Bombay Fever

by Sidin Vadukut in

My new book is out soon. Pre-order now!
Amazon India. Flipkart.

Where did it come from?

In Switzerland, a woman collapses in the arms of an Indian journalist, her body disintegrating into a puddle of gore. She is the first victim of a monstrous disease that will soon kill hundreds with relentless fury . . .

Who will it kill next?

Unsuspecting men, women and children are ravaged by a killer that experts have never seen before. As the outbreak wreaks its bloody havoc—killing rich and poor, young and old—thousands try to flee . . . including the most powerful man in India.

Can anybody stop it?

All that stands between Mumbai and the apocalypse is a desperate team of doctors, civil servants and scientists. But can they do anything to save this city from the greatest, most horrific crisis it ever seen?

Underrated fiction

by Sidin Vadukut in

COWEN: For fiction, what would be the country or region — now, what’s a country, what’s a region is even up for grabs — that is really underappreciated relative to what it has done? If you say, “Oh, classic Russian fiction,” even if people haven’t read it, people know there’s a lot there. You probably wouldn’t pick that. What’s the counterintuitive pick for most underrated region or country for wonderful fiction?
ORTHOFER: Underrated, I would absolutely think the regional language and literature of India. I think surprisingly, even though, perhaps, English is the main literary language of India and a great deal is locally translated, even there much of the vernacular literature still isn’t available in English.
What one can see of it and also in part hear about it — we’re missing an awful lot. There is a literary culture there, especially, for example, in Bengali, but we’ve had that since Tagore. One of the remarkable things is Tagore won his Nobel prize over a hundred years ago, and there are still novels by him which haven’t been translated into English. He is really a very good novelist.
It’s truly worthwhile, and this goes for many regions. The southern region of Kerala where they write in Malayalam — there’s remarkable literary production there, and we just see so little of it. Also, what is available, because a fair amount is — it tends to be underappreciated, especially in America and the United Kingdom. It hasn’t really reached these shores.

More here. The whole collection of Conversations are great and are also available in podcast form for on-the-go listening.

The text on the back cover of the next book

by Sidin Vadukut in

The Sceptical Patriot: Exploring the Truths behind the Zero and Other Indian Glories

There is really no such thing, ethnically speaking, as an Indian. We are all, every single one of us, the outcomes of centuries of civilizational upheaval. We are part-Greek, part-Mongol, part-Persian, part-British, part-Arab... part-everything. Indeed, a true Indian must be proud not of his or her identity but of the utter lack of identity. We carry in our blood not pure Hindu, Muslim or Christian platelets. On the contrary, an entire planet’s worth of history courses through our veins.

The average Indian does not need the complex education of a genetic scientist to appreciate this lack of identity. He or she just needs to look into his or her lunchbox...

India. A land where history, myth and email forwards have come together to create a sense of a glorious past that is awe-inspiring... and also kind of dubious. But that is what happens when your future is uncertain and your present is unstable—the past gets embellished until it becomes a portent of future greatness.

In The Sceptical Patriot, Sidin Vadukut takes on a catalogue of ‘India’s Greatest Hits’ and ventures to separate the wheat of fact from the chaff of legend. Did India really invent the zero? Has it truly never invaded a foreign country in over 1,000 years? Did Indians actually invent plastic surgery before Europeans? The truth is more interesting—and complicated—than you think. And, as you navigate your way through the amazing maze of legend and fact, you might even discover what it means to be an Indian today...

From the bestselling author of the Dork trilogy—and one of India’s most popular bloggers and columnists—this is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek yet insightful look at Indian self-perception and self-deception.

(Coming soon. In January. Ish.)


Robin "Einstein" Varghese will be with you shortly... again.

by sidin in

Finally. After a delay of CWG proportions, I have just completed the first draft of Dork 2. It happened approximately 5 hours ago. For now I am calling it D2D1. The version you will see in ex-tree/Kindle/iPad/Xoom/modern-dance format will most probably be D2D3. Next the missus will scan the whole thing. Meanwhile I will clean out odds and ends like the author's note, acknowledgements, and making character names and proper nouns consistent. The end result, D2D2, will then go to Penguin. Who will then send feedback. Which I will incorporate into D2D3. Which will go to press.

I know all this sounds terribly boring. But in reality it is spectacularly boring. But it must be done. Personally I am a believer in freestyle spelling. But many readers get very upset and send emails. Which I would like to avoid this time round. So more attention will be paid to grammar and niggling things like tense shifts. (D1 was full of horrendous tense shift things. Did you noticed it?)

D2 carries on a few months after D1 and takes place almost completely in London. This is not because I've been living here of late. It was always planned like that, with D3 happening back in India. But there is really very little London in it. (Unless lots of London will make you buy the book. In which case it is brimming with London.) But it was a pleasant coincidence to write of the same city you are typing in.

Our plan, ever since Penguin and I first discussed it in mid-2008, has been to tell Robin's story in three books, with the ultimate aim being to make him CEO by Book 3. That plan is proceeding well. Otherwise significant changes have been made from my initial plan for the book. There was too much material in the CDs I found under the sink. So I had to cut and chop and shift things a bit. (Ahem.)

Anyway I won't bore you with all those things right now. There is plenty of time for that. Also I need to leave some gossip for marketing no?

Instead let me share some data points that will, I hope, whet your appetite:

  • D2D1 is currently 62770 words long. That will increase by another 2000 words by the time D2D3 is finished.
  • That should translate to approximately 300 pages or so in print. But this is fully variable.
  • Most of the book was written using Scrivener on a desktop and a laptop.
  • A Dropbox account was used to sync the project between both machines.
  • The whole things took around 5 months to write. But most of the writing happened in the last two weeks.
  • Writing was usually done to background music by Earl Klugh, Fourplay, George Benson and this wonderful mix of Rainymood and The Fragrance of Dark Coffee. Anything with lyrics completely distracts me. So does anything that is too fast, too slow and too complicated. Smooth Jazz seems to be working of late.
  • During the writing process I read the following: A history of the Popes, a biography of Paul Dirac, The Eye of the Red Tsar and, as I got closer to the deadline, Michael Palin's Around The World in 80 Days. Reading humour books keep me cheerful. But I am paranoid about being too influenced by what I am reading. Palin's travel non-fiction is most satisfying without leaking into Robin's head. Now I am reading Jo Nesbo's Nemesis.
  • I write entirely in 14-point Georgia font. Have been doing so for 4 or 5 years now.
  • In order to help me focus I removed a bunch of apps from my computers, and stayed off updating Twitter for two weeks. Whenever I wanted a break I played Stick Cricket on the iPhone.
  • It will take at least 6 months from now till release date. Which means November-ish maybe? I hope so
  • I am thinking of doing something online as a bonus track, if you will, for the book.
  • The next project that is already beginning to ferment in the brain is a crime novel. (Yes, I know you are going to make Sreesanth-bowling jokes.) But no, seriously. A crime novel has been obsessing the mind for months. I have written just a little bit. Why not? You live only one life.
  • Otherwise life carries on as usual. Mint, Cricinfo, Twitter and now a little Facebook.
  • I intend to spend the next two weeks doing nothing but watch cricket, eat, cycle a little bit, read and blog/tweet/poke.

What else? Nothing much.

Enough about me. You tell me. What is up?


by sidin in

There are some downsides to locking yourself indoors on a tight writing regimen. You don't get enough sun, exercise or food groups. Also the endeavour comes with a certain amount of guilt if you're doing anything but write. Anything. Even taking bath. The self-inflicted guilt is mind-boggling.

But I also miss reading.

So then I did the math. Unless something drastic happens to medical science or to my income levels, I simply will not live long enough or have enough free time to read all the books, magazines and Wikipedia entries I want to in life. It is physically impossible.

This is a depressing thought no?

But of course I do not want to depress. So please go read this bizarre New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs piece.

Alternately, my woefully neglected Instapaper RSS feed is here.

What else?

Oh yes. There are positive developments on the Cubiclenama front. But I cannot confirm it right now.


P.S. Apologies if these little posts are clogging up your RSS feed. Things will be likewise for a while. Feel free to temporarily bury feed at sea.