DNA's Daniel Pinto talks to Ashwin Sanghi, the writer of The Rozabal Line, a thriller that is based on the conspiracy theory that Jesus Christ came to India. Sanghi talks about his recent novel Chanakya's Chant among other things.
I was born in a Marwari business family. Circumstances meant that my life was mapped out for me before I was born. It was expected that I would start working for the family business at an early age (I started at 16); it was expected that I would complete an MBA (I did, from Yale, in 1993). At times, this predictability can be a source of security, but it can also mean a life of boredom. I was always a creative person but I had been thrust into the mould of a baniya. The first reaction was to be creative at work. Unfortunately, business is one of those things where money is involved and there are limits to the creativity that one can exhibit when it comes to hard-earned family assets.
I soon realised that I would need to compartmentalise my life. Business was the means to feed my family, but I also needed to have a parallel life that would feed my soul! Writing is my salvation, my means to place myself in an imaginary world and conjure up fantastic stories... it is my path to escape boredom. Some journalists ask me "Why not write books on management or business?" and I find that so very funny. The very reason for writing is to escape from what I do in my ordinary less-exciting avatar, why in heaven's name would I want to write about it?
What is like to have a best-seller (2007's The Rozabal Line) under your belt?
The Rozabal Line gave me much more satisfaction than Chanakya's Chant even though the latter has been a much bigger success. The Rozabal Line was a chance for me to prove to myself that I had what it took to write a hundred thousand words of a novel. It was also my chance to struggle to find a niche in the publishing world and to do it without the usual advantages that I enjoy as a businessman. The fact that The Rozabal Line remained a bestseller for several months after its release by Tata-Westland was a personal vindication of sorts.
Full interview here DNA