Nihar Bhonsule lives in Mumbai. He enjoys reading various genres like horror, fantasy, crime and thriller. He has spent years of his life in coffee shops and libraries reading through the epic Mahabharata and decoding the various metaphors to discover the deeper philosophy and way of life embedded in the text. He finds contentment in the simplest things like laying in the warm sunlight on a cold day and experiencing petrichor of the initial monsoon. He is a fan of stories that use rich symbolism as a means to probe readers into deeper thought and reasoning.
Tell us about the idea behind ‘The Path Of Sukshmaloka’…
Ans: “Well to tell you the truth, there were many intricate ideas. But I guess the main, thematic idea of the book is a transition: Basically, of human consciousness from the darkness of ignorance and illusion, to the welcoming light of enlightenment. This was the main thematic idea I had for the book. But that is not it. Once anyone begins reading they will discover the more profound ideas in the individual story and character arcs “.
“For example, my protagonist, Prithvi Sen’s story arc has a different idea. It is about how a certain aspect of oneself can lead one into believing that it is a weakness, but actually could be something else…perhaps something positive like strength. So yeah, another idea behind the book is also to encourage readers to think beyond the limits of their fears and insecurities”
That’s really something. Well I read some of your reviews on Amazon and saw many readers talking about elements of Mahabharata and other epics. So did you have any sort of creative influences from the Mahabharata text or television series?
“Oh yes. Of course. I am an ardent fan of Mahabharata, Ramayan and all the various Vedas and Upanisads. A lot of the soul and emotion of the book has come from my extensive research in these areas”.
“Certainly, the Upanisads to quite an extent, were the soul and emotion of the book, but I drew a lot of the creative inspiration even from the profound, Hollywood masterpiece, They Live (1988), created by reverential, Mr. John Carpenter”.
That was a great movie, no doubt. So, this brings me to the next question which was the toughest part to write in the book?
Ans: “The ending was the toughest part. I remember writing roughly ten different endings before I finalised on the current one”.
Ten endings! That must have been a lot of work…
Ans: “Yes it was. I remember spending nights with an espresso and hammering away on my poor laptop”. (laughs)
So while your book is known for its colourful and heroic protagonists, it is also one of the rare books that also gives significant insights and reasoning behind the thoughts and behaviours of the villains. So which would you say is the deadliest villain in ‘The Path of Sukshmaloka’, and why?
Ans: “I think the deadliest villain without doubt, (and I’m sure whoever has read the book, will agree with me on this) is Mukesh Mehra. His character is that of a pathological liar and a psychopath. He is someone who could unleash Hell on Earth if he really existed”.
I think I can relate. What did the process of writing this book teach you?
Ans: “It taught me that, perseverance pays”.
Great! What can you say was your creative aim behind crafting ‘The Path Of Sukshmaloka’?
Ans: “I wanted to weave the first-of-its kind, Super-Hero story, as I have also mentioned in the book’s preface. I wanted it to be unique and meaningful and not just a stylised replica of the content that has already been repeated several times on various platforms”.
“I didn’t want it to be ‘just another super-hero story’ where, the super-hero shows off his powers, beats up the goons and kisses the lady. I was inspired to write a fantasy with a pull of realism to it- A sense of tension-A struggle. I wanted to illustrate how villains may get several steps ahead of a hero, while he/she is battling their own demons and crisis”.
Wow. I guess ‘The Path Of Sukshmaloka’ quite lives up to your emotion behind it, which is commendable. This brings me to the next question, which are 5 books one must read in a lifetime?
Ans: “I can’t cite five individual books, since there are so many good books out there, but I’ll try to stick to the limit as far as possible.
- All the books of Sri-Aurobindo
- Inner Engineering by Sadhguru
- The complete Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
- Dracula by Sir Bram Stoker
- The Aghora II: Kundalini by Robert Svoboda
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo
…these are just to name a few…but yes, the list goes on…”
That is indeed very impressive. So, which are the books that have had powerful impact on your growth as an author?
Ans: “Oh that list is endless (smiles).
Throughout my life till now, I have been quite a fan of lot of genres and authors. In science-fiction horror I enjoyed HP Lovecraft’s works like, The Dunwhich Horror, The Cats of Ulthar, The Colour Out of Space and many others. In horror and modern, American literature I love Stephen King’s works like IT, The Shining, Dolan’s Cadillac, The Gunslinger, Duma Key, The Green Mile, among others.
There is also HG Wells in the sci-fi philosophy genre, with many classics like Time Machine, The Dream, The Apropos Of Dolores, Love and Mr. Lewisham and so on. In other literary classics I also read Alexander Dumas’ , The Count of Montecristo in school days and many others. In crime I enjoyed reading the James Hadley Chase series, along with Mario Puzo’s Sicilian, The Godfather, Omerta and The Last Don. So yeah, there are tons and tons of books that had a major impact on me”.
Wow, your choice in books is truly diverse and worthy of praise. So Nihar, tell us about your plans…is there a sequel coming?
Ans: “Yes definitely. I will be continuing the story of the Sukshmaloka-verse further, since the ending left a lot of questions. I don’t know whether it will be a duology or a trilogy yet, but yes for now, there is definitely a new book coming soon in the Sukshmaloka-verse”.
That’s exciting to hear. Next question…What is literary success for you?
Ans: “It is a term that is much uncomplicated for me. I wouldn’t measure it in monetary means or even valuate it based on recognition and praise, although I don’t mean to say money and praise are not important. They certainly are a factor, but they won’t define literary success. I see success based on a cult following. No matter how many copies are sold, there should always be a segment in that audience who can create a literal cult based on their love and amazement behind the book. That is literary success for me”.
Do you have any message for all the readers?
I think I’ll quote a short sentence from my book here:
“Embrace what you have and you will realise that your feared weakness is actually your strength”
Well readers that’s about it. Hope you enjoyed the conversation with Nihar Bhonsule. ‘The Path Of Sukshmaloka’ is available in both kindle and paperback format on several platforms including Amazon. Do check it out and experience the adventure for yourself!