inKonversation: Jugal Mody – WordMaverick November 2012
A web and social media geek at known brands who dedicates his first book to every computer he has ever used and truly believes in fiction, Jugal Mody, is fun logic-alized. The writer who debuts with marijuana turning savior, zombiefied apocalyptic tale is the WordMaverick of November 2012 and we get to tickle our funny bone once again as we get inKonversation with the wordsmith. Read on:
Congratulations on debuting as a novelist Jugal. Your debut book brings a very interesting combination of satire and religious philosophy together; what was the inspiration?
Thank you, Reshmy. I don’t think I’ll get used to seeing the word “novelist” or “author” next to my name for a while. The inspiration for the book was me wanting to have fun, and pop culture, lots and lots of pop culture. Writing the first draft was quite a ride where if I wasn’t being entertained by a single thought, it wouldn’t go down on paper.
Tell us about the Jugal, who is the not the storyteller and believer in fiction.
Jugal believes in fiction no matter where he is and what he does. Even through the day jobs as the web and social media person at Filmfare and Tehelka, stories have always been a priority, be it telling them or imbibing them in all possible forms.
You have been in some varying roles before; when did the writing bug get to you?
The writing bug infected me, if I remember correctly, in the third year of engineering college. I used to try and write short stories, some poetry and even some longer fiction, most of which did not go anywhere. But it propelled me to look for and join online spaces like Caferati and The Cult, which helped me better my writing.
Talking about Toke equating the higher spiritual plane with being stoned was very intriguing. You would not want all those people in search of god getting stoned. How much of that do you believe?
If people believe there is a god, then they are being fairly self-contradictory by searching for god. Hello? Omnipresence? So I guess, I’d want them to get stoned. Because then they might see the funny in their search.
How did the journey from manuscript to published hardcover go? We usually hear about the initial glitches, how was your journey?
It was quite a beautiful and fairly smooth journey. Between my publisher (Karthika), editor (Ajitha) and agent (Mita), it was quite a riot getting this piece out. It involved fair amounts of intoxication, and cake. Quite a bit of chocolate cake actually. Not to forget my awesome cover artist (Svabhu), although he was not in the same city as us, so he did not get the cake.
Was there any kind of reading you did specifically for Toke?
None, actually. This was a happy first draft, which took me three to four months worth of weekends, flowed quite smoothly. Probably, because I have always binged on way too much pop comedy, stoner movies, and other pop culture phenomena.
Talking about reading share with us your favorites – Book/ Author Genre. How much would you give yourself as a reader on a scale of 5?
No particular genre is my favourite, although here are some of my favourite writers: JD Salinger, Chuck Palahniuk, Craig Clevenger, Warren Ellis, Elmore Leonard and Joss Whedon. Considering, I am still running around trying to promote Toke, I don’t have enough distance to rate myself yet. Maybe in a couple of years, I’ll have some perspective on it.
What is next on the literary front?
The idea is to keep writing till I hit some kind of gold, I guess. Gold would mean that it makes me so happy that I want to share it with others and see if it makes them happy too.
Were you to get a mission from god like in Toke or a call like in One Night at the Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat, would you really beleive it?
I read this line somewhere on the internet and I think it would answer your question best: No matter how old you are, no matter how badass you think you are, if a toddler hands you their ringing toy phone… You answer it.
You claim in the book that it is not a work of fiction, if not a storytelling then would you say is the intent behind Toke.
The real intent behind Toke is a docile take-over of the world’s governments to launch an all out nuclear attack on the moon, while playing the most psychedelic playlist on all the radio stations while every car, mandatory by law, is booming the sounds, so that we can watch every last missile fly towards the moon. And then cookies, lots and lots of cookies, preferably ones that have chocolate fudge in them.
Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
I don’t have much of my own wisdom yet but I’ll pass on what I read from Chuck Palahniuk when I had just started writing: “Don’t write what you won’t read.”