Even as his latest book continues to receive slack from fans and critics for being ‘overloaded’, for trying to be more than one thing at the same time - a fictional thriller, a history book, a mythology guide, author Ashwin Sanghi has no qualms in admitting that going all out on what he is all about. “I am the sort of person who has always loved very, very strong flavours. Even in my food, the spice must be strong. I’m not someone who necessarily cares for subtlety. Mild flavours don’t work for me and the same applies to my work and the books I read, as well,” says the author, who was recently in the city to officially release his third novel The Krishna Key.
Sanghi, who has previously written Rozabal Line and Chanakya’s Chant, goes on to say that if he’s decided to take up a topic to write about, he would want to pretty much cover every dimension he can think of. “In fact, I think that is what some of my hardcore fans are actually looking for and I don’t want to let them down,” he reassures himself. “From the time I wrote my first book, people have got used to the idea that If I was going to write something, there will be a blend of fact and fiction, but there will be a lot of fact, and it’s that which will carry the story.”
As much as he is comfortable with the amount of fiction included in his book, Sanghi is quite point-blank about the way he wants his readers to treat the information that he puts out. “I begin my book with a disclaimer that it’s fiction. I don’t even attempt to tell you which portions are fact and which are fiction. If you want to treat the entire book as fiction, be my guest,” he simply states, but is sure to add that what is really important is to kindle interest and initiate conversation. “I want my readers who are really interested in the subject to read about it, research it further and come back to me about it. That’s why I give such a long list of references in end,” he adds.
Speaking about his long-standing interest in Krishna, the Mumbai-based author explains, “I’ve always wanted to do a story on Krishna, but mythology in itself does not interest me, but that there could be an overlap between mythology and history is what is interesting.” A retelling of the Mahabharata is not what he wanted to do, but a story where Krishna was a historical human being is what fascinated him, he adds.
In The Krishna Key, Sanghi has created a character who is delusional enough to believe that he is Kalki, Vishnu’s tenth avatar. The book follows Ravi Mohan Saini, a historian who has been accused of a murder. To clear his name, Saini must uncover the truth about a serial killer that believes himself to be Kalki, the final avatar of Vishnu. Throughout the book, Sanghi, like in his other books, has chosen to adapt a style of parallel narrative. “I believe that my past and my present and my present and my future are all interconnected. So to that extent, what interests me are the patterns. I believe that the patterns tend to repeat themselves,” he explains.
Published by Westland, ‘The Krishna Key’ is priced at `250.