|Ravinder Singh at the launch of Can Love Happen Twice? at Starmark, South City Mall, on Friday. Picture by Rashbehari Das
Phuchka, sandesh, jhalmuri… its a great pleasure to be back in the city, said Ravinder Singh to the 200-odd fans who had gathered at Starmark, South City Mall, on Friday. In Calcutta to launch his second book Can Love Happen Twice? (Penguin; Rs 125), the author was greeted by cries of I loved your story, Ravinder and I love you, Ravinder!
Carrying forward the story of the male protagonist Ravin from his 2009 bestseller debut I Too Had a Love Story, Ravinder has switched from penning his real-life love story to writing a story that is part-fiction, part-truth.
Post-book launch, the fan-author interaction saw a volley of questions being directed at Ravinder. Which movie stars would you cast in the role of Ravin and Khushi in your first book? asked one. Caught up in the mood, Ravinder even complied to their wishes and sang a song written in his second book.
A bestselling author for three years, Ravinder has been quite accessible to his fans through social networking sites. So much so that, Even the title Can Love Happen Twice? was first revealed on Facebook, he added.
t2 caught up with him for a chat...
Your first book I Too Had a Love Story was based on your life. How far can we say that for your second book?
In the preface of the second book, I have mentioned that it may be my story, may not be my story. Its actually a blend of various true stories written to me by my readers, and at the same time not all is fact. I unfortunately cant reveal whats what (smiles), its up to the readers to understand the difference.
Why do you think your first book was a bestseller?
Nowadays every other book is a bestseller. However, the reason why I feel I made it to the top 10 was because of the emotional connect with people. I have served naked truth in my first book... the way things happened with me. It captures the very first feeling of falling in love, the hesitation, excitement, anxiety and then the loss.
When and how did the idea of writing a second book take place?
The whole idea of writing the second book stemmed from the fact that it was meant for the current generation. After my first book, my inbox used to be flooded with emails from readers and fans about their true yet sad love stories. In my case, it was natures irony that my fiancee died, and death cannot be undone. But in these accounts, people themselves had killed their love stories through break-up or divorce.
What is the message of your second book then?
The message that gets relayed is, How far can you go to save your love? We have this tendency to fall in love and then break up. Then emerges the ex-factor, which calls for the question — can love happen twice?
The three characters mentioned as Ravins best friends in the book — what role do they have in your life?
Happy, Manpreet and Amardeep are absolutely real-life characters and even go by those names in reality. We share a great bond, so much so that they were the only ones who gave me the liberty to paint their characters any which way I wanted. Readers have even gone ahead and sent them friend requests on Facebook!
You left readers in tears with Ravins story last time — what can we expect this time round?
It will definitely arouse similar emotions but it is the last line in the book that defines the story and is bound to leave you smiling.
What about Simar — Ravins love interest in your second book? Is she real or fiction?
I wont reveal if Simar exists in my real life, but she is true to every other real-life love story we see today. There are plenty of Simars in this world; she is extremely demanding in a relationship. And it need not necessarily be a girl.
What is your perception of relationships today?
People tend to get carried away. They just take the plunge in a relationship because they have to, and then they say love is blind! My take is, if you actually took the plunge with your eyes closed, then do not open them later in the journey. Be aware of the steps you take and keep those eyes open.
Can we expect a Ravin trilogy?
There definitely is going to be a third book, probably with Ravin, but not a romantic story. I want to serve something fresh this time round. I will soon be picking up my pen after I am done with my MBA.
From software engineer to being a best-selling author… whats changed?
I remember I used to struggle on the streets of Darya Ganj hunting for a publisher, as they would slam their doors on my face. They would say things like you are an engineer, not a writer… look at your grammatical errors. When I look back at those crazy days of skipping my lunches to get my story to the world, it was one of the most difficult yet best phases as I learnt a lot.
If I had to divide my life into two parts, it has to be before and after I Too.... The entire world has changed for me. I never thought of writing a novel, I am an author by chance. The entire tragedy happened in such a way that I had to write it down on a piece of paper, now tucked away in bookshelves throughout the country. I have definitely become more mature and responsible, as I now have to meet many expectations. Now people know me, its not like my pre-I Too... days when I could post just about anything on Facebook. In fact, on todays morning flight, the guy next to me exclaimed, Oh! You are Ravin. This recognition... these tiny little things matter.
You are currently studying at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. How do you juggle writing and studying?
You can say, where there is a will, there is a way. I always wanted to get into an international standard B-school, like the Ivy leagues, and then I cracked ISB. Not to learn finance or anything, but to cherry-pick the things I like the most — marketing, promoting, use of social networking — things that I already have an essence of as an author. At ISB, there have been times when I have completed my assignments at midnight and then submitted pages to Penguin by 4am!
Born in Calcutta and brought up in (then) Orissa, you have a strong east connect…
I can read and write in Oriya, I can even understand Bengali. I think the east has made me old-school and more grounded, and though I have adapted to the cosmopolitan life of the metros, it is here that I find solace.... In Calcutta, the Howrah Bridge has fascinated me since childhood, and as a result I prefer to take the train to the city. Then, the trams... I love it. As a kid this was also the only city with a Metro and of course the river launches at Babughat. All the old monuments and houses... these things are the USP of Calcutta. Only sad thing is, I would have loved to see the city flourish like the rest of the metros across the country.