HYDERABAD: From being a prolific blogger and winning the Indiblog of the year award twice to writing humor and now a psychological thriller - writer of ‘Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind’ Arnab Ray or Greatbong as he is popularly known has an addition to his oeuvre.
‘The Mine’ is the recent addition to Arnab Ray’s work. Moving away from his signature style of cynical humour, the book promises to be a macabre thriller which explores the ‘evil within’. Was the decision to write a different genre a conscious one? “I like to write what I would like reading myself. There are hardly any books in Indian English writing which seriously explore horror. Even film noir in India is missing as the Bollywood horror movies turn it into a quasi-horror comedy,” says the self-confessed fan of the ‘90s Bollywood cinema.
Taking potshots at the incorporeal creatures which inhabit the quintessential horror flick, Arnab says that after the Twilight saga, not a single person would be scared of a tryst with a vampire as they have been all ‘Karan Johar-ized’. “I had the diabolical climax of the book chalked out since 2004 and the process of writing ‘The Mine’ was essentially backwards,” explains Arnab who feels that genre is secondary to the process of writing a book.
The writer reveals that all the incidents of blood, gore and violence in the book have been drawn from real-life incidents which occurred in post-independence India. “I have been asked how can I think up such disturbing acts of violence. I have chronicled real-life incidents, leaving out names, places and dates to look beyond the political cocoon. It is about what a person is capable of doing to another human being,” adds Arnab. Set in the desert of Rajasthan at an isolated mining facility, Arnab brings in characters who are drawn from across India and left to find their way out of a maze which is seeping a deadly nerve gas. “What can scare adults is the fear of not knowing. They are afraid of being betrayed and this is the premise I have explored in my book to evoke fear,” says Arnab.
A research scientist at the University of Maryland by the day, Arnab is happy to be in the league of writers who write keeping in mind an Indian audience. “Writers such as Chetan Bhagat have spawned a cottage industry of copy-cats. He was the first to discover a new market and to write for the Indian audience specifically. I am opposed to the ‘Booker-factory’ writers in India who had English publishers and were targeting an English audience. Any popularity they enjoyed in India was incidental,” opines Arnab whose latest blog entry takes a dig at the hype generated by the Jaipur Literature Festival. “Not every book sold under ‘Lit’ category is brilliant and I do not share their condescension to formula-Indian writing of campus romances,” asserts the candid writer.
Similar to the disclaimer on his blog, the writer says that he enjoys keeping his writing separate from his profession. “It gives me the freedom to getaway with saying anything on which I do not have an authority without ruffling feathers,” chuckles the writer whose next book promises to be diaspora writing from the perspective of a first generation immigrant.‘The Mine’ is available with Westland Ltd at a price of `195.