After “Seed” comes the story “Rat”, the second story in the book.
“Hmm…Rats eat Seeds? This is turning into one farmer’s problem!” I thought.
One of the nine rasas is Heroism. Writing a story about heroism wasn’t difficult for a Batman fan like me. However, making it sound realistic and desi was the challenge. In reality villains are not crazy geek scientists with gizmos and blowing up things in and around the metros. They are even worse. While I thought hard about the antagonist came a phase of daily life where prices of food products shot up like mercury levels in hot summers. There! I found an inspiration even at difficult times.
Now, the hero!
Who in the world other than Bruce Wayne would throw himself out as a vigilante? In India to be precise. I always thought the Monkey-Man incident in areas surrounding Delhi was a wannabe masked vigilante’s plan gone wrong. Just imagine, a freak dressed up as a bat jumped around the buildings in Gotham city and he was called Bat-Man. Clearly somebody was inspired by the idea and tried something during the late 90s and it clearly went wrong.
I hate copying, so I got inspired (a very thin line separates Copy and Inspiration) yet the story of a vigilante should be different. The vigilante in my story is not someone who is motivated to fight against the villains just because he had suffered personally or because he is a noble man.
“How about a person who becomes a vigilante accidentally?!!” I wondered.
“PERFECT!!!” I screamed.
“Now, the difficult part, what do you mean by accidentally?”
There are times where you become something which was never your instinct, but you become that only because somebody told you so…
Imagine, somebody tells me “Rajiv, you are such a honest man!” I would tell myself “I didn’t know that! Maybe.”
If ten more people say the same thing to me then I tell to myself “What’s wrong with me… I must be honest then.” Many would disagree with me and many more would agree with me. Also, come on it makes a story unique!
Any inspirations, spoofs etc?
Hmm, inspiration? Maybe slightly influenced by Bruce Wayne, for he is not a super human but does a neat job in cleaning up the city, pretty believable (at least in Nolan’s version so far).
I wanted to play around with the perception that rich kids with a car and that too drunk is a clear recipe for a road rage in the waiting. So intentionally had the rich kids Tarun and Sanjay and had them drunk, with Tarun driving the high end German sedan. So at this time, diverting the readers mind to think that they are actually headed towards committing a freak road accident. Also the tag line for this story says “A person becomes a masked vigilante accidentally” so the reader must be vouching for an accident to occur. However we now know what exactly happens.
The names Jay and Sanjay were intentionally kept to remind of the name Dhananjay. You see, reader’s mind is always calculating or speculating its own version of the near future of the story. So, as a decoy I wanted the readers to feel that either Jay or Sanjay is Dhananjay’s son! Sorry for that
I remember one thing now, yes I was greatly inspired by the first chapter of the movie “Inglorius Basterds”. A lengthy scene where the character Hans Landa (Nazi Officer) gets into a tense yet calm talk with Pierre (housing Jews). So, I wanted to start of the story slowly with a conversation between the antagonist and the protagonist. However, I agree with you that the opening of “Rat” is nowhere close to the first chapter of “Inglorius Basterds”. As I said earlier I was just inspired!
==== TO BE CONTINUED!
The title refers both to the fact that the seed of bad thought being sowed in Rajan’s mind and the fact that this “Seed” becomes a base for the coming stories in one way or another.
The story was initially written as my entry to a small competition at a writing workshop which altered my writing plans. Then, I didn’t even think of writing a book. The story in its original form was crude and with lots of readability issue. Though the original story didn’t receive good reviews, there was something about this story which I couldn’t part with. The concept of the story kept haunting me and suddenly one day an idea struck me “What about writing a collection of stories…”.
The mutation of thoughts didn’t stop there, infact it had just begun. “Why would anyone read a collection of short stories? How do I make it interesting?” I asked myself a question.
“What if they are interlinked?” I asked again.
“Need more than that!” I demanded.
“Ok, follow some theme…” came the answer.
“How many stories can I write?” I challenged my will.
“Maybe 9 to 10” I wondered.
“9 seem to be an interesting number….Navarasas” rang a bell.
“What about Dashaavathar?” rang another.
“People would think am writing a religious book and moreover it’s the name of a Kamal Hasan’s movie…” I tried to justify.
“What makes you think “Navarasa” doesn’t sound retro or contemporary?” I ridiculed.
“Ok, “Navarasa by lotus” it shall be.” I fought back.
“Is that my pen name?” I asked at first.
“No! It’s the title!!”
“Not bad, so what next?”
“Plot 9 story lines for each of the rasas…”
“How can I?”