03 December, 2016

#Interview with Madhav Mathur, #Author of Dvarca

About the Author:


Madhav Mathur was born and raised in Delhi. He lives in Singapore, where he works for an MNC by day and as a writer–film-maker by night. His first novel, The Diary of an Unreasonable Man was published in 2009. His award winning films, The Insomniac and The Outsiders have been screened at numerous festivals. He hopes he is getting better at doing the things he loves.




Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
Kindergarten 1, my class was making a lot of noise in the final period and our teacher told me to stand up and tell everyone a story. It was an exhilarating experience for me, and I have sought the joy of entertaining people with words ever since.

What inspires you to write?
I guess the short answer is people. I love people. It is a pleasure to learn who they are, what drives them and how they are with others. I believe writing is a way to experience the lives of others, with zero risk and infinite rewards. What could be more exciting? For me, writing is a way to understand the world, make sense of it and sometimes come to terms with it.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea for this story has lived with me for many years. I was deeply affected by the ugly communal violence of ’92-’93. People were killed in the name of religion. There have been other instances of unrest since then, some more horrific than others, but that was the first time I became aware of a dangerous division. It made me want to explore the idea of “us” as a people. In Dvarca, I have created a fictional world where hate has taken hold. The divisive forces have won and we must find our way back from this mess. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I try not to structure things too much in the beginning and write down everything that flows or belongs in the imagined world or scenario. I then try to retain only what is indispensable, to forward the story, deepen characters and hopefully entertain the reader. Editing is challenging, laborious, and time-intensive, but it gives the book its final form. It is well worth the effort.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I have many scenes in the book that make me happy for different reasons. It could be a scene in which I think I’ve managed to share something that matters to me deeply…or even a scene that just makes me laugh. I enjoy the sequence where Nakul, the younger protagonist meets his idol – the Great Leader Shastriji.  The scene where the entire unsuspecting family wakes up on one morning in Dvarca and then things go horribly from there, is also one of my favourites.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
I guess there are a few quirks that I share with my characters…like the penchant for green chilies, love for puzzles, and a potentially lethal sense of insatiable curiosity. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read a lot. One can’t improve as a writer without reading extensively. I love the works of Bulgakov, Gogol, Hemingway, Huxley, Orwell and Hesse. Of authors with recent new publications I would say Marion James, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Don DeLillo, Geoff Dyer would start my list…

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Write only if your life depends on it.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Write only if your life depends on it.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Isn’t this famous deserted island pretty crowded now, given how many people are sent there everyday? I might take a survival guide, Swiss Army Knife, and maybe my phone (because I am an optimist).

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Reading and watching movies. I guess my favorite place to go and unwind might be a bar that makes good cocktails.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I’d like to travel more and hope to see many places. Iceland is on the list, for the Northern Lights. 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I am an ambitious cook (butter-chicken-laksa, jalebi-dark-chocolate-mousse), a dangerously messy painter (have ruined a few couches and carpets – as an adult), and I have a Diving license (which I was petrified of getting, till I got to the water).

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Dvarca is the first of a trilogy. The next two books are already almost complete. I hope to share them with readers soon.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I hope you enjoy my work. I have tried something new, and I hope you will visit it with an open mind. I hope you connect with it and it says things that also matter to you.


About the Book:
ONE NATION | ONE RELIGION | ONE WAY OF LIFE 

Welcome to a land called Dvarca. At the turn of the 22nd century, the world is a mess of warring factions (surprise!). The powers-that-be have fought insanity with an equal and opposite insanity. India has been remodelled under a new bicolour flag, and a State religion called Navmarg. Anyone who does not belong, is a threat. Madhav Mathur's Dvarca is a dark and humorous satire that follows the life of an ordinary family, struggling to get by, in this totalitarian regime. Gandharva, is a patriotic and pious low-level bureaucrat at the Ministry of Finance and Salvation, working hard on his status and overdue promotion. His dutiful and curious wife, Jyoti, works at Dvarca Mills and witnesses a ghastly act of terror, leading to perilous flirtations with dissent. Their two little children, Nakul and Mira, are model students in their predestined streams, indoctrinated and well on their way to becoming faithful and productive citizens. The State religion and cutting-edge science combine to create new ways to make citizens safe, and to hound and hunt those who do not conform. Everything is 'perfect' in this controlled and policed system, until one fateful night, a man happens to break routine . . .




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