Author Vibhor Tikiya talks about his debut novel “Dada” and the challenges of writing an unfamiliar character
Vibhor Tikiya has had a varied journey. An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and IISc Bangalore, he has worked as a consultant and a businessman. For his debut novel “Dada”, he has chosen a protagonist who is exactly his opposite.
It tells the story of Aditya, who has never had any respect for the education system and has, through cheating and manipulation, always found a way around it. In engineering college, he meets and mentors his friends John, Divya and Vivek, and earns the honorific Dada. Their friendship proves transformational for Dada. The novel chronicles his journey from uncaring rebel to a professor at an elite college. “It is the journey of a character who deserved nothing, but got everything,” Vibhor explains.
The idea for the book came to the author a few years back when he was introduced, with all his qualifications, to someone he refers to as “a very dignified man.” “He said, ‘So what? I know of a guy who didn’t do anything in life and went on to become pretty huge’,” Vibhor remembers, amused that the portions of Dada’s life people found to be most unconvincing are the ones that are grounded in reality.
Armed with just the fate of the character, Vibhor started building backwards.
“The character was anti-me, so I started imagining all the people I had met in life who had freaked out, all the cool dudes who hung around all the time,” the author says. “Every college, every friend group might have that one oddity, that eccentricity. While it is difficult to imagine what his journey would be like step for step, once the concept is in your head, you build on it.”
The author has drawn from his experiences too. “The easiest part of the book was writing how he at the end conveys his respects to his professor. That came out very easily for me. There have been quite a few people who have influenced me in life, so it was written very quickly,” he adds.
Vibhor’s next is “Dharam”, which tells the story of a conflict between the owners and employees in a firm.