Today we welcome Mr. Sarthak Parashar, an avid reader, a nature enthusiast and the writer of the book, The children of Mama Asili. He has helped produce plays like “I killed Roy Maithili” for the American Embassy. Upon graduation he kept his writing stint alive via collaboration with Idea Films on short films like “Guns and Tea”. His childhood passion towards wildlife led him to pursue a new path towards penning his first novel. After two years of writing, editing and re-editing his childhood fascination with animals and concern for nature was released in his book, the Children of Mama Asili.
OneLastChapter : So your book has received some enthralling reviews from the honourable minister of Forest and Climate change, Dr. Harshvardhan. There were an array of topics to be chosen from, why was this particular topic the most captivating for you?
Mr. Sarthak : Since the time I can remember, I have always been drawn and extremely fascinated by wildlife. During our childhood days, we had cable TV’s, digital TV’s were not yet on sale, I had only 2 to 3 channels. Unlike other kids who had all the 3 being devoted to channels telecasting cartoons, I had one cartoon channel while the other was national geographic. I loved looking at nature, the beauty of the forests around, the animals living in it also captivated me. My family and I loved going on trips to national parks and various sanctuaries. These memories were very much embedded within me, and I really wished to learn more about it. These stuck with me, and eventually took the shape of a story with animals and nature being the centric topic of the book. It wasn’t a conscious choice, stories and plots keep falling and eventually take place of the story one has made.
OneLastChapter : We loved hearing that from you Sarthak! We completely agree to your point of view on how the topic of your book wasn’t a conscious choice. So Sarthak, as a writer who has written a book based on a dystopian future, do you feel that your book actually captures what the world is becoming now, or headed towards becoming?
Mr. Sarthak : I feel whichever author talks about a dystopian future, or anything in the sci-fi genre, we try to touch upon ongoing trends and build upon them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the world is heading on those paths, it rather indicates the current problems faced by the world which might be exaggerated. The book by George Orwell called 1984 is a must read and the best example to what I am trying to convey. It was written in the 1940s. It spoke about what a country with a lot of control by the government was going to be like. The government was to control every aspect of your life from what you wear to what to watch. A very popular TV show called Big Boss is based on the same concept. This was an envisioning by Mr. George Orwell in the 1940s about what the world could be like. It spoke about various trends and problems which are quoted even today. My point here is, we exaggerate on some real ethics. It doesn’t mean things will be as bad or as extreme as how things are said in the book, but things will be on that line.
OneLastChapter : This was a very informative Sarthak! On that note, you have an array of characters in your book, the main protagonist being Tanya, a 10 year old girl. What was the most difficult thing about writing characters from the future and where did you get the inspiration for this particular character arc? Mr. Sarthak : The inspiration for this character from the future I actually derived from my past. I have various fond memories of my childhood. I have taken elements from that and built the character arc for Tanya. I have tried to inculcate bits and pieces of the future into her. I have tried to keep the character similar to how I remember my childhood. However, the elements around her, that I have upgraded to some level to things like drones, holograms and VR. However she is still a child at heart, who plays cricket and gets angry at her mother!
OneLastChapter : We completely agree! Sir, what do you think is a “good story”, which can keep the readers wanting to read more and more?
Mr.Sarthak : I think the only key to a good book is a fair mixture of relatability or mundane and fascination! In every book, at any one point it must have something that the reader relates to. So from the reader’s perspective, there should be elements in the book where the reader can completely agree and say that he or she has experienced it or knows what it is. Author’s must place normal, relatable characters or people in very extraordinary settings. This creates the perfect plot!
OneLastChapter : As a reader, we completely agree with your words, a novel gets way more enthralling to read when one can relate to the characters at a personal level! Sir, what would you describe your writing process to be like?
Mr. Sarthak : For novel writing, the most crucial thing is to have a general plot clear in your mind - what you are writing about. It is impossible to have a 100% clear picture of the plot and the character arc, it is just a rough idea. Then I usually divide that idea into some chapters. And once I start writing, I just trust the process! The most important part is to start writing, and not keep procrastinating or overthinking it too much! As you write, you yourself realise where you can improve and what mistakes you have made. You get to know your characters better. Once we do that, we realise that the story we are writing is way different that what we envisioned to have written. It is a better and finer plot! And finally editing, re-editing is always the key! I believe a writer is not like an architect, who must have extreme precision with each line but rather is like a gardener. We throw the seeds, water them, trim the plant but let the plant take its own shape!
OneLastChapter : We completely agree with Sarthak! Sir, we know that you love to write while you travel, so what do you feel is next? Owing to the current pandemic we are sure travelling is not an option, so how do you plan to proceed with your next novel?
Mr. Sarthak : Currently I am working on my next novel, which is a nonfiction book. I am trying to cover certain women in India who are very old and who have, even though in a subtle manner, devoted their lives towards certain very interesting things. There is this lady called Meenakshi Madhava, she is the teacher of a Gurukul in Kerala, where she teaches a certain form of martial arts. She is continuing this tradition which has been ongoing for over 500 years. She is 85 years old and yet extremely fit. She was recently also awarded the Padma Shri. Such people are not spoken about much, nor are they into social media. They have a very raw originality to them which is extremely fascinating. So what travelling basically does, is It exposes you to new ways of lifestyle and new ways of thinking and new people. When I feel that I am writing the same kind of thing, travelling takes me out of that zone and opens up various more dimensions of writing the same thing in a better way!
OneLastChapter : This is really inspiring! So sir, what’s your final word to all the aspiring authors who wish to write and publish their works in the coming years? Mr. Sarthak : I am very hopeful about what I am going to read in the coming years. I sincerely believe that a lot of you children will come up with your own novels, which I would love to read and comment on! It is a very simple process, just read more and write more. Whatever you find interesting, just read it, do not overthink it! However, simultaneously keep writing as well! Every process of writing is different, you will make a lot of mistakes like I did, but the key is to not be discouraged and keep the line of thought going! You also might be efficient in various things in which I never was! This is the fun thing about writing, every process is so close to the author, it is different and unique for everyone. Just keep reading and keep writing! With this we come to the end of the interview. We are really honoured to have Mr. Sarthak as our guest and we really look forward to all of you reading this book. Here is the link to the book! Do check it out and let us know your thoughts on the book. If you want to know more about him, follow him on Instagram on: @kahtrasrahsarap Until then Ciao!