Aha, the epidermis of my romantic comedy:)

The Epidermis of a romantic comedy

On the train, no pain, no gain

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

LOVE ON VELOCITY EXPRESS by N. Sampath Kumar

Well, well, it’s all happening… Life is fun when seen from the rearview mirror:)

Check out my youtube videos here: three in total…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpKTHEhRAyA (Intro to novel and author)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VckEu1F30sE (More funny details)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhuNOOxLI6o (Funny rapidfire round)

1 Comment

Filed under Author Interview

Visit blogadda.com to discover Indian blogs

2 Comments

Filed under 1

Life is an optical illusion

Have been treating my eyes to that highly orgasmic ecstasy called double vision. Have read the MS twenty times, and quite surprisingly, have played host to nineteen deja vu feelings.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1

My debut romantic novel: what’s it gonna be? Scan the funny FAQs below to know.

Excerpts from recent talks between the author and Obelix…

Will LOVE… be the kind of novel one can curl up with on a lazy weekend?

Well, well, if you can imagine David Dhawan and Govinda weaving an arranged love story revolving around a Bombay boy and an alabaster beauty from Chennai, then you have a rough idea of what it’s gonna be.

Will it be a light read?

As light as a snow flake or a fakir’s wallet, take your pick.

Will it be humorous and funny?

You can bet your last penny on that with your eyes wide shut.

Will there be some suspense and plot twists?

Plenty. It’s the mushy equivalent of roller-coaster rides.

Will it be a feel-good book?

Absolutely – any work of art should either tickle your funny bone or inspire your funny brain. Guess this would do both, unless you are a comatose patient who can neither be tickled nor inspired.

When is it being launched?

Mid-April 2010.

Will it be worth spending Rs 125 on?

Folks, it’s certainly more intellectually-stimulating than a pizza that costs you as much; plus it contains minus 673 calories, since you are gonna burn a few fatty acids laughing your way to great health. Think of it as a weight reduction cum soul-enlarging regimen.

Will it be called chick-lit or dude-lit?

It’s certainly not written by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen or Charles Dickens.

Will I be able to finish it in a single sitting?

As unputdownable as a million dollar note; or a magical menhir.

Will it be breezy, racy, and fun?

It can beat Micheal Schumacher provided there’s a neat tail wind.

Who all will enjoy it?

Anyone with a heart that can laugh and a brain that can think.

How long did you take to write it?

A month.

Are you writing more books?

Enough is enough. I am not an enquiry counter.

If you are rude with me, why will I read it?

Rude? If I were rude, I wouldn’t even be talking to dumbos like you.

That does it. I am not going to read it ever.

Suit yourself. Your loss, not mine.

You are so conceited…

Wrong. I can out-compete anyone when it comes to humility.

You think it will be a bestseller?

I’ll be quite surprised if it isn’t.

Who all will enjoy it?

Anyone between nineteen and ninety.

But I am one hundred and ninety-four…

I meant age group; not weight category…

4 Comments

Filed under A novel love debut

What every wannabe author ought to know

Well, I am definitely qualified to write about that since I have had a long experience as a wannabe author – ever since I penned a mushy love poem for a cute girl in seventh grade in Chandigarh, and never actually marshaled enough courage to show it to her.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had thrust my first love letter scrawled hastily on a ruled paper into her crayon-coloured hands…? (a) She’d have blushed, smiled, and asked me if I believe in family planning (b) She’d have flushed, turned crimson with anger, and reported me to that lady principal with that horrendous wig (c) She’d have pulled me into a corner and asked me if I believed in protection, pills, and post-pregnancy chivalry (d) She’d have screamed at the literary equivalent of child abuse.

Well, since (d) was the most likely scenario, considering that she usually looked at me like a zoologist would look at a new mutant species of Periplanata Americana (that’s the official handle of any cockroach, dumbo, since you are from illiterate Bhatinda) I tore the love poem into a million shreds and eternally fractured my romantic confidence in the process. (Explains why I am still single?)

The wariness continues I guess – it’s some kind of in-built hardware that I inherited somewhere on a cosmic assembly line that churns out models upon queer models of carbon-based lifeforms every year – and so I have never been able to marshal enough courage to send all that I have ever written to publishers.  So that means a huge bank of forty-three unsent manuscripts on my laptop and a whole heap of ideas that I trash every year.

Wrong thing to do. If you wish to get published, and if you are serious about seeing your name in print on at least one book, then please take my egoistic suggestions seriously – hey, hey, just kidding… I am the most humble person in the universe; and I bet you fifty euros that I can out-compete anyone when it comes to sheer humility.

1. Send anything you write. Yes, everything apart from that grocery list you made last weekend is great literature.

You never know when you will hit pay dirt; and with which literary dispatch. I first started writing to the dailies: middles, supposedly humorous pieces, features, poems, whatever – and when I got rejected by the A-grade dailies, I’d send the same to the B-grade and C-grade dailies which would lap it up. That funded my stay in a med school that served worse grub than Auschwitz.

My dad had said that he’d only send me five hundred measly bucks every month (not because he couldn’t afford to send more, but because he felt that I should learn to fend for myself.)

He told me one day in Delhi, when I had complained that the mess bill itself was close to four hundred bucks, that I was behaving like a wailing wimp and not like a literary lion.

“Find a way to generate money with any talent you might have, for instance you could write articles for newspapers and magazines – if I keep spoon-feeding you, then you’ll never discover anything about yourself…”

That got my goat, and I swore that I will never again touch him for extra cash. I never did actually, and there was no need to, though he was generous enough to gift me a scooter quite early, and even suggested that he could buy me a car if I wished to have one.

“But money I won’t give you. I can buy you anything, but you generate the liquid cash yourself. Be a man. Be bold, be brave, and the world will never be able to rule you. Rule or be ruled. Remember that simple eternal rule,” he said one night.

It is only because of what he said (and made me do in med school) that made me what I am today.

A bit of a writer.

I will be eternally thankful to my Dad, who left on a brief vacation to Vaikuntha in November 2005, and hasn’t returned ever since – not surprising since such irreversible travels along the cosmic highways only come with a visa for an onward journey…

Anyway, coming back to my pompously humble suggestions…

Hone your skills by writing, writing, writing; and reading, reading, reading of course. There are no short cuts. (Change your dad or anyone else who says anything to the contrary.)

Write mails, blogs, messages (no, no, forget texting on your cell – th way flks r manglng englsh on thr cells is bth slly nd crmnl; ok, ok, let me translate that for you since you just migrated from Burundi. I said the way folks are mangling english on their cells is both silly and criminal).

Write a diary, personal notes (prescriptions don’t count here, since most of my buddies are doctors now, so I must make things amply clear) and keep an ideas pad close at hand always. You never know when you might see a crazy dream or nightmare and that might be just the kind of intellectual trigger you’d been waiting for.

We all have a story to tell. We all have something to share. We all have what it takes to be a good author.

2. So what exactly characterises a good author?

Simple. A good author is just someone who has the hide of a hippo; the ego of an E.coli bacterium; the vigour of a volcano; the imagination of an insane person; and above all, the staying power of a shameless leech.

You gotta send your MS (manuscript is never called manuscript in publishing or editorial circles, all industries have their own jargon, don’t they?) to literary agents if you wish to rope in a publisher from abroad (no international publisher likes to be directly contacted by a wannabe author, you have to move through an agent, easily sourced on the net); or directly to some publishers in India if you feel your work is more for a pan-Indian audience because it is packed with Hinglish and Hindi and the Indian sociocultural milieu – like my forthcoming novel is…

Warning # 1: If you send hundred email queries after drafting a neat query letter (will tell you all about it as we chug along these pages during the course of the coming years) chances are you will get a reply from only two or three.

Warning # 2: Four out these two or three replies will be rejection letters (and I am not kidding.)

Warning # 3: Ok, ok, I overdid that a bit – maybe one agent out of these two or three will ask for a synopsis (a one-page single-spaced summary of your book, with plot outlines, twists, and ending of course) and maybe three random sample chapters.

Warning # 4: After you joyously send the masterly synopsis and mouth-watering sample chapters, you will have to wait for a few more weeks.

Warning # 5: “The plot is promising, but this is not for me…” Groan. “Nice story, but I am not sufficiently enthused to take it up now, best of luck with another agent…” Sigh. “We apologise for this form letter, but since we get so many submissions, we can’t reply individually to each and every one of them. Our team evaluated the potential of your submission and reached the wise conclusion that it is not something we are currently looking for rather wisely.” Wince. “You write well, but I couldn’t convince myself to represent you on this book.”  AAAARRRGH! “I can’t take it, but that doesn’t mean your work isn’t good – opinions vary in the industry and what I might not be interested in might turn out to be a bestseller, so keep trying with other agents.” Sleep.

Like I said, a thick hide is a must. If you are one of those who can’t take a ‘no’ for an answer, forget becoming an author. The world’s best writers have got rejected more times than there are galaxies in our universe. The world’s greatest bestsellers and cult books have been rejected by millions of publishers. The authors didn’t give up. The authors kept knocking on newer doors. The authors had hippo hides…

(To be continued)

5 Comments

Filed under Wannabe author? Tune in...

Finally, a novel that promises to tickle your funny bone and warm your heart – a comical love story packed with as many twists and turns as a roller-coaster ride… Caution: Abdominal cramps guaranteed; or your money back when I become as moolah-savvy as Shri Billu Ghates:)

The Smiling Sparkler

Backdrop: Leafy joy absorbing shockwaves from nearby loudspeakers

There are times in life when you slog your gluteal muscles off and try putting pen to paper (or ambidextrous digits to your laptop’s keyboard, if you wish to be politically and semantically correct – like any author worth his Tata salt ought to be) and nothing seems to emerge out of the cavernous cocoon of your electronic eggshell to see the light of day in the literary hemisphere.

But you continue hatching the literary eggs, in the vain hope that a magical chick will emerge soon and create ripples in the book reviews section of all major dailies and mags. You smile at your high-octane imagination which thinks that this magical chick will make that famed golden goose seem as poor as a church mouse.

You got the picture. In short, nothing gets published, though your laptop keeps screaming that you are a literary phenomenon who’s not destined to just be worshipped by a lone Compaq Presario.

You drink gallons of coffee and power yourself with self-motivational talks that sicken your shaving  mirror to its gills.

You live the life of a troglodyte (ok, ok, make that hermit, since it isn’t classy or profitable to show off one’s knowledge of highbrow words) and wonder if you’ll even have enough funds left to buy the mandatory oxygen molecules the kind government sells at subsidized rates through its public distribution system aka ration shops to keep you alive.

But you aren’t worried. You don’t care a damn. You took the risk of trying to be a full-time author roughly two years ago; and you call yourself God because that’s what you are to the fictional characters you create and to the intellectual heart-warming magic you save in digital format.

The problem is, since your mood rubs off on your characters (you smile, they smile; you cry, they cry) in your supposedly funny love story, you try to teach your mind and consciousness some neat anti-gravity stunts that will hopefully keep you cheerful enough to keep laughing and writing. Or vice versa.

You learn the art of staying chirpy in the face of adversity and develop a hide as thick as that of your pet hippo as you open billions of mails from billions of literary agents and publishers who have only one thing to say: “Sorry, this isn’t for us, though we hope that someone with greater foresight than us will eventually publish it and make us seem rather myopic…” You got the message. That’s just a polite way of saying EFF OFF to a wannabe author.

Then one day it happens.

You get a phone call from Delhi, just when you are exiting that zany nightmare where you are selling ginger tea along with roasted peanuts wrapped in paper cones you made from the hajjar printed sheets of all your rejected manuscripts. (Planet Earth, methinks, should sue me for being solely responsible for massive deforestation caused by my uncanny ability to churn out papyrus upon papyrus of rejected material.)

Coming back to that phone call from Delhi. A sweet voice says that she’s calling you regarding the commercial fiction love story you’d dispatched electronically some two days ago.

You wake up. You rub your eyes in disbelief. You wonder if it’s April Fool’s Day, and if someone is playing a cruel prank upon you. But the voice seems genuine and credible.

You put on a confident accent and sound like a cross between a marketing guru and a fledgling author looking for that elusive break. You sound as chic and savvy as a housefly on hashish.

The Delhi voice doesn’t seem to mind your conversational gawkiness camouflaged by that hyper-faked self-assurance.

She swings in a deal and asks you to check your gmail account. Gosh! You cut a sorry figure saying that your internet cable got yanked away yesterday by the electricity board wallahs because the local internet provider was smart enough to use vertical government real estate to hang his darned instrument panel and stuff many moons ago – and the government swung its biceps and triceps to drive home the message that unauthorised private squatters in the form of optical fibres and coaxial cables are just not welcome on the electricity-wire-hosting Qutab Minars dotting the cityscape.

No problems, says the soft gentle voice, though you receive a thought-wave that says, “Is this guy a born nut or did he take special training in idiocy?”

The voice becomes gentler now because any commissioning or acquisitions editor at a publishing house knows that nutty authors respond well to a bit of saccharine-coated, ego-boosting ‘you are the boss’ tone.

So you respond well, since you are both nutty and gullible.

You tell her that you are halfway through with your novel. She tells you to “finish it fast, keep it dark and funny,  don’t drag it too much, the pace should never slacken, it should be an unputdownable read, don’t sanitise or sterilise it too much, you are expected to be extra-creative (meaning extra crazy), give me something like Nancy Drew that races like a rocket on steroids from the first page to the last…”

Phew! Will call you up later, says the sweet voice, and hangs up.

You try to recall the suggestions she’d made. You jot down what she’d ordered. Rub your editor the wrong way, and you’ll end up rubbing shoulders with the local beggar – as his official colleague. So you better take her seriously – irrespective of whether you agree with her or not. She’s the puppeteer and you better learn to jive to her advisory tunes.

You descend from your first-floor bachelor pad to relay the good news to your mom…

(To be continued…)

4 Comments

Filed under Author's debut love story