The S in STL was among the privileged few to be invited to the Qyuki head office at Indiranagar, Bangalore on the 23rd of March to be a part of an intense discussion between two of India’s intellectual geniuses – Shekhar Kapur and Amish Tripathi.
I expected it to be a high-on-intellect, low-on-dogma event with a pragmatic fireside chat between two intellectually blessed men up for eye-balling. And believe you me – the event lived up to its billing.
The show started when BAFTA winner Shekhar Kapur took the microphone and decided he was going to shoot Amish Tripathi – the man he described as India’s first literary popstar – with his smart, wit-laden questions. To his credit though, when it came to witty responses, Amish wasn’t far behind, and how could he be left behind? – the guy wrote the Shiva triology and expected them (the books) to succeed even when the publishers told him his books would have no takers because they catered to absolutely no audiences.
In response to a question from a member of the gathering, Amish told us how publishers would reject his books by giving him explanations such as these – his books are religious in nature so the youth won’t buy them, they portray Gods contrary to popular belief so the religious lot won’t buy them either, and yet here he is – among India’s most successful authors ever, being described by one of India’s brightest minds as a literary popstar.
(Note to publishers : His books sell. Period).
Presenting a summary from that highly engaging conversation that had the literati present spellbound for about an hour.
Amish the writer :
Amish told us that while writing a book the only opinion that mattered to him was his own and that he has never written with an audience in mind. He says that while writing the Shiva triology his rebellious streak spoke to him and that is why the books turned out the way they turned out.
Amish the philosopher :
While answering Mr. Kapur’s questions Amish often spoke in a language that his readers/fans often attribute to him – philosophy. His description of the Hindu God Shiva, who also happens to be the protagonist of his three books as – “the coolest God” is testimony to the man’s deep understanding of religion because he ended up describing Shiva as the God of dance and the God of music, he is smitten by Shiva’s innate coolness. It was this part of the event that the small, distinguished gathering loved the most.
Amish the businessman :
Before becoming a celebrated writer, Amish was a financial expert, so he knows a thing or two about branding, marketing and keeping a pragmatic view about his books, which essentially are his products that he aims to sell to make a living. And boy, does he do a good job of it. He was honest in conceding that after a writer finishes his book it is important that he/she honors their publisher’s wishes and co-operates in any way possible because it is the publisher’s money that is at stake when they decide to send your books to the printers.
Shekhar Kapur at his best :
We know that Shekhar Kapur is a genius when it comes to movie making, but we saw another side to Mr. Kapur at the event as he played host to Amish Tripathi on Qyuki’s behalf. He spoke, he laughed and he made sure that everyone in that small room was entertained. From where I see it, Shekhar Kapur is an entertainer and he totally enjoys turning up for such events, he loved interacting with Amish and the rest of us. Even though the event revolved around Amish and Qyuki, Mr. Kapur’s presence was felt by one and all, it might sound a little cliched when I say this, but yes we were all awestruck by his simplistic outlook and powerful presence.
My day was made when Amish read a small draft of one of my cross genre WIPs and made this comment:
This guy is an ingenious contemporary author bound to change the face of science fiction writing in future.
When the country’s best selling author appreciates your work, you know you are doing something right. I thanked Amish for the compliment and would surely want to prove him right.
For the folks at Qyuki : Thank you for the invite, it was a pleasure being there, STL will look forward to getting more involved with Qyuki in the future because you are what we are – a social platform for creating creative, immersive content albeit in the tech-sphere.