Wednesday March 28, 2018   |   Sorabh Pant

My third novel has a bit of sci-fi but, my tiny brain doesn't allow the science to be truly 'scientific'’ Sorabh Pant

Bookaholicanonymous is absolutely kicked to have Sorabh Pant on-board. Did you know he has a serious side to him as well?…today we get to know him more as a writer, author of 3 books, than as a comedian.

About Sorabh Pant: Who doesn’t know Sorabh, the popular stand-up comedian and a much liked writer? As a comedian he has hosted about 1500 stand-up comedy shows across eighteen countries (but he claims to have done them only for Frequent Flyer Miles). He’s the ex-founder of East India Comedy, some of his most popular comedy videos are ‘Rant of the Pant’, ‘EIC: Outrage’, etc. Based in Mumbai, India, he has been rated amongst India's top 10 stand-up comedians by ‘Times of India’. In a poll by IBN Live in March 2012, he was listed No. 1 in the 30 most interesting Twitter users in India. Besides doing all of this he has taken out time to pen 3 novels. Nobody is more thrilled to have him on Bookaholicanonymous than us. Read on

The interview:

How do you manage to take out time for writing? You do so many shows and need time for prep.

I used to discipline myself and write 4 hours a day, irrespective of my schedule. For my first novel, ‘The Wednesday Soul’, I used to wake up at 5am. Write for 2 hours. Go to work etc. etc.

Nowadays with kids, it's gotten a lot harder - so, when I have a moment and am free I immediately take time to write. I don't think I'll be writing a novel for at least a year more but will be involved in lots of other projects.

Under what genre would you like to categorise your books, because your books have a mix of mythology, satire, sci-fi and reality? 

Fantasy, I think. There's a bit of sci-fi but, my tiny brain doesn't allow the science to be truly 'scientific'. 

Why have you named your protagonist 'Pawan'? What kind of superpower does he posses?

Pawan is the name given to 1 superhuman from a species of ape-like creatures that are assigned to protect India. The current Pawan does not want to protect India. He doesn't believe in war.

He much prefers drinking by himself, reading books and doing Chartered Accountancy - which is a weird combination.

Talking about the book covers...its different? Why is there a smirk on the monkey's face? What does it represent?

He's not a monkey. He's a humanoid. I got the cover designed myself by this terrific man called Ashish Pedlekar - who is as eccentric as Pawan himself :).

Pawan is six foot five. He's invincible, he's strong. He has a smirk on his face as if he's looking out at humanity and defying them to mess with him. He's waiting for an excuse to unleash himself.

What message were you trying to give your readers through the book? Do you think your readers understood?

People are smart enough. So far I've got tons and tons of great feedback. Most people didn't expect me to write such a book. They've understood the message which is my standard message: don't be an idiot, don't be violent, insult everyone and if anyone messes with you: mess them up. I think Pawan is a fitter, stronger version of me. Way, way stronger.

There's an entire scene where he's talking about how he doesn't understand the concept of countries. And explains his POV in the most ridiculous way possible. It's absurd and that's the intention. 

How have you used your comic sense in the book? In fact how have you used it in your other books as well?

To be honest: the first draft was very serious and very dark. I had to tone it down because there was a lot of gratuitous violence. And also I don't like reading anything that doesn't have a sense of humor - even if it's dry. So, in consequent drafts I battled with making it fun or funny without sacrificing the narrative. And I think I've succeeded. The plot flows from Pawan's POV: him getting attacked by goons, fired from his job, living in a tree to fighting a dragon. All of it is so absurd - and I had to measure whether to make this portion absurd, laugh out loud or just dark. 

Tell us a little about your novel 'Under Delhi'. What is it that you were trying to tell us?

Under Delhi’ was about a girl called Tanya Bisht who takes revenge on rapists who have been falsely acquitted. I wrote the first draft way back in 2008. In fact that very concept was the back-story for my first novel, ‘The Wednesday Soul’. 

The message of ‘Under Delhi’ was just me getting catharsis from crimes against women in India. In that novel finding the funny parts was much harder but, I enjoyed the challenge. Eventually, it was funny as well and most of the humour involved finding the right target. I may have got some of my messaging off target but, I was very proud of it. 

In fact the reason I decided to write ‘Pawan’ was because every few days I'd get an email or DM from someone saying they loved ‘Under Delhi’.

What about 'The Wednesday Soul' your first novel?

It's the favourite thing I've ever written. My dad - who reads a lot - also agrees. It's just so weird. It's a novel about what happens after you die. So, it's a look at the afterlife - if the afterlife was programmed by an insane person. I actually read up on a lot of beliefs that humans have about the afterlife.

Eventually, I came upon a premise that when you die - your soul goes to the sun. And the world of the afterlife runs concurrently with our normal lives. It was a joyride of completely insanity and many people used that cliché premise on me of, “Bro, what were you smoking when you wrote this?”

I wish that was the explanation. What I was smoking was the ghost of Douglas Adams - obviously not even 1/100th as good as him. But, it's in a similar oeuvre.

Your earlier two novels had girls/women as protagonists and now your third novel has a male protagonist? Was it a deliberate? Your thoughts.

I've always been surrounded by strong women so it seemed natural to have the first two novels to have a female protagonist. In ‘Under Delhi’ - the protagonist deliberately had to be a woman because I needed to understand what a woman thinks and why she does what she does. I spoke to tons of women about their experiences after having gone through sexual assault and it was depressing. But, I needed to find some answers.

But, it's not always about gender. I like to mix up my characters with strong women and men along with stupid women and men. Even in ‘Pawan’ - the second protagonist is Kelly Matthew - who has 4 arms and 2 legs because of a birth defect and she uses it to her advantage despite struggling with her own issues. 

Bookaholicanonymous wishes Sorabh many more successes! Carry on your good work Sorabh, we all know making people smile and laugh is the most difficult task. Do keep writing and entertaining us!

If you want to buy the book ‘Pawan-The Flying Accountant’ please order here:

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