BY VISHNU MAKHIJANI
New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) Life is so fragile that even a virus could bring the world to its knees, says London-based author of Indian-origin Vish Dhamija who has eight works of crime-fiction to his credit in the last decade, besides straddling the worlds of marketing and entrepreneurship. He also urges citizens across the world to introspect during these difficult times and think, plan and look after each other.
"The uncertainty of it all made me anxious, and anxiety led to fear. I wish I could say it made me philosophical, but yes there's a lesson in it for all of us. Like Buddha said: 'The trouble is, you think you have time' If anything, this little microorganism has taught me that there isn't a lot of time. Even scarier is the thought that life's so fragile even a virus can bring it to a standstill," Dhamija told IANS in an email interview.
"I know it's a difficult time, but please use this time to think, to plan, to look after each other. I promise you five years from now, when you look back you'll cringe why you didn't use this time better," he added.
"It has made me (like everyone else, I suppose) go through a gamut of emotions. Back in February it all sounded unreal-it was still something that was happening far away, something that would never touch us; remember Ebola, Swine Flu - they all came and went with not many of us affected?. Then it arrived and people started succumbing to it. Governments around the world began announcing lockdowns - something most of us had never heard of. The uncertainty of it all made me anxious, and anxiety led to fear. There's a lesson in it for all of us," he said.
Would these corona-times feature in his next work?
"I'd fail in my duty as an artist if I didn't present 'reality' into my work. It will surely feature in one of my future works. Unfortunately, as of now, I can't say when and how," Dhamija replied.
The pandemic has also put on hold plans to convert three of his novels - The Rita Ferreira triology about a badass Mumbai cop - into a web series.
"Well, someone pressed the pause button on the entire world since March, so it's the same for films. My guess is that it will take some more time for normalcy to return, before we are open totally, and any films/series will actually start getting shot. We'll only know once everything reopens fully," he said.
How did he zero in on a female protagonist for the series? Does he plan to take this forward?
"Trust me, the gender of the protagonist was firmed up long after I had plotted the story. I wanted a protagonist that was fearless but not superhuman, someone who was flawed but fabulous, strong yet not unemotional or detached. I gave it a lot of thought before I decided to sketch DCP Rita Ferreira. As I always tell people I have no doubts that the central character of Rita is pivotal in the success" of the three novels - "Bheendi Bazaar", "Doosra" and "Lipstick", Dhamija explained.
"Of course, I plan to take it forward. I've completed the first draft of the fourth one in the series already," he added.
The Rita Ferreira series has been adapted by producer Vikram Malhotra, known for movies like "Baby", "Airlift", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" et al under his production house Abundantia Entertainment.
What keeps him going?
"To be honest, the stories. Trust me, my mind's crafting stories faster than I can write. As I write one, I can see the face of the next one in the window. I was recently asked by an author to collaborate, and I'm sure they (I won't say she or he) must have thought I'm smug, but the truth is that I have so many of my own story ideas to pen that I cannot afford to write with a partner, as I will only delay their work," Dhamija concluded.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at email@example.com)