“In India, people want to become engineers, doctors, professors, businessmen, film actors and what not but I haven’t seen people talking about becoming scientists as a career. So I decided to do something different and make a scientist my lead character.” – Rajeev Saxena
Today we have with us Rajeev Saxena author of Pinto Has An Idea.
Rajeev did his Bachelor of Technology from IIT Kanpur, India in 1994. He currently lives in Dallas, USA. From the days of living on farms in his grandparents’ village, he has been in touch with his roots throughout his life. Charity and voluntary work is also his passion.
The book Pinto Has an Idea is the tale of Dr Pinto, a small-town boy, an IITian and a scientist working in MIT, who suddenly experiences a life-changing revelation in the early days of his research, throwing away his work on theoretical physics and setting out to solve the practical everyday problems of the world he lives in.
Interview with the author
Did you always wanted to be a writer?
The short answer is yes. But it took sometime before I got the motivation and inspiration to write this book. The writer in me appeared when I was probably eight and wrote a few short stories. My father was very impressed with it and shared with his friends who also appreciated it. Then I came up with another idea, which was to publish something in a newspaper. Someone told me that it’s much easier to publish your article as ‘Letters to Editor’. The next problem was what to write about. Mostly you’d see letters about political issues and as a kid you don’t understand that well. Back in those days, a TV soap Opera Rajani was very popular and viewers would write a lot about it in the newspapers. I didn’t have TV at home but I prepared my letter to editor about Rajani after reading it on the newspapers only. Really I can’t describe my feeling when I saw my article printed in a newspaper under letters to editor. Later the competition, the social pressure to settle down in your career and then professional engagements never allowed my writing journey to take its full flight. You may also call them excuses. But the bottom line is that I wanted to be a published writer for sure. The journey has started and It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be an eventful and a memorable journey.
Tell us something about yourself?
I find this question quite difficult to answer. Everyone (it’s not about me) has so many roles and so many talents but you’d probably want to hear what really matters in this context. I’m a son, a husband, a father and an engineer. In a day I tend to change from one role to the other and I tend to wear them perfectly.
After completing my engineering from IIT, Kanpur I started working in the corporate world and got a chance to visit several places around the world as part of my job. Coming from an educated family, I grew up with books so books are a passion for me. I’m a person who is never satisfied with the present and always think about the future…to do something new. May be this is an abstract introduction about me but that’s how I am and it helps me as a writer.
What or who is your inspiration behind your debut novel, Pinto has an Idea?
The biggest inspiration is Pinto…a character I never met in real life but I’m pretty sure a person like him exists. There are a few other things as well which motivated me to write the novel. In India, people want to become engineers, doctors, professors, businessmen, film actors and what not but I haven’t seen people talking about becoming scientists as a career. So I decided to do something different and make a scientist my lead character. I also found that there are several novels available in the market about romance in engineering colleges. So the challenge was to write something new as well as entertaining, interesting and humorous. Finally, with so many problems in the world, how can we address them in an entertaining fashion? That was another motivation for me to write and inculcate innovation, humour and romance altogether.
How long did it take you to complete your first draft?
I completed the first draft in 6 months but I completely threw it away as there was no story in it. It was a non-fictional book. I got some very constructive feedback that it’s better to write a book which has a story in it, that completely changed the direction of my writing. It took another year to finish the book…then a fiction romance novel was born. The good part was that I literally destroyed the previous draft so that the flow of the story is very natural. When searching for a good publisher I kept on improving the book which became a blessing in disguise and made me work another one year. So it’s hard work of 2.5 years at the very least.
Tell us your journey as an author?
Most people never knew me to be a writer so, they couldn’t believe in the beginning that I was planning on writing a book. Even my family in the beginning thought this is yet another idea which will go away after some time. So I had to do a little hard work to convince people that I’m going to be an author. In fact, people in my friend circle knew me as an amateur singer rather than a writer. Then the biggest challenge was to find a publisher. I’ve mentioned in several other interviews that it was the toughest task so far in the book writing process…especially sitting in US and searching for a publisher in India. In fact, I can write a book about the publishing process.
Finally hard work, a bit of luck and a lot of patience paid off. By God’s grace I got one of the most renowned publishers.
What are your expectations from your book?
Just like any other author, my expectation is that readers like my novel, it entertains them and I get inspiration to write another book soon.
Also another item in my wish list is that the book is circulated to as many as cities, book stores, readers, libraries and to every nook and corner. I know it’s not possible for the first book but with the backing of my great publisher I’m confident that the word will spread soon.
So far I’ve gotten a tremendous support from my readers so am really thankful to them. The book was out of stock on Flipkart after a few days.
Which is your favorite character from the book and why?
Obviously it is Dr. Pinto. Pinto gave up his shining career to change the society through his innovations. He is intelligent, passionate and has a very special characteristic in his personality i.e. he can convert his laziness to opportunities. One can understand that point only after reading the book. Also he is not a perfect man. At times he ignores his family and gives more preference to his work without understanding that he is Dr. Pinto just because of his family. Lavanya’s character is equally important. She is a lady of courage, firm determination and a person who likes to do what she feels right without thinking about consequences. India is not a great country for divorced people especially for ladies. It’s very inspiring to see how Lavanya, a divorcee, faces the world and still achieves things a normal person could not.
A message you would like to share with the readers.
Every one of us has a Pinto and a Lavanya in them. I’m just trying to awaken that spirit. You just need to think a little bit out of the box and you can change the world.
Now even if you don’t want to do that, just enjoy Pinto’s and Lavanya’s journey through this book. One of my readers rightly said that ‘Pinto Has An Idea cannot be bound to a genre.’ I’ve tried to make sure that the book is for all, so no matter what age group you are in (as long as you are 16), what background you have, whether you are looking for a casual read or an intellectual interaction this book is for you.
Please shower your love.
Follow The Author @
About the book
Title : Pinto Has an Idea
Publisher : Bloomsbury India
The Story :
Young Pinto has from his childhood been an out-of-the box thinker, finding solutions in his everyday surroundings to a myriad ancient global problems. A certain machine he invents in his childhood makes him a hero in his village but it’s not sufficient to change the mindset of naysayers for Pinto to pursue his career in hardcore science.
Pinto Has an Idea is the tale of Dr Pinto, a small-town boy, an IITian and a scientist working in MIT, who suddenly experiences a life-changing revelation in the early days of his research, throwing away his work on theoretical physics and setting out to solve the practical everyday problems of the world he lives in.
Returning to his native India, he finds his noble quest beset by unexpected adversaries, obstacles and trials, but emerges triumphant from each battle.
Pinto does not like to appear a romantic person, and keeps women at bay. But when Lavanya returns to haunt his life, and eventually shoe-horns him into marriage, he obligingly falls in love. Because Lavanya is not just a pretty face, she’s his partner in research. And Pinto, a newbie in romance, discovers a whole new craze.
But life takes directions never aimed for. Pinto is on the road to becoming rich and famous. He invents a mechanism to eradicate corruption in the land, and in that process moves towards politics. That impinges on the couple’s relationship so severely that Lavanya disappears suddenly without telling Pinto. Why does she leave their child with Pinto? Will he lose his greatest ‘idea’, Lavanya, and thereby, himself? Sure, Pinto’s ideas bring dramatic changes to society. But how much romance can a scientist handle as well?
Rajeev Saxena, in his debut novel, shows you just how much.