New Delhi: Some of the greatest of fictional works tell a story and also have in their core a compelling idea. Though the two are inseparable yet catchy titles attract reader`s attention more, says Anupam Srivastava, a former journalist who has recently penned his debut novel.
"Some books have very catchy titles and they do attract the reader`s attention. This is the age of marketing, and getting the attention of people is not easy, so publishers and writers are doing their best with catchy titles,” says Srivastava, who is now a development professional.
In his book, `A piece of the Giant` the author has attempted to decode why India as a democracy, has thriving colonial institutions and practises.
The novel tells the story or a king who is befriended by an eminent nationalist who helps him get a free berth in India`s new cabinet.
While the king becomes the minister for reforms entrusted with the responsibility of `decolonising India`, his son Pratap breaks away and pursues journalism while he waits to be united with the woman he loves, Malati.
"Except Gandhi, all characters in the novel are fictitious. The story has a strong factual seed, but in the way the flowers have no resemblance to the seed that they spring from, the story and characters novel acquire a life of their own even as they remain connected to the factual seed," Srivastava told PTI in an interview.
Quizzed about the reason behind his choice for the title of this book, Srivastava says," I saw a parallel between the dying of elephants in some African elephants with people carving a piece for themselves which is followed by a feast. I found a parallel between the falling of an elephant and the falling of the imperial giant."
"Our elite have carved out pieces of the giant for themselves and are having a feast while the common people live in squalor," he adds.
The author says he begun working upon a PhD proposal earlier on the same subject with a professor, Peter Robb, at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
However, the Phd didn`t happen and he ended writing a novel instead.
"I started thinking about the right of India`s rulers to live in British bungalows, own and function out of New Delhi which the British created only for themselves, the continuation of IAS and IPS as services which is inimical to the interest of the entire work force that constitutes the government, and started studying about the vision of India her great nationalist leaders had," says the author.
The fact that India is a democracy does not ensure that the power lies in the hands of the people, says Srivastava who has used writings by Mahatma Gandhi as well as other nationalists to construct an idea of India that they wanted and abandoning of this ideal later when they came to wield power.
The author says despite a good storyline and the tag of a journalist it was not an easy task getting published like any other debut author.
"A reputed agent told me that she could not risk sending my novel to publishers for fear of rejection as the market was full of `lighter` stuff but I did that on my own and was published," says Srivastava.
"There is a place for good books and I am sure readers have the discernment to make reading choices that are independent like this book," he says.