Madhav is a logistics professional and a corporate executive and has over three decades of senior management experience in C level positions, with leading multi-nationals in the field. He is a seasoned traveller with a keen interest in sports and movies. Madhav is a voracious reader with a passion for writing and is an active blogger on social media. He lives in Mumbai. A Friend Like Karna, his first novel, was published in October 2017 and won critical acclaim across the world. The Times We Live In is his second work.
Criticspace: Welcome to Criticspace Journals, Madhav. First of all, I would like to know how you decided about the concept that you will write the novel based on the major events like IND-PAK partition and 26/11 attack?
Madhav Thapar: I have heard tales of the India-Pakistan partition since childhood from my elders who were impacted by these events, and these left a deep impression upon me. Regarding 26/11, I was a resident of Mumbai when the attacks occurred. Most of the other true events related to the novel, including The Emergency, The Kashmir insurgency etc also belong to the times I have lived in.
Criticspace: How did you decide about the title of this book, “The Times We Live In”? Please define it.
Madhav Thapar: Many of the events against the backdrop of which my book is set, are true and some of us have lived through most of them. Hence the title “The Times We Live In”.
Criticspace: So far you have been receiving positive responses from the readers. Most of the book critics and bloggers have appreciated the work. How does it feel to you when you get such appreciations?
Madhav Thapar: Appreciation by the readers is a writer’s greatest reward. Especialy for an amateur/part time novelist like myself!
Criticspace: I am really impressed with the first line “Religion does not breed terrorism, hatred does.” Would you please define it once again in brief? It will be really great.
Madhav Thapar: Most acts of terrorism are attributed to religious cults and differences. However, no Religion preaches violence. Violence and hence terrorism arises out of hatred for one’s fellow human beings, whereas all Religions actually preach exactly the opposite: Love and Tolerance for all.
Criticspace: This is your second novel after “A Friend Like Karna”. Please let us know about your journey of writing so far. Like many other authors, do you also feel that writing matures with the development of time?
Madhav Thapar: Both my books are very different, and both were written in a flow. I did not know how the stories would develop or end, even as I was writing them chapter by chapter. For “A Friend Like Karna”, I at least had the reference point of the heroic Karna of the Mahabharata. “The Times We Live In” was a more complex plot and a totally imaginary story, though interwoven with real-life events. It was therefore much more difficult to write. So yes, one can say that the art of writing does evolve as one goes along!
Criticspace: Most of the characters of “The Times We Live In” are taken from your first novel, “A Friend Like Karna”. So was it already decided when you were writing the first one or you have named the characters later on after deciding the concept?
Madhav Thapar: Actually only some of the characters from “A Friend Like Karn” reappear in “The Times We Live In”. Veer, the main protagonist of AFLK returns on the popular demand of some of my readers and so this was a planned move. The others who return are because they fit into the plot and timelines of “The Times We Live In.”
Criticspace: The readers might be interested to know about your taste in literature. What kind of books do you like? Apart from novels, do you also like to write motivational books or other genres?
Madhav Thapar: I read all types of fiction. Some of my favourite authors are James Michener, Leon Uris, Eric Segal, James Clavell, Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse to name only a few.
I do blogging on LinkedIn and other forums on motivational and current topics related to my profession and experiences I general.
Criticspace: In this suspense thriller, the character of Cobra is one of the most important characters in the novel. Please define his character and also let us know how you managed to keep his identity hidden till the end of the novel? It was difficult a work, I feel.
Madhav Thapar: Cobra is born out of hatred. It is the case of a potentially brilliant person who goes on the wrong path because of the incidents in his life. Yes, keeping the suspense was a tough task, but also very satisfying to achieve!
Criticspace: We found your writing skills is of international level. It is lucid and content is rich. How you look Indian way of writing in the 20s century? What changes do you see in the modern way of writing? Do you feel it has been changed by the time?
Madhav Thapar: That is very kind of you and I am humbled by your compliment. I do feel that Indian writing in English has evolved a lot and I read a lot of Indian authors as well. Quite a few are making a name for themselves. There are a lot more variety and research in the writings of Indian novelists now. I give you the example of Ashwin Sanghi who is a master; then there is the age-old charm of the great Ruskin Bond and the depth of a Preeti Shenoy.
Criticspace: Tell us about other interest areas of yours? Apart from writing, what do you like the most? Your readers may be surely interested to know this.
Madhav Thapar: I am an ardent sports fan. I also love to travel and have a great bond with the nature. I am also addicted to my profession of international logistics and towards developing young talent in that field.
Criticspace: We will surely look forward to your next novel. Are you working on the other projects as well? Please tell readers about the same.
Madhav Thapar: Thank you, and yes I am. What shape it will take and in how much time, I don’t know because I write spontaneously; all I can say is that it will be Indian in context and contemporary in its setting.
Criticspace: Many writers and readers may come across this interview. What advice would you like to offer to them who are new to fiction writing? It will be helpful for them.
Madhav Thapar: Write with our heart more than your head, and believe in your ability. Success comes hand in hand with conviction.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.