NAW-Tell us about your book, Once Upon An IAS Exam. How did you get the idea for it?
Once Upon An IAS Exam is a hilarious and an emotional journey of a 25 year old boy Vishy who dreams of becoming an IAS officer. His dreams are shattered when he fails to clear the exam. What happens next; his love life and friendships forms the rest of the story. The idea was simple – to share the best and worst that I have seen during own journey as a civil services aspirant. Once upon an IAS Exam has things that I have seen but it is NOT my story.
NAW- The IAS exam is one of the toughest in the country but the book has been written in a humorous way. Why did you decide to tackle the book in such a unique manner?
Having been a part of the journey myself , I could clearly understand the emotions and pressure faced by lakhs of aspirants appearing for the exams every year. When I penned my first fictional work, I thought of putting across that journey in an interesting manner so that it would end up as an interesting read. Humour because I have always felt that the messages conveyed in a lighter, casual and relatable manner almost always go down well with the audience.
NAW: Why writing? Given the hectic schedule of any civil servant, how do you find time for writing? How easy or difficult is the writing job compared to other trades that you have dabbled in? What drew you to writing?
Frankly speaking, the work of a civil servant is extremely stressful and hectic.I wanted a way to de- stress and at the same time express and reinvent myself which is why I turned to writing. Even if I work for 12-13 hours per day in my routine job, I still give myself a couple of hours around midnight which is when the writer in me comes out. I find writing to be refreshing and rejuvenating for me. I’m happy that I have found it to be that way and I wish to keep it that way.
NAW: Please name your favourite authors.
Stephen King and Arthur Conan Doyle.
NAW- Tell us about your journey as a writer? When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer? How was the publishing journey, were there any hiccups along the way?
It was during one of my official visit to a remote village when a bunch of boys in the village said that they did not have any idea or guidance on how to go about writing the IAS exam (civil services exam) despite being passionate about it. I decided that I will write a book for students like them putting forth my experience and help them clear the exam. That was how my first Tamil book ”Ettum dhoorathil IAS “ happened. Following that, a popular Tamil publisher wrote to me asking to write a motivational/ self help book. I then went on to write my second and third book in Tamil (adhuvum Idhuvum , ore kallil 13 maanghai) . All these books did well and I really started enjoying writing .I then completed writing Once Upon an IAS Exam and mailed the script to Rupa. They evaluated and liked the script and decided to publish it.
NAW- Any advice for those who are not able to clear the civil services exam?
The civil services exam is a cycle of uncertainty. We may or may not come out of it successfully but it’s important to enjoy the process. It’s important to experience the hard work, focus and dedication that the exam itself teaches you! It’s good if you can clear the exam and it’s still good if you don’t clear – you have got a great experience out of this cycle and you have a whole life ahead of you to achieve greater things!
NAW- Have you decided what you’ll write next?
I have completed writing an interesting and entertaining fiction script which should be out next year. Also, currently writing a self help book in Tamil which should again be out early next year.