If you’re a Desi, in this book, you’ll see your flamboyant NRI aunt, your uncle who thinks he’s subtle, your sarcastic and endearing father and your worrisome mother. This book will remind you of home – in all its ridiculous, hilarious glory.
Observant, comical and crafty, PG Bhaskar’s latest book ‘Mad In Heaven’ takes readers through the cramped yet airy streets of Chennai in a swirling of love and typical Indian drama.
With the language of P.G. Wodehouse, Bhaskar’s satirical commentary tells the story of Priyanka Prakash, a girl at the ‘right age for marriage’ who is being set up with Ravi, a well-suited doctor. With all its Indian-family complications and real wacky side characters, ‘Mad in Heaven’ proves to be a lighthearted page-turner that’s sure to make you laugh.
We caught up with Mr. Bhaskar to get an insight into his writing process for the book. Take a look:
1. The Prakash family has hilarious and tenacious characters. What inspiration have you borrowed from your own home for the colorful characters of Pushpa and Prakash, if any?
There may be a little bit (just a little, okay?) of me in Prakash. But Pushpa is entirely fictional. As a couple, however, I borrowed the ‘community differences’ idea from my own marriage. My wife is from the Palakkad community and I’m not. Except that in ‘Mad in Heaven’ the position is reversed. (For reasons of domestic prudence, perhaps!)
2. Do you believe in arranged marriages?
Well, I believe in happy marriages! I have known some wonderful ‘arranged’ ones and I’ve known terrible ones. Just like in any other ‘kind’ of marriage. Who really knows what will work and when?
3. Can you tell us about the setting – streets of Chennai- and how it has influenced the story?
It hasn’t influenced the story at all. The story remained what I intended it to be. But because the characters are based in Chennai, I have used the city as a … well, prop, if you like, to lend its flavor. Like the beach scene at the end. If the story was based elsewhere, say Bangalore, I guess the beach would have been replaced with something else. Though it wouldn’t have been as much fun!
4. What kind of research [or is it just your spot-on imagination] do you conduct when writing layered female characters like Priyanka?
I didn’t have to do any specific research to write this book. There are women everywhere! At home, at work, on facebook! I just try and learn from them. But hey, thanks for describing it as a ‘layered character’! I must say it sounds pretty cool!
5. Tell us about your favorite bit in the plot.
I enjoyed writing about the two classes at Pushpa’s school (Chemistry & Art). I liked Danny’s haircut scene. And I had fun with the scene which describes Vikram’s running. Actually, to be honest, there are so many bits I like, though it’s embarrassing to say about my own book! But this book is definitely my personal favourite among the ones I’ve written.
6. Who is your favorite character and why?
There is just no way I can answer this question. It’s like asking me which part of my body I value most! Even the smallest character has its special role and adds its own little individual masala to the story.
7. How does this book differ from your previous books [in subject, style, treatment]?
Well, my first book ‘Jack Patel’s Dubai Dreams’ had a young male banker as the central character. Now, that was a role I have played in real life; so to some extent, one could call it semi autobiographical. That was followed by a sequel, ‘Corporate Carnival’. Both these books were written in first person.
‘Mad in Heaven’ is pure fiction. It has nothing to do with banking (except that Priyanka happens to be employed in one). Though this book has plenty of male characters, the main character is a girl. That made it a bit more challenging for me. I had to be more careful with her thought-process and language. And I had to keep that consistent throughout the book. That can be tricky sometimes.
Also, this book was written in third person. Now, that makes things easier, in the sense that you don’t need your character to be present at the scene of action. But you do run the risk of getting carried away; and that can affect the flow.