Life In Different Colours by Pratik Sharda is an eclectic mix of short stories drawing inspiration from different aspects of life. The stories are simple, sweet, and perfectly engaging. They explore different themes and emotions such as love, family values, corruption, ransom, infidelity, sacrifice, crime, etc.
In a candid interview with author Pratik P Sharda, he talked about his debut work, his writing, and plans for the future. Let us have a look.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I wish to say what is not there on my social profiles or book intro. I am a dreamer, currently working a full-time job for the last 10 years. I love adventures and I am fond of traveling and meeting new people. Writing brings me happiness and I can do that for days once I start on something. Besides all of the above, I love watching movies/shows, music, singing, dancing, and acting.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
It was in 2008 when I first felt my love for writing. I was in 3rd year of my college and used to give private tuition as money was limited then. So, there was this girl who I used to teach English. One day, to make teaching fun and competitive, both me and my student took up a challenge to write an essay/ story of our choice. I loved the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, starring Will Smith, an all-time favorite actor of mine. So, I thought let me write the entire movie as a short story in my own words. The next day both I and my student exchanged our work. Soon after reading it, she just started crying. When I asked what happened, her response was, ‘this is lovely’. On that day, I decided to one day make this hobby more serious, and here I am with my first book published after 11 years of that event.
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
I believe every writer is a storyteller first. I grew up listening to stories that my Grandma and Mom used to tell me as a kid and I always used to get fascinated by the fictional world it created in my mind. Even after growing up, a good story either in written or cinema world simply gives so much satisfaction to me. And I believe I am not the only one who longs for this escape from the real world. So what inspires me to be a writer is to be this storyteller who could bring unique stories and create this parallel world which brings joy for my readers.
Besides the story, grammar and delivery are of paramount importance to me for any story.
Tell something in brief about your latest book? How did the idea of coming up with this book strike you?
I so much wish to someday sit on a beach taking a sunbath on a Monday morning, with a chilled beer in my one hand and a good novel on my other. But alas, that is just a dream as of now as we all got to go to the office. Now the reason to bring this life long dream of mine into the light is to highlight how so many of us want to do so many of the things which, as of now, only exist in our dreams. This scarcity of time, coupled with the restrictions we impose on ourselves, are the founding elements for my latest book, Life in Different Colours.
To say the truth, I wasn’t decided until 2015 if my first book will be a novel or short story collection. But then, I used to travel in Mumbai locals for my daily commute to and fro from office. In that awesome smelling crowd of people in the locals, I used to see 90% of the faces to have some worry on their forehead. Now you would know what I mean by ‘awesome smelling crowd’ if you have traveled in Mumbai locals. If not, I pray you just do it once for the experience. I loved it. So, the idea of short stories came to my mind. I am pretty convinced that given the schedule of most people, they would love to read short stories any day over a novel. With this thought, my first book came into being with some feel-good stories, with plots some unique and some old, that convey some life long lessons I picked up from people guiding me in my life.
How did you develop this book? What was your inspiration for creating the different narratives discussed in the book?
As I have already highlighted above how this book came into being, I wish to jump to the second part of your question.
While growing up I have seen, both myself and some people I know up close, go through some of the most tormenting times in our lives. The decision to publish my first book in 2019 was made at random around October, but the theme had always been with me. It was ‘life’, in its various shades and colors. And if you happen to read all the twelve stories in the book, you will find that it is not something unique that I have written there. It is just something that I feel will help not only my readers but for myself as well. So whenever I will feel that I am losing my dreams, I will read ‘Something Just Like This’, which is one of the short stories with a plot centered around ‘dreams’ of a young man and a kid. LIFE is my biggest inspiration, and there is still so much to learn from it.
Do you see books as a carrier of an important message or a medium of entertainment?
The entertainment factor is non-negotiable. Message plus entertainment, well that is a good mix but I do not feel every story must have a message. Like I said earlier, sometimes a story is just a way to escape reality and nothing more. It is only when we thin the line between reality and dream that we make our dreams a reality.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I get so emotionally connected with my stories when I write them. It is a way for me to shed all my pretense and connect with my deeper inner self. I believe that whatever you do from your heart cannot be anything but a spiritual practice. Otherwise, how else do you explain the sheer joy of doing something you love. Happiness can exist only in spiritual form, and not in material form.
Yes, I feel happy when I buy a new set of true pods or wireless headphones. But I know its not the earphones that matter but the quality and the music that comes out of it. So any writing has to encompass this mix of quality and music for it to have that spiritual impact. I hope I am making sense.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or a full-time profession?
I am a holder of two professional degrees, CA and CS. I didn’t do them cause I loved to study. But more for the fact that that was the possible means to be someone in life. Of course, respect and love grew as I spent years on the job. But then the money is only relevant to an extent where it enables one to do and achieve all the personal goals and responsibilities that life has to offer. Anything more than that is greed.
So yes, writing can be a full-time career or profession from the day it gets me the same money as my job, every month, on a consistent basis for at least 12 months. I have this very clear in my mind before I make it my full-time profession. But then who says I cannot do this along with my job. I have to be full-time mentally, not physically. Dreams can become reality only when they are lived and not just dreamed about.
How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading around the world?
I would say it is evolving each day with globalization and digitization growing even more now than ever, resulting in more and more readers across the globe. Now the audience is no longer just India. It could be someone sitting in say Seychelles. Nowadays, I think it is the need for writing to be more global in its form and not stick to any boundaries or past conventions.
How crucial are marketing and promotions when it comes to selling a book?
It is very crucial to reach the right masses for your book and marketing and promotions play a very key role. But they can be done only up to a limited extent and it is always the mettle in the book which will decide its failure or success. One cannot survive without the other. So yes, any book is like a lock that needs the right key, i.e. marketing and promotions, to unlock its value.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? What is your favorite genre?
I don’t read much. I have read some Arthur Conan Doyle and love mystery, crime, and thriller as the preferred genre.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Just believe in yourself. Often dreams and skills are killed because we lose our faith and belief. If you have faith and belief in your own work, others will see your hard work when they read your book. So get on and write, write, and write, until your dream comes true.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Certainly, if god willing. I have just started on this path and have not even gone through 10% of the journey. It’s a long way still but there is no looking back now. There are too many ideas in my head in the shape of seeds. I look forward to planting them soon. So yes, you will hear from me again in 2022. There is no looking back now.
*We wish Author Pratik P Sharda all the best for his future endeavors.*
Connect with the Author:
Facebook Id: https://www.facebook.com/sharda.pratik
Twitter Id: https://twitter.com/pratik_sharda
Instagram Id: https://www.instagram.com/pratikpsharda/