Interview With Bharath Krishna, Author of Guy on The Sidewalk (A Novel)
questions about his writing, his book and his inspiration… and Bharath’s answers
The Author of Guy on The Sidewalk, A Novel!
Bharath Krishna, for a considerable time now, has been there as a hobby-writer in the online world. He has been actively writing on social media, his blogs (and others as well) and sometimes just for himself. Recently, he entered the fraternity of novelists with his debut novel, Guy on the sidewalk. This novel reflects his passion for writing woven through his life like the golden thread of a rare tapestry. Bharath’s resume reads like a kaleidoscope of sorts – a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, double master’s degree in management, and years of professional experience in marketing, teaching and IT in India and the United States.
Bharath prefers to write on themes the readers could relate to the world around them. He thinks Guy on the sidewalk is a story that needs to be told to the Indian youth. From the perspective of a young man the novel captures contemporary elements like the life of NRIs, return to India, changing the pattern of relationships and individual responsibility towards parents and the country.
Alok Mishra: Mr. Bharath Krishna, first of all, I would like to congratulate you for your debut novel! It feels great, as an author myself. I can tell you. All your efforts met in to create something called – Guy on The Sidewalk! How do you feel about it?
Bharath Krishna: Thank you. Definitely, there is a sense of accomplishment. There were occasions when I felt like giving up but somehow I pushed and I am glad I didn’t give up. The learning curve has been wonderful, now I know what it takes to attempt something different from normal.
Alok Mishra: The complete story, as far as I could relate, comes out as a usual struggle that almost all the NRIs carry on within – whether to return of just hang in there. How did you get such an idea for the book which covers almost everyone? Take it as a compliment or as a question!
Bharath Krishna: In a way, the conflicting emotions almost every NRI goes through is the inspiration for my novel. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to translate the emotional conflict into words without compromising on story telling part but I tried. The readers should say how far I succeeded.
Alok Mishra: I am an avid reader and don’t let any chance go! However, reading your book seemed quite different an experience to me. Pardon me, but the literary sense and a deeper meaning are the things that I am looking at in your book. Can we call it a ‘modern diasporic’ novel?
Bharath Krishna: That would be an apt description. We live in a world of seamless connectivity, so much that the boundaries of the countries are defined more in terms of spirit than geography. We find Indians and Indian food in any part of the world today. The scope of Indian readership has vastly expanded. A well-written Indian story has wider acceptance since the world started looking at India, for various reasons.
Alok Mishra: A question that almost each reader would like to ask you – how far is Jay in the novel Guy on the Sidewalk related to Bharath Krishna in the real life?
Bharath Krishna: The timeline of the story is same as the timeline of my stay in the US and since the novel is written in first person, there is a very high chance for the readers to think it’s my story. Very few scenes were lifted from my life directly, most part of the novel is fiction. If I had written my story it wouldn’t have been this interesting. I didn’t go through the emotional conflict that much since I was clear about coming back to India since the day I took my flight to the US. Through this novel, I tried to capture as many shades of NRIs as possible.
Alok Mishra: India and Indians have been called names many times through the novel; however, at last, it’s the motherland only that wins over Jay! How did you manage to word these struggles within the characters so beautifully in the novel?
Bharath Krishna: I had a very simple approach to writing this novel. I assumed how I would narrate the story to a friend sitting in front of me and started writing from the beginning to the end. I didn’t really worry about whether that is how novels are written professionally. Probably that’s the reason why I have been receiving most of the compliments for the style of narration. But that’s also the reason why I had to put in extra efforts in the editing phase to give the novel a proper shape. As far as calling names is concerned, most people said the novel captured the true picture. That’s how our offhand discussions are, right?
Alok Mishra: A remark – Reading your novel and coming through the exact dates, I remember Don Juan by Byron! He was also constantly doing that in that work. Now the question, Bharath, how could you make this almost 315 pages of the novel so much so related that one could just finish it in a go? I mean how did you sequence the events so well keeping the curiosity quotient alive in the readers?
Bharath Krishna: I decided on the timeline first, and prepared the skeleton of the story. I decided on the time periods and events in the story which should be elevated and which should be fast forwarded, and then wove the story. I visualized the story in the form of a movie first and went about framing the words. A considerable part of the story has evolved as I wrote it.
Alok Mishra: How did you get the idea of almost a non-expecting love between Siri and Jay? That love story, which is moving along the main plot is so wonderful. I would like your personal remarks on that.
Bharath Krishna: When I read the final version of the story I fell in love with Siri too. Siri’s character was the result of my attempt at creating a genuine partner to the protagonist. Both Jay and Siri try to be truthful to each other in every situation. There is always some sort of open-endedness in relationships which I tried to portray between Jay and Siri, in spite of their immense love for each other.
Alok Mishra: And at last, Bharath, as Jay is now in India, I am sure he must be up to something called ‘entrepreneurship’ in the real terms, as mentioned in the novel, page number 293. What are your plans for the next book in the series?
Bharath Krishna: There will be no sequel to ‘Guy on the Sidewalk’. Jay’s life would continue but the story has ended. It’s important to end the story at the right time in order to protect its freshness. There are some open-ended questions in the novel which are left to the imagination of the readers.
Alok Mishra: Just a remark on which I would like your reaction and then we close it. You have presented a beautiful account of what an NRI feels about India and coming back to the country. Do you have any message that you would like to give to them? Your book describes it wonderfully, but on a personal level?
Bharath Krishna: There are people who live outside India and do great things for the country and there are people who live here but do nasty things. I wouldn’t brand someone as patriotic just because he or she has returned to India, what’s important is what he or she does to the country. We as a country have a long way to go and personally I feel we all should stretch ourselves beyond the welfare of our families and do our bit for the betterment of this country.
Alok Mishra: Thanks for your time! It was a pleasure reading your book and talking to you about that. I wish you best of luck for the future!
Bharath Krishna: Thank you! My best wishes to Ashvamegh team.