The Immortals: Amish Tripathi In Conversation With Meru Gokhale

Million dollar author of the Shiva trilogy, Amish Tripathi was greeted by a loud round of applause by the audience at the Google Mughal tent as he entered the platform for his session. Tripathi began by saying that he had always wanted to be historian but history wasn’t a wise option. He worked in the banking industry for 14 years, since he initially didn’t have the passion for writing. He added said that most of his friends from college were stunned when he started writing – “Saala Amish ne kitaab kaise likh diya” – although he already wrote poems for his wife.

On being asked about his family’s religious background, Tripathi explained that his grandfather was a pandit in Banaras and also a Sanskrit teacher. He said that his parents were religious too but he had been an atheist for 10-12 years of his earlier life, because during his college days in the 90s, it was an unfortunate decade for India, especially in Mumbai with religious riots, religious extremism and terror attacks, and he and his friends had blamed religion for it. Tripathi said that his father tried a lot to persuade him to become a believer again, but he had been too young and stubborn to listen. It was only a decade later when he started writing his first novel that he was drawn to the scriptures and religion again.

On being asked what advice he had for the budding writer, Tripathi said that they should keep three things in mind: firstly, “write with your heart as the book serves the purpose of the soul”, secondly, have a stable job side by side, to pay your bills or have a ‘rich daddy’, and lastly, be pragmatic and practical while marketing your book.

On being asked if he was afraid there might be a controversy over his books, since he had modified some facts of Hindu mythology, Tripathi responded that if you want to write a book based on mythology, there was no better country than India. He went on to add that “truth is one but the wise may speak as many”.

Tripathi thanked his literary agent Anuj Bahri for supporting him in publishing the book when he was rejected by almost 20 publishers, as they thought that it would never appeal to India’s youth. Editorial director of Vintage books India, Meru Gokhale congratulated Amish, as Bollywood director Karan Johar has recently bought the movie rights for the film of The Immortals of Meluha, and Tripathi is also now involved in some other Hollywood ventures.

Amish ended the session describing God as Ekam, which is Sanskrit for “one, single, and solitary,” and emphasized that God never picks sides. He said that “nobody is right or wrong, it’s all about perspectives,” one of the key themes running through his novels.

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