The Talented Author and a Dynamic Entrepreneur
Meet Vineet Bajpai, the author of the bestsellers Harappa-Curse of the blood river and Pralay- The great deluge. A man so humble is an inspiration for millions. There is so much to learn from this talented author and a successful entrepreneur who quit his job at an early age of 23 to start his journey as an entrepreneur. Vineet Bajpai gets candid with BananiVista where he shares his love being an entrepreneur and a best-selling author.
Here are the edited excerpts :
B.V: What inspired you to choose to write historical fiction after a success from business writing?
Vineet: As I see it, I wrote business books over my entrepreneurial and corporate journey. I truly felt that I should share my learnings and insights with my readers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and the corporate community around the world. And I am glad I did. My business books have been deeply loved. But just as I wrote management books to share my experience in the industry and help my readers build better companies and careers, I also felt a strong urge to express the creative storyteller in me. I wanted to write about India’s ancient mysteries, our rich heritage, our way of life, our profound myths, epics and more.
Therefore, Harappa had to be my first fiction project.
But the writing of a business, management or inspirational book is a completely different ballgame than writing a fiction novel. Being a management ‘guru’ so to speak, is a very different role from that of being a storyteller. And it was during the writing of Harappa that I discovered the intensity with which the storyteller in me was waiting to emerge.
Secondly, it was only when I spent nights and days in penning down the manuscript of Harappa that I understood the emotional connection needed between a fiction writer and his work. We can’t say that writing a business or management book takes no emotional energy, of course, it does. But after having written three of them and then writing Harappa, I can assure you that a storyteller has nearly an umbilical cord connected with his work. I know this might sound silly, but every time I read some of the more intense parts of Harappa, especially the last four or five chapters, my eyes well up. I could not believe that I was crying every time I was reading what I had myself created and written! But believe me, that is the intensity of a fiction writer’s relationship with his work. And hopefully, that is the intensity of Harappa as a book. I am sure you will find the book very gripping and very forceful.
B.V: Harappa is an intense novel, did something or event influence you to write it?
Vineet: Not one particular event. For the last several years I was observing the historical and mythological fiction genre space. The work that was being done was nice, but it was basically a reinterpretation of existing and iconic characters of our history or epics. So it was about Rama or Shiva or Ashoka or Chanakya or Draupadi. This is where I felt that we needed historical/mythological fiction that created new and intense characters. So you will see that while both Harappa and Pralay have a deep historical and mythological backdrop, the characters like Vidyut, Dwarka Shastri, Vivasvan Pujari, Naina, Manu & Tara are absolutely novel. And readers are loving them. So the intensity draws itself from the desire to create say a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings in the Indian context.
B.V: How and when did you plan Pralay?
Vineet: I planned Pralay while I was writing Harappa. Since Pralay is the sequel, I had to keep elements of that in mind while writing the first book. Which is perhaps why I was able to complete Pralay within six months of intensive writing.
B.V: Did you face any challenges while writing Harappa?
Vineet: The research was long and arduous. I spent several months deep-diving into the Internet, Wikipedia, books, and papers about the life and society of Harappa and its neighboring settlements like Mohenjo-Daro and Rakhigarhi. But it was also most gratifying. It took me about two years to complete Harappa. Having said that, I have made it a point to add a disclaimer at the beginning of the novel where I have made no claim to the correctness or veracity of historical facts, events etc. To put it simply, I am a storyteller, not a historian.
B.V: Though all the characters are great in their own way which one is your favourite and why?
Vineet: It will have to be none other than Vidyut himself. For me, he is not a character anymore. He is a living person, half-human half-God, a magnificent “devta” walking amidst men. And you should see the love for Vidyut that my readers have been sharing with me. What is most heart-warming is to see the bubbly feedback I receive about him from my female readers. One of them wrote to me – ‘You’ve raised the bar so high with Vidyut, that no man will ever be good enough for me now!’ So it is amazing to get such gushing messages. It makes all the effort worthwhile.
B.V: What’s closest to you, your passion for writing or being an entrepreneur?
Vineet: Since you have asked I must say that my roles as a corporate CEO combined with being a start-up entrepreneur as well as a writer are extensions of the various facets of my personality. I love doing all of these equally and it is very hard to say what between these I like doing more. I think I would feel empty if any of these high-passion careers are missing from my life. In that sense, I am truly blessed.
B.V: A message from Vineet Bajpai to young authors and entrepreneurs!!
Vineet: The Same message to both – remember that building a loyal readership or setting-up a successful company is both long-drawn high-effort processes. It takes years to become known and admired author. It takes years to build a sustainable and profitable company. So keep writing, keep working and be ready to give it everything you have. Elon Musk had three rocket failures before he became a billionaire with the fourth. JK Rowling was rejected by a series of publishers before she created history with Harry Potter. Rome was not built in a day.
We wish that your journey as an author and an entrepreneur continues to be magnificent!!
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