryst with the corporate world as a lawyer triggered a lot of existential questions with regard to her own state of true happiness, especially in context of material existence. She realised pretty early on in her rather short-lived corporate career that happiness was rarely a function of the number of zeroes in our pay cheque.
“Nirvana is inspired by my own personal quest to find those answers, and along the way, help my readers find a few answers of their own,” says the author, adding, “The self-help zone, helpful as it is, often tends to get didactic, heavy and sometimes even boring. I wanted to break the mould and talk about the principles of happiness and spirituality in a context that was by design fun and entertaining.”
Nirvana’s style combines elements of TV shows, books and movies which Runjhun enjoys the most.
What has emerged can be best described as an unlikely marriage of the profundity of something like Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist with the general hilarity, fantasy and wit of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“My only priority was to write a book that was entertaining, a book that I enjoyed writing because that would by extension be a book that readers were going to have fun with. I wrote a book that I’d want to read, and that is the only mode or style that I had in mind,” she says, adding, “The chemistry between the two protagonists — Baba and Zulfi — is hands down my favourite part. It forms the emotional spine of the story and the banter between them is where the humour of the book gets best reflected.”
As to what’s next, Runjhun reveals, “A sequel to the Nirvana saga is in the works, and we will hopefully be able to share more details soon. Building on Nirvana, and its quest to find happiness, I am also involved with a lot of vlogs, podcasts and offline speaking events on the subject. Apart from that, there is a novel, a short story collection and a more traditional self-help book that are all in process.”...