He is a self-confessed boring-banker turned happy-author. IIM-Calcutta educated Amish Tripathi gave up his 14-year-old career in finance after the success of his first book, The Immortals of Meluha, now followed by The Secret of The Nagas, second part in a proposed trilogy.
Eight years ago, while sitting at the dinner table with his family, Tripathi discovered that ancient Zorastrians addressed their Gods as Ahuras and the Demons as Daivas; phonetically the exact opposite of what Indians use. “Being from a family always engaged in debates and arguments, we realised that if ancient Indians and ancient Persians were to meet, they would be calling each other evil, because the Gods of one are demons of the other, and vice versa, raising the question—who and what is ‘evil’? Thankfully, he managed to find his answers in philosophy. Then, encouraged by his sister and her husband, he wrote his book in an adventurous and thrilling way so it doesn’t sound boring. “I had no expectations while writing the book, and had doubts about it getting published. All I wanted is to be true to the story,” says Tripathi, who believes his life changed completely after it. “I’ve become a calmer person, happy with life now.”
Such faith seems surprising, considering he was an atheist until recently. “Not only was I an atheist, I’d never written anything fictional in my life. In fact, I can’t think of a more undeserving person to have written this book and earned the adulation, but Meluha did change me as a person. I wonder why Shiva blessed me so much,” he says contemplatively, adding that he had to do a lot of research for the books. Two things helped him in this. First, his passion for reading—even dry, archaeology books were crunched with the rigour of an analyst, and second—being born in a religious family, which helped him understand religious mores when he needed to. He adds though, “To cook a good meal, you need the right ingredients, but having them doesn’t necessarily make you a good chef.”
Happy with the large audience across all age groups that Meluha seems to have found, he says, “I get messages on Facebook and Twitter by the hundreds everyday. What’s amazing is that they are interested in any story related to India.”
The response has encouraged him to now proceed to his third book. Going by the sales record of the first, he’s doing rather well. There has been some criticism, though. “Many say my language is not refined. While I respect the feedback, I admit I can’t use flowery words. Honestly, while writing a good story, one shouldn’t think about critics. I don’t write for them. You must be true to yourself,” he says. “Even good marketing may not save a bad product, but a good one will always sell like hot cakes,” he adds with a twinkle that barely hides his sales pitch.