Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An upfront conversation with Rohan Dahiya

Rohan Dahiya, author of ‘Grey Skies’ says that, “Well as everything there are two sides to both the story and the characters. The word Grey most aptly refers to the state of limbo, a nonexistence between black and white, of indecision and uncertainty, and it definitely is present in these people.”

In an exclusive interview with Strokes of Pen, Rohan shares his experience that went behind penning this book. Here’s the detail of the interview:

1. Tell us something about the title of the story, ‘Grey Skies.’ How did you choose this one?

Rohan: The idea behind the title of the book was to really drive home the sense of a grim overcast, which runs through the book. It had to echo the feeling that the characters can’t really escape the dark clouds that seem to always follow them as a metaphor of their psychoses. The second half of the title The Quiet Things Nobody Knows resonates my attempt at trying to give some form through words to the feelings which we experience but can never really articulate. I was also attracted to the idea of having a lengthy title because it stands out in today’s age of short forms and hash tags.

2. Grey in literature is often referred to something or someone who has shades of good and bad both. Does that imply in this novel too?

Rohan: Well as everything there are two sides to both the story and the characters. The word Grey most aptly refers to the state of limbo, a nonexistence between black and white, of indecision and uncertainty, and it definitely is present in these people. I feel that they’re all mostly just somewhere between good and bad people. The point is – do you ever really know if anyone is good or bad? And if you can answer that then how strong is your conviction that you really know them?

3. How many characters are there in novel? Are all characters important or we will get to see some protagonists and antagonist too.

Rohan : The story revolves around six main characters out of whom four are given the spotlight as they come forward and tell their stories. Although I had initially thought of protagonists and antagonists, the lines blurred as the novel progressed and at its culmination there was no longer a distinction between them, and now they’re both and neither I guess.

4. What exactly is the theme/plot of the story? Is it changing circumstances or changing people?

Rohan: At its most basic level, the story is about how as much as people change, there are certain things about them that can never really change or just go away. The theme is that these people aren’t your plain folks from next door, they’re beautiful and they know how good they look, but they’re suffering from the inside, and no matter where they go, what they do, they are diseased with these psychological impairments that bring them down. And it’s about how they fall in and out of love, it’s about how they deal with their relationships and ultimately, it’s about hope.

5. What inspired you to write a novel on this theme?

Rohan : At the beginning what inspired me to write on this theme was a deeper exploration of the human condition, to examine human relationships through the lens of someone who has a disorder, a psychological impediment. Then I realized how absolutely sick I was of reading novels where the main characters were just your average classmates, the girl next door whom no one looked at, the middle class boy who was bullied. I saw how formulaic it was becoming to take such a character out of his/her simple life and elevate them to something greater. I wanted to talk about the other side, the kind of people who make you get up and notice them when they enter a room, and I wanted to explore the kind of power that comes with that knowledge.

6. How long has it been since you ventured into writing?

Rohan: I guess you could say I’ve been writing ever since I got my first little How To Write book with comical lettering in the fifth grade. I got the taste for serious writing when I was still in school though, the idea for Grey Skies first came to me when I would have been in the tenth grade or so, but it really began taking shape much later.

7. How long did it take to finish the novel?

Rohan : It took me about four years to write this novel, and of course it took the backseat a lot in this duration.

8. How has been the response so far on ‘Grey Skies?’

Rohan: The response has genuinely been very good and not just by the people who knew I’ve been writing this for as long as I have. The thing is it’s a very different concept; this doesn’t have the same reliability as other contemporary Indian fiction and it doesn’t have a conventional theme so even while writing this I always knew that it would take people time to really accept not only what the book is about but also my writing style itself.

9. What are your future plans?

Rohan: It’s a bit embarrassing but I’d started research for my second novel before Grey Skies was even published. I gave myself maybe a few weeks from handing in the final manuscript before I begun, and although I can’t say much just yet I definitely know that whilst I still have the luxury of time, I want to experiment with as many genres of fiction (and hopefully non-fiction one day) as I can. I never want to write to anyone’s expectations.

10. Anything you would like our readers to know.

Rohan: I’m an open book! :)


ali osman said...

Well its always refreshing to come up with new ideas and make a powerful impact with your work. The usual has to be replaced by the unconventional and bring forth the stories that have never been read before. The writer seems to be pretty confident with his work and i wish him the best for his future ventures and see what all he has gotten in store for his audience. All the best!!

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