Rahul Saini is young architect based in Gurgaon. Born and brought up in the small Punjabi town of Jalandhar, he completed his graduation in 2006. Apart from his work, he likes to paint and write stories. His other fields of interest include filmmaking. He has written the additional dialogue and the additional screenplay for a soon to be released film. Currently he is working for the postproduction for the film in Ahemdabad. Those Small Li'l things is his first book.
An interview with Rahul
Q: How did you conceive the idea of writing ‘Those Small Li’l Things’?
(Smiles) I always wanted to write – ever since I was a child. But somewhere down the line I lost touch with the dream. It was only a year and a half back that I came across this girl on Orkut. She had, in place of her display pic, an image saying ‘HISTORY SUCKS’ written in large bold letters on a history exam question paper. I got chatting with her and tried convincing her that history did not ‘suck’, as she put it, as it was the story of her, mine and our culture. On the other hand, It might be possible that she did not have the best history teacher because of whom she felt so. She did not agree. I tried taking the conversation into a different direction and asked her what she did in her free time. Very enthusiastically she said, “Me! O! I like to shop, watch T.V, movies, go out with friends…” I asked her if she likes to read in her free time and she replied “READ! Why on earth would I do that! Why would I waste my free time studying!!” I tried telling her that reading was not essentially studying but is, perhaps, one of the oldest means of entertainment but she won’t agree. Then I asked her to meet me online the next day. She came online and I sent her a sketchy chapter 1 of the ‘may be tomorrow a book’. She read the chapter within minutes and asked me what happens next. I told her to meet me online the next day again. This went on for a few days and before I knew, I had a novel shaping.
Q: Is this you’re first writing or have you written anything before?
I wrote a few articles for the school and college. (He laughs) But they always got rejected. The editorial board was never able to make sense out of anything I wrote. I remember once I wrote a story about a family of fish who lost their son. Some asked me that if it was the story of my family, and some found it to unrealistic and unbelievable to publish. I wrote a few poems also but I swear I was horrible at poetry. Even today if I come across one written in some ‘rough copy’ back from my school days, I go pink in the face.
Q: Who is your target reader?
Who is my target reader, (he repeats taking a deep breath). Well my target reader is anyone who wants to read a light book. As I have already said, I want the people who ‘don’t read’, to start reading books. That is one sect I want to cater. It turns out that people are also bracketing me in the ‘young-Indian-writer –following - Chetan’ league. So I believe the young reader of today would also find the book interesting. I also believe that anyone who is young at heart or wants to relive his/her youth and childhood should read this book.
Q: What is this book about?
(Smiles again) It is a soft romantic comedy. And that is all I would reveal to you here.
Q: I read a few pages from your book ‘Those Small Li’l Things’ and it has a lot of references to the movies. Why is it so?
I, in my life, have come across, many a times, instances that I see on the big screen and feel ‘O! This happened to me!’ Or at times something happens and I go ‘O! This happened in that movie also!’ I just wanted to share that feeling with the readers.
Q: People are comparing your book with Chetan Bhagat’s books. What is your reaction to that?
(Smiles again) It’s an honour to be compared to Chetan, he is the God. If you ask me, I would say that people say what they feel. It’s their opinion. But my basic and true inspirations come from Cecilia Ahern, Meg Cabot and Sophie Kensilla’s works.
Q: Apart from writing, what else do you do?
Well, films excite me. I have just come back from Ahemdabad after working on a film project. I worked for the art direction, I did some dialogue writing and screenplay writing. I was also the first assistant director for the film. Other than that I like to paint. My first exhibition, which is a group show with other artists, would hopefully be held at epicenter, in Gurgaon from 13th of Dec to 17th of Dec 2008. Apart from that, I am an architect and I have a regular job.
Q: Are there any other projects/novels that you have in mind or intend to work on in the future?
I am currently working on my next book which is a sequel to ‘Those Small Li’l Things.’ Apart form that, I have a collection of short stories that I intend to release on Valentines Day 2010.