Breaking the cliché . In conversation with Bharat Menon, author of Agogos

Spread the love
Breaking the rules is tough. Breaking the cliché is tougher. Breaking the conventional
writing style is toughest. Today I have with me the author who dared to break
all the chains of conventional literature.
I welcome Bharat Menon to share a few words with the virtual
world of literature

Hi Bharat,

Q       Thank
you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your

    Bharat: I was born in a
coastal town of Kozhikode in Kerala. Like many middle class families of the
90s, I followed suite with my parents job transfers. My early schooling and
upbringing was in Delhi and Chennai.  In
2010 I graduated from Loyola College,Chennai with a degree in Commerce. Post my
graduation I started working for a wall street investment bank out of Bangalore
and then Singapore. When the gale of corporate ‘enlightenment’ and monetary
freedom settled, I resigned from work and am currently living in Colombo, Sri

Q       When
did the Investment Banker find interest in literature?

   Bharat: I was always
passionate about reading. Like a true student of literature, my mother- I still
remember- always gave a set of books for my birthday. With the passing of those
days these habits in the stayed with me even during my time as an Investment
Banker, I just continued to surround myself with books. I always believed that
work should never interfere with ones true passions and a corporate life should
just be a necessary veil to ones true following. With that philosophy held
close I innately found time to read and write.

Q       Tell
me about Agogos

   Bharat: Agogos follows a
story of an everyday man’s search for meaning. The protagonist through his
lucid dreams questions and contemplates the nature of social order, himself and
realms of his reality.

As an author I wanted to create an experience beyond the the true prose of
the book. What I wanted the readers to visualize  through the protagonist was their own
interpretations of the characters and situations, which I believed would be
subtly different person to person based on his or her life experiences. The
poetry, illustrations, philosophical themes conveyed was to provide the reader
reasons to further examine the rationale behind it.

Q       Why
this title?

   Bharat: Agogos
entomologically  in greek means ‘leading
to’. I found this to be apt on many fronts, one- the story in itself contained
the protagonist Carl searching to understand the situation of his being, two-
the reader moving towards in interpreting this protagonist and three- a
personal project, as a first time author of my experiment with writing, it was
written with a hope of me leading to finding myself.

Q       Give
us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

   Bharat: Carl is the main
character. As a person, there is nothing special about him at first. He, like
many of us goes to work, dreams and fits ever so quaintly to the monotony of
life of today. Through his entire physical reality he suppresses the urges of
his individualism and follows what society dictates. Even though he doesn’t realise
it himself Carl is subtly special, for his genius lies in trait which sometime
eludes many of us due to fear or misconceptions – the idea of challenging
conformity. I think thats what makes him unique.

Q       What
the reason for your special interest in philosophy?

   Bharat: Philosophy is a
subject to question myself. Eastern philosophy, like the ideas dealt in the
writings of Yoga Vasistha, Nagurjunas Mulamadyamakakarika or the Mandukya
Upanishad have dwelled deeper into the conscious inward self whilst the
writings by western philosophers have for me always been more outward themed.
But all these writings has always made me question, reason and learn, hence my
affiliation to the subject.

Q       You
designed the book cover and the illustrations. Tell me more about it.

   Bharat: Like I mentioned
before I wanted the reader to go beyond the prose, for this i wanted to employ
visual medium for them to reminiscence further in-depth. The front book cover
is a window through which the reader is introduced to peer into his or her and
the protagonists mind. The illustrations in chapter eight originally black
charcoal on canvas was to provide the reader a glimpse into the protagonist’s

Q       Who
is Bharat Menon primarily? An Artist, Writer or Investment Banker.

   Bharat: I am more of a
student than any of the above, a student still in the process of learning the
concepts of art and writing. The circumstances leading up to this book game me
the opportunity to balance the elements or art and writing during the period as
an Investment Banker. So you could say I was all of the above during this
project and a student as the same time.

Q       Why
didn’t you write another book?

   Bharat: After Agogos I had
taken sometime to reorganize my professional life therefore could not devote the
same time and attention to work towards my second book. In the past year I have
been researching, building up characters and outlining my draft for my second
book. Though still in its infancy I was happy with the progress.

Q       Where
did your ideas come from?

   Bharat: Just like my main
character some of my ideas are from my own dreams. To record all of one’s dream
is tough and sometimes near impossible. But to make do best I have always kept
a pen and book by my side during the night in the hope of recording my dream
state by making a sketch or writing down its essence. Rest of it comes from
ones own life experiences, people you meet, places you go to or even sometimes
when your listening to a great piece of music. Being an avid traveler some of
my characters and ideas have been shaped through many of my travels.

Q       Do
you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

   Bharat: I read a lot and
always try to set goals on the books to read. Being a traditional reader I need
to hold that book to find its true purpose. Favorite authors is tough question
as I am usually surrounded by books I get hold of.  Right now at this moment I have by my side
writings of Tolstoy, Kafka, Chaucer, Tagore, Proust and Nietzche.


Q       How
did you market your book?

   Bharat: Being a first time
author marketing was a tough. Cyberwit did its bit to introduce me through
various online sources and press releases. Most of the marketing was through
word of mouth to the general public.

Q       How
was the publishing experience?

  Bharat: Finding a publisher
was harder than writing a book in my case, but the experience lead me to realize many unknown quandaries to the industry. Agogos being my first book led
me to find from scratch a publisher for a very unique genre. One major hurdle
was the marketability and the consumer appetite for such a genre; only few
readers of today welcome such a genre and prefer more mainstream material,
hence many publishers turned down my manuscript. Though it was a long and
sometimes disheartening experience I am extreme grateful to have met Cyberwit
and Karunesh who agreed to publish an unknown first time author.

Q       What
are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

  Bharat: On reviews, for me
personally Agogos was a book that truly spoke through my mind but even after publishing
I was still unhappy with it. Being a first time writer, it is only after the
entire experience do you reminiscence over the process and feel there was so
much more that could have made this book better. Therefore when bad reviews in
come, it reaffirms some of my own critique and on good reviews, it gives me
hope that genres like mine are yet still received with interest.

Q       What’s
your views on social media for marketing?

   Bharat: It is by far the
most powerful tool out there to reach the masses. Though my marketing wasn’t
extensive, the reach I had in conveying my book release was governed my posts
through social media.

Q       If
you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been
and why?

   Bharat: Wow this is a real
tough one, I’ve admired works of Proust, Dante and influenced by works of
Tagore, Kafka, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. But if there was one book I had to
choose it might as well be ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran. It is one of those
semi poetic books which has stood the test of time through its profound
thoughts on simple human subjects. It 
transcends across human cultures with its philosophical and
inspirational views; this is one book I have always kept close to my heart.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
   Bharat: Keep reading,
explore ones consciousness ! Remember ideas may come constantly and sometimes
even at inopportune moments. The method I followed as I said before was to
always have around a pen and a book to jot down ideas and experiences that happens
through ones day. The entire life cycle of writer is tough, even more so if
your a first time writer but the results at the end of the tunnel is something
you would forever cherish.

Q       How
can readers discover more about you and you work?

   Bharat: Below are few of the
links where you can find my work:

site [India]:

Q       Thank
you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in
this interview.

  Bharat: Thank you for this
interview and an opportunity for me to to put words my experiences as an

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *