About Ketan Bhagat
Outside: Bald. Mid-forties. Middle Class. Middle Management. Maruti car owner. Mediocre. Misfit. Struggling to meet targets at job, fill yoga classes and sells books.
Inside: Blissful. Ecstatic. Dancing. Liberated. Peaceful. Full of gratitude. God, son, mother, freedom, health with me. I feel like I am God’s favourite child. 😊
LiFT: Tell us about your book, the journey of writing it and its content.
Ketan: This book happened to me when I saw my son born. It was the best moment of my life. It transformed me completely. It gave me all the answers and clarity I was looking for. I wasn’t expecting this as in India we always only talk about maternal love. Fathers are supposed to be cold, unexpressive, distant providers whom mothers use as escalation points when pranks go out of hand. I was completely opposite. Hands on, hopelessly in love and glued to my baby. That’s when I realised that fatherhood hasn’t been represented authentically in stories. Child/God is story of a man who is struggling in life till his son happens to him. This book just poured out of me 😊
LiFT: Why you chose this title?
Ketan: When my son was born, I felt such a strong surge of emotions that I couldn’t help wondering why I was getting so stirred. Besides paternal love, I had never seen something so pure, pristine and innocent. It was the closest manifestation of God I have experienced till date. Further, my son’s arrival changed my home into a temple. No alcohol, no foul language, no yelling… all wrong things went out of the window as we became devotees only interested in serving and dancing around the infant who at most would smile in return. The divine power of just the child’s presence made me wonder if it is actually a child whom we have to teach, or is it actually God who has come to teach us how to live and behave in the same house. This is the why the title. Child/God.
LiFT: When did you realize that you want to be a writer and what’s your inspiration behind it?
Ketan: I was always told that I had a creative streak and even did some part time gigs during college days, I never took writing seriously. I joined an IT company post my MBA and moved out of the country. Even when a few years later, my brother Chetan Bhagat became a superstar celebrity author I was too happy and busy in my NRI to think of writing. But as I entered thirties and everything from being an NRI to being an husband was no longer a novelty, I started craving for a release. Experiences were different from expectations set by movies and books. I felt cheated 😊 So a longing to document realistic stories based on actual experience. Stories that won’t just entertain but also prepare someone for life. The writer in me finally took birth.
LiFT: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line in the world of literature?
Ketan: Nobody knows what will happen ten minutes from now and you ask about ten years 😊… No clue and don’t care as well. Present is all that matters. 😊
LiFT: How much do you think marketing or quality of a book is necessary to promote a particular book and increase its readers?
Ketan: Marketing is my Achilles’ heel and getting worse by the day. I am so bad now that for my latest book – Child/Currency – I didn’t even do a book launch event 😊. But I am still surviving after a decade so quality does have ability to stand on its own. Having said that, I have seen the enormous power marketing has in every field including books. So my advise is not be like me. Rather be like my brother 😊
LiFT: What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?
Ketan: I write about men. Their emotions, the phases they go through… their confusions, aspirations, challenges, learnings etc. I find few stories and literature that tell you what men go through in life, especially when compared to literature around women. My first book, Complete/ Convenient, is a story around what a man goes through once he gets the job and woman of his life. My second book, Child/God, tells the story of how fatherhood transforms a man. My latest book – Child/Currency – is about the tough times and unfairness men face during divorce.
LiFT: What do you do apart from writing?
Ketan: Besides being a single father to a twelve year old son, I work full time at LinkedIn and am a part time yoga teacher. I also regularly speak at industry, college and school events. Life and mind are productively busy 😊🙏
LiFT: What are the activities you resort to when you face a writer’s block?
Ketan: I just wait for answers to come to me. Patience and creativity are best friends, and also I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. So a writer’s block is to be embraced as an unannounced guest who shall leave on its own 😊
LiFT: What if your story will be adopted as a movie? Whom would you want to work as a director or actors in it?
Ketan: That would be awesome, isn’t it 😊 …. I love Sanjay Leela Bhansali and I think he will make my story into a beautiful portrait. Plus his grasp on human emotions is sheer excellence.
LiFT: Are you working on your next book? If yes, please tell us something about it.
Ketan: My next book will be a self-help book around how some simple habits can make us spiritually powerful. It will be based on my observations and experiences in real life.
LiFT: What are your suggestions to the budding writers/poets so that they could improve their writing skills?
Ketan: Just bare your soul. There is magic in authenticity and nakedness.