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A twist of fate

NIKHIL VARMA
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Vishwas Mudagal talks about his debut novel and the journey that never happened

The idea of penning a book came to entrepreneur-turned-author Vishwas Mudagal when his life was at the crossroads; his gaming start-up was running out of steam and finances were reaching a breaking point. “I was hitting lows in my personal and professional life. I got a call from a friend, who had quit his job and was planning on a backpacking trip across the country. He asked me to join him.”

However, Vishwas never managed to undertake that trip as he found a job as the chief operating officer of a Canadian firm looking for a foothold in India. He took it up. This decision played an important part in the creation of his debut novel Losing My Religion. “The protagonist in my book also faces a similar situation. However, unlike me, he decides to take the trip with an American hippie he meets. This book is about how this journey changes the life of the protagonist, thanks to the experiences he undergoes and the people he meets. It took me four years to write the book.”

Initially, Vishwas made a small start on the book, only to have it junked by his wife. “She did not like the initial draft and was not drawn to the story. I made a few changes, altered some situations and wrote the first three chapters. She loved the new draft and wanted to know more. That was when Losing My Religion was born. I was always interested in writing, though this was a completely new experience for me.”

“The book is multilayered. It talks about human relationships, involves travels to remote corners of the country such as the Malana valley which is inhabited by the descendants of Alexander’s army. It also involves some degrees of mystery and works as a thriller. The protagonist has a life-changing adventure -- travelling across the country from the Himalayan valleys to the warm environs of the Om beach in Gokarna.”

Vishwas says that he writes for himself first. “I want to be entertained by what I write. If I do not enjoy what I am writing, it is not worth the effort. I made constant changes to the book and it took me almost four years to complete it. Balancing work alongside writing a book also took up a lot of my time.”

Writing a good book needs one to let their ideas flow into paper. Vishwas contends most of his book was written on paper using a pen. “I started writing on a laptop, but could not get the ideas to flow effectively. I started writing on paper and I began to enjoy writing.”

Losing My Religion (Fingerprint, Rs. 199) at select bookstores across the country.

NIKHIL VARMA

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