#PunekarInFocus: Author Amit Mansukhani

An interview with author Amit Mansukhani.

Amit02Writer-turned-dentist (yes, that’s right), Amit Mansukhani is a young man full of wit, unabashed honesty, and the best interest of the world at heart. He sees the world not through the beer goggles of the average 25-year-old, but through the eyes of a cynic. A cynic who quickly grew tired of the sexism, racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination among the many other ailments that plague the earth and it’s humans. Out of his sheer frustration, waiting time between patients, and hours of buses, trains and cabs was born a book that every millennial can relate to – Thought Harbour. Here’s a chat with him…

Did you always want to become a writer?

Starting with every reporter’s favourite question! As a kid, what did you dream to grow up and do? Amit Mansukhani jokes, “I always wanted to date a Victoria’s Secret model!” In reality though, he has always been passionate about writing, right from the days of writing essays in schools. As an avid reader, the creativity came easily to him. By profession, Amit has pursued cosmetic dentistry, which he’s equally passionate about. He says dentistry was a spur of a moment decision for him, but more on that another time. “Besides,” he says flashing a wide grin with perfect teeth, “writing will pay for my dentristry habit.”

What drove you to write the book?

Not unlike the main character of his book, Amit often found himself disgruntled with human beings and their sexism, racism, homophobia and religious discrimination. Amit comes from a family in which both he and his sister were always treated equally. But sadly he noticed that most of the world does not seem to do so. He says, “Sexism infuriates me, and it’s the worst in our country.” Thus the book began as a means to vent about all that is wrong with this world and it’s inhabitants. “Everyone’s pissed off after years of med-school,” he explains, “if you listen, you’ll hear an audible chorus of people agreeing with you on that. Everyone needs a way to vent. This was mine.”

How did the concept of the story evolve, did you always have it in mind?

Not quite. “I blabber a lot, but nobody wants to listen to me, so I began to write my shit down,” he says, “So 40% of the book is my conversations with myself. I even jotted down my puns whenever I said something witty.” Amit started writing in October 2013 when he was 23, and finished the book in about two and a half, three years. Like every youngster in their 20’s, he too was learning and maturing by the day. By the time he reached chapters 9, 10 and 11, he looked back at what he had written and decided to rewrite everything! He then moved on to chapters 9 through 14.

What other struggles did you face as an author?

Being a first time author, naturally there was some self-doubt involved. Yet the biggest challenge wasn’t writing the book he says, his biggest challenge is going to be to get people to read it. Amit feels that there’s no market for authors like him in this country. Though there may be many like him, unfortunately they never make it to the bookshelves, because everyone is still reading mythology. “Don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t all Holi and Diwali for us, there’s more to talk about, more pressing issues, Amit says. We’ve already written the Mahabarata, why aren’t we writing anything different?”

That Marketing Strategy Though…

Amit had put a very clever marketing strategy in place before the book launch, where his friends from all over the world had posted pictures on Facebook wearing Thought Harbor T-shirts. Nobody disclosed what it was about until the launch of the book. A very clever technique indeed that created enough buzz that Facebook made #ThoughtHarbour an official hashtag with a 1000+ posts about it. When asked about it, Amit says, “Fully clothed, mediocre looking men cannot break the internet. Only make a slight dent in it.”

Any plans to continue as a writer?

“Definitely! I already have the next two books in my head I want to write a dozen books before I die, I am really passionate about writing.” When asked whether he’s going to continue the same genre, he repied “Who wants to eat the same thing everytime?”

From the excerpts of the book read to me in the author’s own voice, it is definitely a must read piece that delves into deeper issues with a twist of dark humour. And Mister Pussycat, in his pink vest and hotpants is someone you definitely need to meet through the pages of the book. The book is available all over the world on Amazon. Last but not the least, when Amit was asked what the readers should expect, he says, “They should expect to think that I need to be institutionalised.”

Summary of the book:

On a round planet full of square people, a young man, disgruntled with life owing to the prevalence of evil in the form of paan (Betel Nut Juice), decides to take His own life. Surrounded by square people whose unchecked fornication only adds to matters such as sexism, racism, homophobia and religious discrimination, He is of the opinion that the world’s chances against implosion are bleak.
The demons of His past being impetus enough, His act transports Him in time and space to a parallel universe. Here He encounters ‘a calamity, a catastrophe, a discovery’ named Mister Pussycat, who chaperones Him back to an existence He had not expected to miss.
At the end of this feel good story, perhaps you would be better poised to answer a question that has plagued me during the telling of this tale: How many thoughts could a Thought Harbour harbour, if a Thought Harbour could harbour thoughts?
As the author of His story, I would like to invite you, lucky reader, to trample over the gyri and sulci of His mind, that your eyes may be better trained to see the round planet I suspect you exist on!

You can purchase the book online here.