V S Sury is the author of two popular books – Jestus and Jestus on Rampage. His third book in the row is being written these says and will come to the market soon. V S Sury is a retired engineer who takes a deep interest in writing. Surprisingly enough, he is a bachelor and enjoys the life alone. (Should I say that Bacon was right?) This month and a month back, I got the chances to interact with V S and talk about his writings and books. Here is the interview with this author who will leave you laughing once you go through his book Jestus on Rampage! Very soon, I will also write a book review for his book.
Alok Mishra: How do you see fiction? To you, what does a novel mean?
V S Sury: One’s perception of fiction changes over time, keeping in tune with the way one goes on observing and learning from everything that happens in and around one’s life.
All of us indulge in fiction, in various degrees of course. It is inevitable. The reason is obvious, but hidden! Show me a person who does not sleep and dream – dream in its simple, literal meaning. Show me a kid who does not indulge in fantasy. It is a most natural phenomenon inbuilt into the human psyche.
The only difference for a writer is that he does not hesitate to put into words what everybody does involuntarily. Maybe, he has got just that wee bit of knack of shaping the language he employs, that he chooses.
A novel is, thus, a person’s reaction to life expressed through the medium of words – in case he chooses (and dares!) to do so.
Alok Mishra: How do you see the world of novel in contemporary period? Many new books come out daily and most of them are purely commercial books aimed to sell more copies rather than adding to the list of literature. What do you have to say about it?
V S Sury: I was an engineer by profession and became a writer by accident. I have not studied literature separately. So I can take the liberty of expressing a lenient view of the question raised by you.
First of all, we have to appreciate the fact that there are no clear-cut boundaries in literature—except the very few professionals/purists who prefer to do so – in this modern world of ours. The world has grown unimaginably complex and rich in activities. There is plenty of space for both the amateurs and the professionals in every field, including the dilettante, the irreverent and the adventurous. The adventurous, being so, may be tempted by the alluring come-hither signals of Dame Lucre. (The word, ‘filthy’ associated with her is irrelevant these days.)They may even boast that they are being ‘thoroughly professional’; who can question them?
As they say, ‘different folks, different strokes.’ The modern-day world is vast enough to accommodate them all. The crow caws and the cuckoo coos; both exist.
Alok Mishra: You have chosen to stay aside from the list of authors who aim at selling. You write to give your message to the world. Can I know what is the true purpose of writing?
V S Sury: That is a very perceptive remark you have made. I am a late bloomer, as the saying goes. That fact might have probably contributed to my staying off the majority-course. At this stage in life, I feel more satisfied in writing and completing a book than in pursuing its sales.
You have asked about the true purpose of writing. There is no standard answer to that. It also depends on who you are – a reader, a writer or a critic. I choose to answer from the standpoint of a writer.
Yet, honestly, there need not be a specific purpose too, in this mysterious activity of writing. The same mysterious force in the human collective consciousness which makes us utter words from the moment we are born also goads us equally mysteriously to write poems and stories.
With due apologies to the great Urdu poet I would like to quote his famous lines, importing them to the present context: “This is that Fire, O, Ghalib, that cannot be lighted if you intend to and that Fire which cannot be extinguished if you intend to!” Well, that about says it all.
Alok Mishra: Jestus on Rampage is a quite amazing book. You have created a comic hero that continues its journey where it left in the first book – Jestus. Do you have plans for a third in the row?
V S Sury: Yes, I intend to do a third book on Jestus. There is a reason too, for saying so. I believe that life is abundant with humour, and humour will always find an outlet to express itself. Remember that Jestus is full of zest for jest.
Alok Mishra: How much do you think the social media plays a role in the motives of a modern writer?
V S Sury: Quite a lot, I should say. In the present day, there is nobody who cannot help being ‘bombarded’ by the media – of any sort. I have observed that even the so-called illiterates persons are often quite astonishingly aware of the media, absorbing all its inputs. In such a world, the writer will not be human if he is not influenced by the media. Whether he tries to manipulate it or is being manipulated by it, a subtle kind of symbiotic relationship is built up between the two. It is a different but lively story. This is more so with the younger generation which possesses immense vibrating energy.
Alok Mishra: Jestus on Rampage is a kind of book that does not let you keep it aside. You have, in a way, kept the readers stuck to the book even if it’s a lengthy one. How did you do it? What was your motivation behind writing such an amusing book?
V S Sury: It was pure instinct at work, I must confess. Instinct told me that when a humorous narration, will tend to be dull if it is not held up at regular intervals by suitable action. Once I commenced weaving the scenes of action, I found to my surprise that one scene of action automatically gave birth to its next one; and so on. At one stage of its writing, it looked as if the story itself was dictating how long it should be. That, I suppose is the reason for the book being ‘lengthy’ as you say. But honestly, this is not a lengthy book; compare it to some of the books written by the inimitable, maestro, Tom Clancy. A few years back I read the book, ‘The Chessmaster and His Moves’ by Raja Rao. It ran to a thousand pages! (Yet each sentence of that artist read like a dainty ditty.)
Alok Mishra: What can we expect from Jestus in the next book? Any hints for the curious readers, dear Sury?
V S Sury: You said it! The temptation to complete a trilogy is too strong to resist. (As the famous poet said, even the cuckoo sings thrice.)
Our man with the thousand names will continue to play his indecipherable and yet loveable pranks. There will, of course, be enough action and twists to keep the reader hooked.
Hint: I went to write the third book of the series, but was sidetracked by science! The result is a humour-soaked ‘popular’ book on science, ‘Fentoscience’. Hopefully, the book will be released in the near future. Still, not to worry; our dear Professor is the hero of the book!
Alok Mishra: Many thanks for your time and quite witty answers to the questions, dear Sury! Wish you all the best for your coming book!