He wrote a bestseller but is ‘depressed’ that he didn’t get any hate mail. That’s Jugal Mody for you.

Jugal Mody is jovial, relaxed and an easy-to-talk-to guy, who loves to giggle. Dressed in casuals, he patiently signs and scribbles funny one-liners in the copies of his book Toke. This man actually waits to sign the copies for his fans. Mody used to handle web and social media for Filmfare and Tehelka before he turned author. Then, Toke was released.

Choosing to shift

As CNN-IBN says, the book “has all the elements of a blockbuster” and is about three stoner friends who are out to save the world. Why this sudden shift to fiction? Mody said, “I didn’t suddenly shift to fiction. I used to write even while I was studying computer engineering. As a student, I was part of a bunch of online bookshops. I was trying to understand what I enjoyed about writing.”

He started writing after he quit working at Filmfare. One morning he woke up with a hangover and told himself, “I haven’t written in so long. If I don’t write every day I am not writer. So I should start writing.” He wrote about 10,000 words that “completely described” his protagonist Nikhil. Now, he felt that something interesting had to happen in the story. He recalled old characters — Danny and Aman — from a story he had written in this college days. And Toke become a novel.

“I wrote my first draft before moving to Delhi. But, in Delhi, the editing took a little while. I couldn’t give it enough time because of the new job. I don’t think I looked at anything as inspiration. But, being a complete pop culture fan had a lot to do with this,” he answered rather thoughtfully. “I love pop culture,” he giggles.

Mody finds it “depressing” that he didn’t receive any hate mails. He believes that “controversy sells books.” He also said that his characters are not really inspired by anybody. Whenever, he is writing, he constantly asks, “What is that one good reason why I should not do this?” If he finds even one reason, then he changes it. He uses the same technique while revisiting his work.

What's in store?

Since, the characters in Toke are into substance abuse, it was only fair to ask him about the legalisation of marijuana. He answered, “I don’t think it should be a question. In Allahabad there is a government ration shop that sells cannabis.” In some parts of the country it is sold on the streets. After thinking for a while, he added, “I don’t think people talk much about it, that’s why all this drama is happening.” Answering a rapid-fire round he said he would write an erotic fiction if people are ready to read it. He would legalise weed in India. He said that he is a big TV fan.

So what can the readers expect from the author of the bestseller Toke? “I am trying to work back my way to writing now,” he laughed.