Bureaucrat Vipul Mittra’s passion for the creative has seen him author two books

Chasing your dreams is important, but sometimes it helps to understand which dreams are worth chasing; this is the main theme stressed upon by IAS officer and author Vipul Mittra. Vipul, who is the current Principal Secretary for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Pilgrimage and Devasthan (Industries and Mines department) for the Government of Gujarat, has just finished his book, The Dream Chasers. The book is Vipul’s second literary work, his first being the Pyramid of Virgin Dreams, which told the tale of a disillusioned IAS officer and was met with success, eventually being translated into Hindi and Gujarati.

Vipul believes that all writing comes from somewhere, and draws from personal knowledge to create fictional worlds.

“No one can write in a vacuum,while my first book uses my knowledge of the administrative services, this one is much more light-hearted in tone and is born from memories of college,” he says, looking every bit the professional in a dark grey jacket and jeans.

A member of the Gujarat cadre of the Indian Administrative Service, Vipul has worked in Law and Order, Land Management and even served as the Deputy Chairman of Kandla Port Trust for five years. As a member of the bureaucracy, he gets to travel a fair bit and observe the development models of different States, and has nothing but high praise for Kerala.

“I have visited Kochi many times before, particularly when I was managing Kandla port. While Gujarat has been developing rapidly in terms of business we have been quite impressed with the work done in Kerala on social and educational fronts. The atmosphere here is also very calming. In fact it was while I was on election duty here that I started working on The Dream Chasers,” he says.

As he speaks about the book, Vipul goes on to explain the importance of dreaming big, but also having a “Dream B” ready. “When I was younger I was passionate about the ‘creative’. I hail from Punjab and used to write for newspapers in Chandigarh. Then I got into modelling for brands such as Digjam. From there television beckoned and I appeared in some shows on DD Jalandhar, eventually landing a film role as well. But I wanted to put my education to use and I applied to the Services, and now I am revisiting my creative aspirations through my writing,” he says.

It is the drive and ambition of youth and their reaction to the responsibilities of life that he aims to capture in The Dream Chasers, a coming of age tale reminiscent of the works of Chetan Bhagat.

The inevitable comparison does not seem to worry him, as he responds with a ready smile, “Chetan is a pioneer, no doubt about that, but that does not mean there cannot be others like him. My first work, which had a more serious tone, was compared to Upamanyu Chatterjee’s English, August, and went on to do well. Perhaps this one will benefit from the comparison as well.”

Looking ahead, Vipul is quite clear that he intends to keep writing, as it is one of the things his job places no restrictions upon. He is currently toying with ideas for his next book, and once again it is the events of the present that he draws inspiration from. “I am thinking of writing something involving godmen, though politics is also quite an interesting topic. Who knows, perhaps my next book will be about a politician turned godman!” he muses.

The Dream Chasers is published by Random House India and will be released on September 26 in Mumbai.