‘Truly original and extraordinary stories are hard to come across’

 ‘Truly original and extraordinary stories are hard to come across’

It was during the pandemic lockdown that MAHESH RAJAN commenced his writing journey with a short story to escape the mundane lockdown everyday life. He got encouraged when his stories and story ideas were acknowledged by the people he shared the stories with. Rajan believes his zest for writing is rooted in his story ideas from his travels and from the films he has watched and books he has read. A hodophile, Rajan loves to take aimless walks around the cities he visits, investing time in listening to local stories and folk tales and in the process, noting down the most fascinating and compelling ones.
Born to a cardiac surgeon dad and a homemaker mom in Chennai, Rajan hold a Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Science Engineering from Anna University and is an MBA from Tulane University. Rajan is coming up with his debut book, Illusions of Control (Notion Press; Rs 349; 226 pages), a speculative fiction soon.
In an interview with SAURABH TANKHA, the young author talks about the unique stories in his first book, why he terms it as his biggest achievement till now and his future plans.

Tell us more about Illusions of Control.
It’s a collection of seven stories, each revolving around seven different characters and how they deal with the situations they are surrounded by. None of these stories are interconnected.

Why call it Illusions of Control?
The book deals with human perceptions on various issues – how we try to control every aspect of our life and feel broken if the events don’t pan out as we have envisioned them.

Are illusions in one’s control?
As far as the situations of the characters in the book go, you’ll have to read and find out. There is one section which has things under control, and one section which doesn’t.

You are an MBA, have worked as a management consultant and are director (strategy) for a technology company apart from having learnt kung fu, doing fashion photography and maintaining a Metal band. Which of these is the closest to your heart and why?
All of these helped me grow and it’s because I did all these activities, I’m who I’m today. Maybe I’m close to photography apart from the consulting gig because I still find time to practice it.

What makes you say that your debut work is your biggest achievement till now?
Writing this book was the most difficult thing I have done so far, and I guess that’s why I consider it as an achievement.

Why are the stories in Illusions of Control not extraordinary but unique?
Truly original and extraordinary stories are very hard to come across. Being a first-time author, there is no way I’ll claim that title. These stories are written out of inspirations from various situations I’ve seen people in, or characters from other stories. Some of these situations (at its core), though exaggerated, are things that can happen to anyone, but how the characters in the book deal with those situations are from a point of view I haven’t come across before. That’s what I mean by the stories aren’t extraordinary but unique.




One thing which is the most important part of a book.
Keeping the reader engaged throughout the book is a challenge. Anyone can write, but writing something that can compel a reader to keep turning the page is the key.

Is writing energising or exhausting?
In a weird way, both. When the ideas flow, you’re energised and ignore anything your body has to say. By the end of the session, you are tired.

Best way to market a creative work.
Any work, creative or otherwise, requires quite a bit of marketing. Even if you want to win a lottery you need to buy it, and for that you need to be aware of it. The same concept goes for every book, painting, or product. The marketing helps bring the attention of people towards whatever you are selling, from then on, sales are driven entirely by feedback.

A book that inspired you to take up writing.
There are a plenty – from Fight Club to Lord of the Rings to Ponniyin Selvan to Mahabaratham. And a lot of comics too.

Plans for future.
As far as writing goes, I don’t have a clue. I do have a few more stories up my sleeve, but I do want to wait and see the reception for this book to see what about my writing I need to change or if I can continue on the same path. As a first-time author, I think it’s critical to get feedback to improve the skill.


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