Dr. Makarand Lohire Grant Medical College, Mumbai (2009), is currently undergoing his rural stint working towards bringing affordable healthcare & fulfilling his dream of making a difference in the lives of people. He writes what he observes during his travels to Mumbai, the villages and back.
Interview with Makarand Lohire
Mumbai based medical officer Dr. Makarand Lohire made a scintillating entry into the world of writing with his excellent debut novel “Here sat a Key maker”, a story of an orphan key maker’s dramatic journey and discovering himself on the backdrop of glitz, glamour, & crime in the dream city of Mumbai.
Avid reader and passionate writer Makarand Lohire has written several short stories and loves to note down everything he observes. In a candid interview with Sushmita Bose, the author talks about his books, life and future plans.
Congratulations on the release of your debut novel ‘Here sat a Key maker’.
Thank you very much.
What kind of feedback you have been receiving?
Being a debutant author and totally new to this field, I wasn’t expecting much a response initially. It was like I just wanted to make an entry to this world. But, when the book came in the markets, within a few weeks, I started getting compliments from my colleagues at first, and then I thought they were just being nice to me.
But, within a few weeks when I got the response from anonymous readers through mails and networking sites, I was really happy. And after I got the records for book sale, I seriously thought this was not just an entry, it was much better than that. So, by God’s grace, it has been a fabulous response over all.
What was the motivation behind the amazing portrayal of Javid’s life?
The idea to consider a key maker as central character came to my mind, while roaming through the streets of Byculla. I usually stayed at the hostel of J.J Hospital, and whenever I used to get time, I would step out and just observe the people, their life.
And fortunately, there are many key makers in that area of Umar Khadi and Chord bazaar in Byculla. A thought that these people in spite of having such a unique talent of making duplicates, are earning just a few bucks a day, pinched me to consider him as a prime character.
Are the incidents and narrations in ‘Here sat a Key maker’ completely fictional? Tell us briefly how you have come up with the story?
See, I consider that a fictional story can never be completely fictional; it is always inspired by real events. Fiction is just a cocktail of real events. Likewise, ‘Here sat a key maker’ isn’t completely fictional, I have used the events of my life, my friends life and what I have observed while practicing during my urban and rural postings.
And talking about the main storyline, I have always liked suspense thriller kind of stories, so that influence on me compelled me to turn it to a suspense thriller. To sum it all, I have created a fictional necklace made of real diamonds.
Are the central characters like Jived, Shashank and Piety based on real persons known to you?
Yes they are actually, but they have a fictional component too. Like there is a key maker named Jived in Umar Khadi, I spoke to him for months, to get the information for shaping the character, the way key makers work with police, their records, and their lifestyle. He really helped me a lot.
Shashank’s character is quite similar to mine, but as I said about the fictional component, I never conned anybody as he did (laughs). Piety’s character (stays mute for a few seconds) is based on a girl in my college, whose name I don’t want to disclose (smiles), but as I said, it had a fictional component too.
Are there any plans afoot to make a film out of the book?
Frankly speaking, I wrote this story as a script initially, it was bilingual. The story has been told in two versions, one is Shashank’s and the other is Javid’s. I wrote it as a script with Shashank’s version in English and Javid’s version in Hindi. But when I didn’t get time to learn professional scriptwriting, it was transformed to a full fledged English novel.
And now, I and my friends have started a small filmmaking firm named Postedit, and we are in the process of releasing some short films. So a few years down the lane, surely I have plans to make a film based on the book, but till then I will be really happy if some established filmmaker opts for that.
Being a debutant author did you face any kind of difficulties with publishing the book?
I tried for almost a year and a half before I got a confirmation mail from Srishti publishers. I mean, I tried for other publishers too, but some never responded while some agreed on some unacceptable terms. I am really thankful to Srishti publishers for making me an author. They guided me throughout the process and so talking about Srishti, I can surely tell you I didn’t face any difficulty at all.
Was writing comes easy to you?
Talking about writing, when you believe in yourself, nothing is impossible. I started writing with some short stories, and when they got a good response, I thought of writing a novel.
Tell us briefly about your journey from being a doctor to an author.
Its pleasant (laughs) I am loving it. To pen down something that you have seen or experienced and making the readers feel the same, is a great feeling. Though it was tough to enter into a different profession altogether, by God’s blessings, finally it all happened.
A major part of my writing skills comes from my observation while I practice, so being a doctor has helped me a lot to get to know different kind of people, their emotions.
Do you have anything to say about the support you got from your family and friends while writing the book?
Thank you Depend, Hari and Rasheed. If my book has four pillars, these are the other three. Of course I am the fourth one (laughs). They have helped me a lot with the research, editing, moral support, inspiration and I don’t remember what more.
My family as always has supported me, there was a time when I was totally dejected and I wanted to give up my dream to get the book published, but my family has always been there to encourage me to keep trying.
How do you manage to find time for writing from your busy schedule?
Yes, it was tough to find time, but when someone is really mad over achieving something, that craze drives him to achieve that. I used to write till late nights, and the thinking process about the story, the twists, the storyline would stay in my mind every time, while travelling, while eating, while at the place where most people think (laughs). I was literally mad to make it better and better.
What kind of books do you like to read? Who are your favourite authors?
I like suspense thrillers a lot. They keep you gripped throughout the read. Also I do like the ones which are philosophical, the humorous ones. My favorite authors are Sidney Sheldon, Paul Coelho, Chetan Bhagat and Arundhati Roy
Any other projects or plots you are working at? Would you like to share some details?
Yes, I am working over a few projects. The next book that I am working over is an Anthology of short stories. At the same time, I have a concept that I am working over. I am sorry I can’t share the entire plot, but I can tell you that it will surely have a suspense element.
As of now, I can tell you that it’s a story which plays with emotions and thinking process of people from all age groups. And also, in a joint venture with my friends, a different project is in the process.
Do you have any message for your readers?
Readers, thank you very much for supporting me so far, and loving my work. Keep showing your love. It is your love that encourages me to improve further. And those who haven’t read HSAKM (Here sat a key maker) yet, go grab your copy and experience the thrilling ride through the minds of different strata of society. I am sure your outlook for Mumbai will change after you read the book.
Thank you Makarand for your time! We shall meet again!
Thank you Sushmita. It was great talking to you and I feel privileged to be connected with Sprectalhues.That was Dr. Makarand Loire! Spectral hues wishes him glorious success and hopes he would come up with many more remarkable books.
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