One for inspiration?

FOR THE YOUTH Ashish Jaiswal and Aishwarya Dhanush at the book release

FOR THE YOUTH Ashish Jaiswal and Aishwarya Dhanush at the book release   | Photo Credit: Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

Ashish Jaiswal’s first novel

Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is so darn popular in India, that it was only a matter of time before someone tried their hand at writing a desi version of it. You know the drill — mysticism with a message. Enter Ashish Jaiswal, a 33-year-old PhD student at the University of Oxford, who weighs in with his first novel ‘True Dummy: A Fable of Existence’.

Exploring questions

Recently launched at Chennai’s Crossword bookstore by Aishwarya Dhanush, it aims to be an inspirational book for the youth. It tells the story of two boys who dream of life beyond their small village, and explore philosophical questions of ambition and the meaning of life through the metaphor of ‘true pearls’ and ‘dummy pearls’ (as in, the world is a bag of pearls and true pearls are rare, etc. etc.).

“There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you should have your feet firmly on the ground,” he said.

“You can be a great actor or singer, but should also be a great mother or father; a great citizen.”

The author certainly believes in aiming big — born in Bhopal, he established a real estate portfolio company at the age of 17, and was one of three co-founders of the first company that got incubated at IIM Bangalore.

And now, he has big plans for this book. “I seriously feel there’s a need for inspirational writing for the Indian youth, but instead we show them trivial things,” he said. “People say only flashy, sizzling stuff sells; I say, I’m willing to take that challenge. Let’s see.”

The irony

One can’t help feeling that having placed himself in opposition to the flashy and sizzling, it is just a little ironic that a film and fashion personality were chosen to star at the very brief launch. Still, the intentions behind the book are clearly praiseworthy; whether he succeeds in being the Indian Coelho remains to be seen.


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