From passing out as one of the branch toppers of the college in 2015, to anticipating his book launch in 2017 – Anubhav Shrivastava has clearly been through a lot in these 2 years. In a society where taking risks are never encouraged, Anubhav has managed to do both – have a respected career and follow his passion.
With his first book One Last Time hitting the shelves soon and ahead of his expected arrival at his alma mater Manipal, we had a small conversation on what it takes to make your dreams come true.
Just a few days left for the world to read your book. How are you feeling? What’s your state of mind like?
The feeling is similar to the one we have all had the day our board results were announced. This time however, the stakes are much higher. Because I have put my marks on display in front of public – which is both unnerving and exciting at the same time.
This is obviously an important milestone in your life. As you look back, what are your most memorable incidents on the course of writing the book?
There are quite a few to cherish. The feeling when a publisher accepts your manuscript is unbeatable – because that’s when you realize that whatever you are writing in a word document is going to someday actually see the light of day. Also, I could never really imagine getting comments from bestselling authors for the book. I think there has also been a lot of improvisation in terms of writing – for example, there is a pivotal plot character that was never supposed to be in the story when me and my co-author ShreeHari H first discussed the story. But she just happened when I was in the middle of the plot. And now when I look back, I am surprised how poignantly her role has fit in the script.
Why is the book titled One Last Time?
One Last Time is a metaphor on the inevitability of change. In life, you meet a lot of people daily, and perhaps develop an instant connection with some of them. But you do not know how long will that connection last, because there are some things which are never in your control – for instance, Time.
Your inspiration behind writing this story.
I have always been intrigued by the concept of friendship between people who are diametrically opposite to each other in terms of their approach to life. It’s not often that you get to have such friends. You mostly connect when you have similar tastes. In love, we say opposites attract, but that is hardly the case in friendships. However, in life sometimes the most beautiful experiences happen when you least expect them to, and from people whom you had no idea would mean so much to you. One Last Time is a testimony to that.
What are your first brushes with writing? When and how did you start writing?
I developed my writing skills in Manipal itself. I used to write a lot for ManipalTheTalk.Net (MTTN). I remember, my first post was a review on the Rajasthani Mess. Then I worked for some time in BookMyShow, which helped me in building my writing profile further.
What has influenced you over the years to motivate you to write the kind of stories you write now – Cinema, literature, your personal life, the everyday life?
I like to observe people around. I think a lot of my stories are based on incidents that happen not only in my life, but also in the lives of those around me. Having said that, I am also a huge cinema buff.
What makes One Last Time a unique, interesting read?
One Last Time will take you a trip down the memory lane – right from your childhood to adulthood, and in between that – the teenage phase, where we all had certain issues in life. It is laced with humor, emotions and philosophy and is an easy read. Therefore, I think it has something for everyone!
What are your future plans? Some more novels in the pipeline?
Of course. There are no official announcements yet in terms of my next book, though there is one rough story I have in mind. It’s based on the concept of unrequited love. However, I am not sure though if I am serious about writing it right now.
If you have to recommend 5 books to any reader, what would those be?
Since you are an avid film buff, name some of your all time favorites.
The kind of stories I write are the ones that make it to my all-time favorites. Heart warming ones like The Pursuit Of Happiness and My Sister’s Keeper, everyone’s favourite The Shawshank Redemption. Among the more recent ones, there is Room and The King’s Speech. And from Bollywood, my picks are Kal Ho Naa Ho and Dil Chahta Hai.
THE MANIPAL RAPID FIRE
Since your book takes your readers into nostalgia, let me take you through it!
Your favorite food destination.
A professor you were fond of
Most memorable semester for you.
Seventh semester for sure. That’s when all the memories were made – courtesy placement parties and photoshoots.
Your favorite hangout spot in MIT.
Isn’t that obvious? KC of course! It really made me sad when I heard about its destruction.
The food you preferred when you’ve missed breakfast.
I loved the Chinese samosa. I am not sure if they still sell it. We used to have it during the 10 to 10:30 AM break. I also miss the dosas of the canteen, and cheese burst paratha of Poornima.
If you need to describe One Last Time in one word, that would be –
A piece of advice for all the writers out there
Just keep writing – a genuine and honest effort goes a long way and is always rewarded.
Lastly, what is it about Manipal that you missed the most?
I miss the lush green campus, the carefree days and the funny banter we used to indulge in between class lectures. I miss my 10th block as well!
Anubhav will be visiting the campus on 2nd March to share more about the book and his experience. You can buy the book on Amazon here.