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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Interview with Upneet Grover by Khurshid Alam

An Interview with Upneet Grover 
by Khurshid Alam

CLRI 1: What is the basic concept of your book Cricket Till I Die? When did this idea come to your mind?
Answer: For this one I’ll just paste the blurb:
Vineet was an average engineer at an IT firm. His office sucked the life out of him making him hate every moment he spent there. Cricket was his passion, a passion which he never had the guts to pursue until fate bestowed upon him an opportunity which would change his life forever. Shrugging off a sparkling career as a management consultant that lay ahead, this rubber ball stroking bloke embarks upon the most mercurial excursion to fulfill his dream of donning the navy blue jersey that reads INDIA. The expedition which is riddled with the most crushing lows and mind numbing highs proves to be the ultimate test of his fortitude and makes him even more resolute. How much more can he sacrifice to get there? And most importantly, will he get there?”

About the idea for the book, it just started as a scribble during my summer internship until I realized I’m 25000 words into it, then I started thinking about the book. The book is mostly because of my intense passion for cricket and writing, both. So my first book would be on cricket was a given.

CLRI 2: Why you make your protagonist take a different profession than his dream and then take his dream later?
Ans: It was to give the book a realistic tinge. So many of us just give up our dreams because they are way too impractical. The book touches upon this issue and is hence the journey from the mundane practicality to the exciting and utopian impracticality that we just dream of.

CLRI 3: What according to you is the most exciting scene or situation in the novel Cricket Till I Die?
Ans
: I’ll quote the readers here. All of them claim the cricket sequences are both exciting and exquisitely written.

CLRI 4: According to you, what role can literature play in one’s life?
Ans: I believe both literature and cinema or rather any form of art plays a very significant role in the cultural development of the society. To put it rather crudely, without art we’re just Neanderthals.

CLRI 5: What perception do you have about sports in general and cricket in particular?
Ans: I love cricket, make no mistake about it, but I do agree with the school of thought that it just takes up too much limelight to give other sports even breathing space, let alone letting them blossom. I would love to see India excel in other sports which it thankfully did as we saw in the last commonwealth games.

CLRI 6: By which writers are you inspired? I mean, whose influence we can see in your writing?
Ans: I am still a student of literature and a very young one at that. I love reading thrillers, but what really gives me literary kicks were the words of Kafka, Nabokov and a book called the maximum city.

CLRI 7: Name at least top five fiction titles that you like. What are you reading currently?
Ans: They would be to kill a mockingbird, Lolita, The Metamorphosis, Godfather-1 and Train to Pakistan to name a few. I really loved Maximum City too and that is amongst my favourite reads of all time.

CLRI 8:  Do you think writers have good market prospects in India?
Ans: The publishing scene is abysmal as of now, with a bunch of not so educated distributors jumping into the scene and calling themselves publishers hence killing good works of a lot of new authors. Market prospects are good but we need a lot of good new publishers and literary agents in India for that.

CLRI 9: You are a professional, yet you wrote a fiction. How difficult or easy was it for you to work on a fiction?
Ans: When I wrote my first book I was a management student, and I did it during my internship. I put in a good 3-4 hours every day and it took me three odd months to get the first draft. But now since I am a full time working professional things look a bit difficult as I plan my second book. Just keeping my fingers crossed. I hope I find enough time to tend to this passion of mine.

CLRI 10: Do you think people read fiction?
Ans: Umm, yes and no. Thought the market for non-fiction is bigger but yes fiction also has a good thriving market, there is no denying that.

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