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The game changer

Author Ravi Subramanium. Photo: special arrangement   | Photo Credit: 20dmc ravi

For the last few years, no bestseller list has been complete without Ravi Subramanian. This year is no different with his “God Is A Gamer” (Penguin) striking a chord with the readers. Known for his thrillers set in the banking sector, this time, Ravi treads in the murky terrain of virtual currency and gaming industry.

“If you see in all my books I have two key intentions. One is obviously to entertain and make sure that the reader has a good reading experience. I also try to write on subjects that nobody has dealt with before to make my works different from other page turners. I want to leave people with something to think about. Slightly intellectually stimulating if I can call it that way.”

Ravi charms as much with his intriguing plots as with his honest confessions. He knows his reader is short on patience and so the 310 page novel has 99 chapters. “People read thrillers on flights, at night and begin to count pages they have to finish till the next chapter begins. Why give them that chance? If they know that there are only two pages to go for the next twist, chances are they will remain hooked through the night.”

Talking about Bitcoins, the virtual currency which is central to his novel, Ravi says it intrigued him since he first saw the Wikileaks tweet about Bitcoins. “If there is one currency that helped Wikileaks take on the might of the U.S. Government, it was Bitcoins. I thought kuchh to hoga and started my research.” For the uninitiated, Ravi explains when all the usual modes of financial transactions were blocked by the U.S., Wikileaks asked for donations in the form of Bitcoins.

“It has so many sides to it that it automatically leads to a thriller. People are beginning to talk about Bitcoin. In the U.S., you can buy a Subway burger through bitcoins. It is already a reality in India. People read about it in newspapers where a lot of technical jargon is thrown at them. I thought, let me tell this in an interesting manner so that they enjoy it and remember it. And I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty whoever has read my book will not forget Bitcoins.”

Ravi, who works in the financial sector, says he is convinced that in five years Bitcoins will change the way we do business online. “Fifteen years back, nobody predicted that internet will become so important in our lives. Today, if the WiFi goes down for a minute, people start to struggle. In less than five years, Bitcoins will change the way people transact and transfer money. It threatens to drive big multinational conglomerates out of business. Visa and Mastercard charge two percent on every transaction made as fee. Bitcoin does it for free. It is the world’s first digital decentralised currency which works without the intervention of any bank or financial institution. In short, a game changer.”

He admits if anonymity is its big strength, it is a big problem as well in legal sense. “The more I read about the more I came across the dark side of it,” says Ravi referring to Silkroad, the online drug dealing market. “That’s why I strongly believe the Government should get actively involved now. The RBI has advised to exercise caution when dealing in Bitcoins. What I feel is if the Government doesn’t come in and take charge now, at some point in time, it will be difficult to control. Then we will only be playing the catch-up game. I would like to implore all the governments of the world to come together to form a protocol to regulate virtual currency.”

However, he hasn’t allowed the technical nitty-gritty to come in between his lucid storytelling. “You just need to know how, what and why. When James Bond presses the watch and the car explodes, the writer doesn’t go into the science of it. One should leave it to the leap of faith. I have tried to explain as much as possible and what I can’t I have left it to people’s imagination.”

Talking of imagination, Ravi is moving away from the banking sector and virtual foreplay is leading to scenes of physical intimacy. “I always try to strike a balance between what the audience expects and wants to read and my self-improvement. I still feel conscious writing about romance and intimacy. I know it is not my strength and want to get over with it quickly. It still doesn’t come naturally to me but I don’t look to skirt the situation any more. What I do is I mark the space where such a situation emerges and return later to fill it.”

The rights of the novel have already been bought by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures to turn it into a film. To those who ask how the complicated concept will be translated on celluloid, Ravi, referring to RaOne, says, “It is simpler than explaining the villain of a video game wreak havoc in real life.”

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 3:33:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/ravi-subramanian-on-his-bestseller-god-is-a-gamer/article6707963.ece

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