Nishant Kaushik hadn’t aspired to be a writer, but this story made him begin writing and materialise into a book.
A little about you as a writer and a person
My fascination with writing began almost accidentally. I was all of seven years, and had just read Goldilocks And The Three Bears. In the midst of an ongoing class I scribbled an Indianized version of the story, which I later bartered with my classmate in exchange for a soda pipe (colas in little plastic pouches) sold in our canteen at 50 paise.
I didn’t think much about writing for the next decade and a half, until an idea visited me and transformed into a story. Before I knew it, the story had transformed into a manuscript, the manuscript into several failed and one successful attempt at getting it published, the published novel into encouragement from readers. And then came a few more novels.
I am, today, the author of six published novels. I also keep a day job as a business, IT, and something-of-everything consultant in Melbourne. Along my journey as a novelist I have interned as a screenplay consultant, a comic book co-writer, a columnist for journals like Yowoto and Mildred – essentially, I love experimenting with genres ranging from full-length novels to guest articles.
About the book
My latest novel is a work of fiction and yet not quite so. My Father Is A Hero is a salute to every father who has been a hero to his child. This idea took seed when I was speaking to my own father about the quiet but significant sacrifices he has made for his children all these years, without ever making a big deal about them. I have imbibed values from him that hold me in good stead always, and I strive to be half as good a father to my own son as he is to me.
I have read many stories and watched many films about mothers and the supreme love they bestow on their children, but not as many about the (sometimes disciplinarian but always well-meaning) care provided by fathers. Further, I do feel the reputation of Indian men has increasingly been coming under the scanner. Against the harsh realities of patriarchal dominance and violence against women, exist certain men of the same society who are the perfect role model to their families, who stand behind their partners and children like pillars of strength, who are always ready to go the distance to ensure their families’ happiness. My book is a humble token of respect to such men.
Set in Pune, this book tells you the story of Vaibhav Kulkarni, a single father with limited means and a very large heart whose world resides in his eleven-year-old daughter Nisha. With a promising academic future and a dream to be the next Rihanna, Nisha’s life seems set on cruise control, when a series of events in quick succession shakes her up and damages her passion and self-belief. A concerned father, torn between devoting himself to his daughter’s needs and attending to the only job that brings home their daily bread, finally puts his job at stake and takes Nisha on a trip to meet her role model Rihanna. At the end of this journey fraught with exciting adventures, Nisha realises that her real hero was living under the same roof as her, and not seven seas across.
On being a writer
Nine years into this profession, there is no looking back for me. Not because I have perfected the art of writing; no, there is no such thing. But it is the struggle of constantly trying to improve oneself as an artist that I have come to value very much along my journey as a novelist. Upon the release and reviews of my first novel in 2007, I had concluded that getting my foot through the door had made it easy for me to be established as a rockstar novelist. It was only subsequently that I learnt the struggle had only begun. Because with every published book, the stakes get higher, and your readers expect you to do better. Aspiring to that next level of better excites me.
Advice to aspiring authors
Your own distinct experience, the mistakes you make, the first success you smell, are all sacrosanct and should not be influenced by what others guide you to do or not to do. But one of the few basic rules is to get started with something rather than getting tangled in details around structure, marketability and acceptance too early in your book’s life cycle.
You will never get it right the first time. Hence, labour over your edits. Don’t rush into a pitch until you are sure of what you are trying to pitch.
Finally, understand the fine difference between criticism and trolling. Learn to tell constructive feedback apart from vile mockery of your work. Imbibe the feedback that matters so that you can get better. Weed out the vileness, because remember – the final verdict of your book might be at the mercy of your readers, but the story and the journey you took to write it will always be yours, and will always be special.
Nishant’s favourite books
In no particular order, I loved reading The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Fault In Our Stars, A Fine Balance, The Hungry Tide, India: A History (by John Keay), The Last Juror, And Thereby Hangs A Tale, The Interpreter of Maladies, and Maximum City, among many others.
Author: Nishant Kaushik
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Release: January 2016
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
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