Ravinder Singh on stepping out of his comfort zone

From landing up in a country without valid visa to getting stuck with drug peddlers, the faux-bachelors do it all

  • Published 21.06.19, 7:02 PM
  • Updated 21.06.19, 7:02 PM
  • 5 mins read
  •  
Ravinder Singh at the launch of his new book at Starmark, South City Mall, Calcutta Picture: Biswajit Kundu

Ravinder Singh’s latest book — The Belated Bachelor Party — has just dropped and his fans are going berserk, for that is the kind of adulation that the author commands over his fans. Singh was in town to launch the book at Starmark, South City Mall, on June 16, which witnessed some of the fan frenzy.

The Belated Bachelor Party is a story of a series of (mis)adventures that occur after four friends — Happy, MP, Raamji and Ravin — decide to go on a Europe trip to recompense for the four missed opportunities of revelling in each other’s bachelor parties. From landing up in a country without valid visa to getting stuck with drug peddlers, the faux-bachelors do it all. Will the strong bond between the four friends survive this crisis ? How will they escape the situation? How will the four friends come back safely to their own country? Deviating from tales of love, loss and romance, which has been his forte, the best-selling fiction writer has now penned a story of a reunion celebrating friendship, with a dash of humour.

The fun-filled interactive session with fans was followed by book signing, after which Singh sat down for a chat with The Telegraph...

Tell us about your new book...

The book celebrates friendship. People who have read my first two novels — I Too Had a Love Story and Can Love Happen Twice — know that those two books start with these four friends. The story in I too Had a Love Story starts from Calcutta itself. After 10 years of my first book, I am bringing these four friends back to life and letting my readers know how they are still holding onto their bond of friendship. It is a crazy story based on a real-life incident of four married men wanting to go on a belated bachelor party. They coined a phrase called ‘belated bachelor party’ because they wanted to relive their single life one more time. They had the audacity to ask their respective wives and then go all the way for an opportunity that they had missed before they got married. However, they all turned out to be misadventures. This book is a celebration of all those misadventures.

What are your expectations from this book?

I expect my readers to love it. In fact, when I see the reviews that are coming on my Instagram page, Flipkart or on Goodreads.com, I see they are content. So, I am liking the fact that my readers are liking it. My only expectation is, and I told this to my readers as well, that for all the times that I made you cry with most of my novels, I now want to make you laugh and they are actually laughing from the first word till the last one.

What about reviews from the critics?

I am yet to get to them. Thankfully, in my case, very rarely does anyone say that they didn’t enjoy reading the book. But I believe there is always that five to 10 per cent people who may not like the book. That percentage is quite low this time with this book and I am really happy about that. But I also do respect all the critics who have something to say and express their opinion on disliking any of my books. As long as they maintain the vocabulary and the language in which they are giving their review, I am fine with it.

You said that you never imagined that the misadventures of your trip could shape up into a book and it was your publisher who convinced you to write this book. At what point were you convinced?

Two years back, I started thinking that I have written about a lot of romance and that maybe it was time to challenge myself, step out of the comfort zone and write something new and interesting, which could be a page-turner. A book where every chapter would leave my readers on a cliffhanger and also make them laugh. So, I wanted to do the opposite of what I had done so far. I thought, I have written romance only, so now let me write a book without a girl in it. There’s no possibility of romance here. If I have made my readers cry, let me make them laugh. Till now, I have never used cuss word in my books, but this being a story of four engineering friends, the way they talk, it was very necessary to use cuss words in the script. So, I went ahead and did that. These are the changes that I took up as challenges to write this story.

You have written books on love, a book on marriage and this is a book on friendship. Do you have a comfort zone?

My comfort zone is being able to convey my thought process to my readers. I think, comfort zone arrives once you have written four-five chapters and you understand this is making sense to you.

I would love to experiment with new genres and step out of the comfort zone. So, now friendship is my comfort zone. Till the time I had not written it, I thought it to be my area of discomfort. Outside the world of romance everything was a challenge for me. Now, I feel I have expanded my area, so tomorrow I might write something else. There’s something I would like to experiment with, which is fantasy-fiction. Let’s say science fiction and romance merged with time travel. I find it difficult to imagine though. I have to bring something which has not been written or done in movies. I keep thinking about it, but I haven’t hit the right chord yet. That’s something I find challenging and because I find it challenging, I want to do it.

Do you want to see one of your books being made into a film?

All of them, if at all.

Which books are you reading now?

A Long Way Home by Mitali Meelan. I run a publishing venture called Black Ink, where I publish debut authors. Mitali’s first book was published by me. She has come out with her second novel, which I had not read. I am only helping debut authors.

Which role do you enjoy more — a publisher or a writer?

Certainly the writer.

What excites you about Calcutta the most — your fans, nostalgia or the sweets?

All three (laughs).

Anything that you would like to tell your fans in Calcutta?

Start looking at books as the perfect gift option. Be it a friend’s birthday, anniversary or a Diwali gift. Start looking at signed copies as an exclusive gift, which you can purchase and gift your friend. Once you get hold of a signed copy, the price tag becomes insignificant. India needs to read more. If you are a reader, start transforming the non-readers into readers. Tell them what exactly you enjoy about reading books. Books should not die down, authors and bookstores should continue to flourish and by this measure perhaps we would be able to convert more non-readers into readers and which other place than Calcutta to kick-start it from, where so many people read. If 10 readers are able to transform one non-reader into a reader, then we could make a great country together simply by reading books.