In Conversation with Rahul Saini

Rahul Saini is an Indian author of contemporary fiction. His books have strong comic tones and present up-beat stories that portray the fun loving, free spirited and out going character of today’s Indian youth. His first book ‘Those Small Lil’ Things in Life and Love’, which was essentially a boy’s tale about growing up and his relationship with girls through the years, was published in 2008 and made it to several bestsellers’ list across the nation. He believes that today’s youth likes fast paced stories which are either larger than life or which they can relate to. He avoids using themes like sex and sleaze to please the masses.

Q. Where do you get your ideas from? Are they often inspired from true stories?
A friend of mine once told me that the one who has a receptive mind draws inspiration from everything around him; even lifeless rocks and stones, even a simple breeze. I have come to believe that she was right. I get my inspirations from everything around me, all the people around me, almost everything I see and observe. I perceive and let my imagination run loose.

Q. Are you working on something else right now?
Of course, I am working on a college dramedy (comedy-drama). I hope to finish it soon.

Q. How do you deal with your critics, if any?
I (firmly) believe that if one wants to improve one’s work, one must learn to listen to his critics and understand the flaws in his work. It’s something that I learned at the design school I attended – how to take criticism positively.

Q. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Ten years from now I see myself in my cozy study with all of the ten books written by me neatly stacked in front of me, along with all the huge collection of books that I had gathered over the years, as I sit next to the huge window that has a magnificent view of the snow covered peaks of the Dhauladhar range, working on a story on my laptop, with my playful Labrador lazing next to my chair and my wife coming and reminding me that we had planned to have dinner at her
favorite restaurant that night.

Q. Did you ever write something before Those Small Lil Things? Tell us about it.
Well, I did write quite a few things before Those Small Lil Things but nothing really worth mentioning. I remember that I used to send my entries for the college magazine but none ever got selected – they would always find them weird or unusual? or too unconventional. I also started to write a story about my classmates when I was in first
year. It was a si-fi dramedy about all of us set in the future. But I never finished it.

Q. How did you choose your genre? Was it something you always wanted to write about, or did it happen by chance?
I believe that an author can’t choose his genre. It’s something that is inherent in him – it’s like a body part; an organ. In fact, it’s more like the genre choosing the author, rather than the other way round.
Something as profound as creativity can’t be chosen like that; it’s the choice of The Creativity weather to choose us or not.

Q. Which has been your craziest experience regarding your book?
There was one incident that I don’t think I am gonna forget anytime soon. It’s from the early days when my first book was just released. Back then I had not really grasped the idea that other people can also buy my book and actually possess it. I was travelling by train and one of my co-passengers took out my book from his bag and started reading it. Seeing that I almost screamed “Hey, it’s my book!? and was about to snatch it from his hands, when I realized the possibility. After that I told him that I was the author of the book he was reading and neither he nor anyone else travelling in the compartment believed me.

Q. If there was one person you could claim had influenced your life the most, who would it be?
I don’t know if any person influenced me. If that has happened, it has to be at a sub-conscious level so I can’t be held responsible for not knowing it. But I am someone who is majorly influenced by the movies I have seen through the years. So that is where the answer to your question lies I guess.

Q. Did you read a lot of books when you were young?
I did read quite a bit when I was young. From what I can remember, I think I started with the Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators series (I still won’t mind reading one if I get to get my hands on it). And later I believe there were a lot of Robin Cook and Eric Segal novels and other science fiction and fantasy novels.

Q. When it comes to reading for pleasure, which is the book you would never hesitate in picking up?
It would depend on my mood actually. But one author that I can sit down to read anytime to read is (definitely) Neil Gaiman.

Q. Any message to struggling writers?
Get down and start writing. And never imitate or try to write something that does not come from your heart.

Q. Your new book The Orange Hangover, tell us something about it.
I can’t reveal much. All I am going to tell you is that it is a comedy about a relationship that goes wrong, a relationship that won’t take off. It’s a comedy about a struggle to stick to one’s values and
to do good for others and about a person’s stupidity that tangles him in a case of serious crime.

Thank you so much for your time. We wish you all the best with all your future endeavors.

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