The fourth book in Ashwin Sanghi’s widely revered Bharat Series, The Sialkot Saga, is the author’s long-awaited foray into the field of business thrillers. Born and brought up in a family of traders, Ashwin Sanghi’s interest in writing about business was quite natural. It took Ashwin three years to finally bring out this story of businessmen that stretches across and against post-Independence India.
Ashwin revealed the reason behind the long break between the last thriller and The Sialkot Saga and one cannot help but marvel at the intricacies that go into his writing.
“The problem was that the project was so vast in scope and ambition that other projects kept coming in the way. As a result, completion of this book got held up on several occasions to make way for other books.”
The Sialkot Saga, thanks to its extensive featuring of business, ancient history, and contemporary history, needed a lot of accuracy in its research and the way it is presented. And to Ashwin Sanghi’s well-trained mind, featuring real life characters like Atal Behari Vajpayee, P.V. Narasimha Rao, and Rajiv Gandhi was an enjoyable process despite it demanding quite a bit of caution.
“One can get far more details about contemporary figures such as Vajpayeeji and less about ancient figures such as Ashoka, but one has to be much more careful with sketching figures that we are familiar with. Need for accuracy is inversely related to years elapsed!”
Delving into matters of money from across periods of time that span centuries, Ashwin’s observations of how man sees money is truth bespoken. Though man’s hunger for gold and wealth seems enhanced and enlarged in the modern day, the fact still remains that the hunger has always remained directly proportional to the time in which man lives.
“Everything has changed and nothing has changed. Man’s appetite for gold has remained constant through the ages. While it is true that the nature of business, global trade, corporate structures and technology has transformed the way that money is made, the underlying quest for wealth, the ultimate motivator of men, has not changed an iota.”
Weaving ancient history with contemporary history is, according to Ashwin, an intimate duet between having a definite and detailed plot outline that holds disparate strands of the story together, and getting the contemporary history of India right. His research for the book included extensive research even before he started plotting the story. The process was a little difficult despite the extent of the research to keep contemporary history in lines close to reality.
“A substantial amount of reading happened before I started plotting the story. The ancient track was the easier bit. The more difficult part was in trying to get the contemporary history of India right. Books were able to provide recorded accounts but I needed more. Things like movies, music, restaurants, celebrities and culture are usually never part of the historical narrative while it is these very things that provide the flavour of that time. I was only able to fill those gaps with extensive interviews with people who had lived those years in those cities. With each reading or interview, I would jot down even more ideas. It finally resulted in a plot outline that ran to over 10,000 words.
And in the explanation of the process, Ashwin Sanghi belts out the secret to getting a story perfect.
“The secret is perspiration, not inspiration.”
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Release: April 2016
Genre: Fiction/ Business/ Thriller
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