“Sweeten thy soul,” they say!
“Devil in Pinstripes is semi-autobiographical,” said award-winning author Ravi Subramanian aka The John Grisham of Banking, but there was nothing devilish or even pinstriped about him on that rainy Saturday afternoon in the delightful, first-ever OPEN BAR( Blogger-Author Rendezvous) at Chocolateria San Churro in Bandra.
What’s your good name?
This event was an outcome of the unceasing persistence of the Signora of Style, Vinita Bahl aka BlogwatiG aka The Indiblogeshwari Head Honcho. Now, one of the characters in The Bankster is Vikram Bahl so it was amidst hoots of laughter that Ravi negated the idea that Vinita was the inspiration behind that name. In fact, Vikram Bahl was named after his boss. This set all the enthu bloggers present there thinking after whom they would name their characters.
Talking of names, Ravi has a penchant for using brand names in his books, most obvious ones being those of well-known banks (so that readers know that the bank in the story is not any of those banks, he clarified) and that of Café Coffee Day® (the one in Vienna, in a stellar cameo). Can this create any problems with the brand? Apparently, it hasn’t so far, and in fact, it could be good publicity for them. Talking of Vienna, yes, Ravi has been to that CCD outlet, but what if you want to write about a place that you haven’t been to, someone asked (I think it was me). The chorus reply of the other bloggers was deafening, “Google it”.
What do the numbers say?
Between bites of nachos, one re-learnt the basics of writing a novel. Yes, you gotta write a lot and write it regularly. Yes, you also have to revise and polish your manuscript even if you have to do it more than twenty times before you submit it to a publisher. And since you cannot take computation out of a banker, here are the stats for writing a 75K-word novel. Thousand words a day, 4K on Saturdays and Sundays each, you can easily finish a book in three and a half to four months. With five best-sellers under his belt (If God was a Banker being the first), this is advice that apparently works.
Nobody said it is easy. So why do it? Ravi is a successful banker. So why take up writing? He wanted to do something with which he would be remembered. Yes, writing has given him recognition and fame. But more than that, it has sobered him, he said. There was a thoughtful pause then, as we bloggers took a moment to go within and seek our reasons for writing.
Have you bloggered (yup, new word and quite an important one) your book?
You can’t put bloggers down, especially those who are also aspiring authors. And Ravi believes in the power of bloggers to help promote a book. He does attribute the success of his latest, The Bankster, to bloggers reviewing and writing about and promoting it. And err…umm… social media presence is important, too. Whether you are traditionally published or self-pubbed.
Better to have enjoyed and made a mess than to never have enjoyed at all
This was the message printed on the tissues at that fantastic place, Chocolateria San Churro. So, we enjoyed and we didn’t even make a mess (I think *eyes screwed up in thought*). Delectable sandwiches and rolls, desserts and shakes, superlicious (not supercilious, ha ha ha) coffee. A veritable feast. Networking with some awesome fellow-bloggers. Fascinating. And if this meet was about ‘The Bankster’ then could numbers and currency be far behind? An exciting game that Vinita had arranged was for all to judge the weight of a box containing a cake. The winner was the one who said the weight was 250gms (other answers included 275gms (most popular), 300 gms and even 265 gms)!! As Vinita enlightened us, the cake vendor actually told her to take the one weighing 250gms as no one would guess it. Hmmm! Group pics later it was time for thank-you’s even as Vinita thanked Ravi Subramanian for being such a generous host and we thanked Vinita for those cute pouches of gold and silver sweet coins.
When insightful words, fabulous food and scintillating company have sweetened your soul, the experience can only be called ‘priceless’.
Thank You, The Indiblogeshwaris and Thank You, Ravi Subramanian.
(A special thank you to BlogwatiG for the pics).