Mr. Murlidhar Srivastava, author of Love, Destiny... and those Two Days was born in Patna into a traditional family. He completed his graduation and then pursued management courses in marketing. He joined a central public sector undertaking its marketing division and worked for many years before opting to leave and start his own venture in an IT enabled service. He currently lives in Patna itself.
MD spends most of his free time listening to old Hindi songs. He absolutely adores Lataji’s golden voice which works like "magic" whenever he is tense or burdened with work. He also enjoys watching cricket or comedy shows on TV, and has a green thumb.
He can be emailed at-
His Facebook page is- www.facebook.com/LoveDestinyAndThoseTwoDays
And here's the link to his website- www.lovedestinyandthosetwodays.in
Arpita was the chosen one to review his debut novel and we were glad she could also be free and willing much to have this wonderful and insightful talk with the author. We loved her review, and hope her interview would interest you too.
Q) “Love, Destiny... and those two days” is particularly interesting because it looks at the ‘luck factor’ in the success of a love story from a different angle. How did you come around to writing a plot that revolves around astrological predictions?
A) I always planned to give my first book a plot which will make it a little different from the rest- a plot or a subject which has not been touched upon much. Maybe I had been thinking that I will stand out. Yes, it was quite an unusual and hard decision at the first, to incorporate astrology in a love story plot- but I went ahead. Now coming to astrology, I am not totally averse to it but what I am against is its overdose which I am watching these days in different media; particularly, our TV channels are full of such shows. The more we make people to believe such incredulous stories, the harder it gets for them to think rationally. It in fact weakens one’s ability to realistically look at thing or a problem. These thoughts were instrumental in deciding to write a love story revolving around astrological predictions as it made me feel that it would not only give a fresh and new kind of a subject to the readers but also a sound message to both the youth as well as the elders to not let their life run by these superstitions.
Q) The book has a quite a few underlying themes if you read between the lines. You have managed to touch upon different aspects of married life through the portrayal of characters like Chandani, Sandip and Lata. What would you say is the most important message that the book sends across to the reader?
A) So far as the Indian marriage scenario is concerned there are some typical issues in Indian marriages in almost every family and every part, which if not looked properly and at the proper time will lead to many problems later in the married life – be it arranged or a love marriage.
Faith and trust are very important in a married relationship. Family’s compatibility is very important for a marriage to sustain. Continuous fights and brawls in a married life are the most usual reasons which can give rise to an extra marital relationship. Love marriage is still not very well accepted by parents in most of the families. Parents in an arranged marriage go more by their own fascinations than seeing it from their daughter/son’ perspective…
Q) The bond between Chandani and her cousin Mayur, the protagonist, seems to be strong and certainly is charming. He takes an active part in getting her married and watches out for her like the ideal elder brother. But one does not really get to know much about Chandani’s own dreams and personal ambitions until later in the story. Does it have anything to do with a girl not getting a say in her own marriage until and unless things get out of hand?
A) To some extent yes. As said earlier, certain issues must be properly seen and properly dealt with at the proper time. Chandani’s character and her marriage portrayal try to depict problems in an arranged marriage. There were many issues on which the marriage did not seem feasible and those were strongly argued by his brother Mayur. But her parents were obsessed with their own points and did not bother to look at the things from her daughter’s perspective. Chandani coming from a nuclear family was not able to adjust and remain confined in a joint family system. She had ambitions in life other than being an ideal home maker which her parents could not assess and ultimately these led to conflict and separation. So yes I conclude that every girl must come forward with her ambitions, likes, dislikes even in an arranged marriage and those must be given ultimate weightage much above than matching horoscopes, and innumerable other worthless issues.
A) An author gives birth and raises every character of the book as per his story line. It is no wonder then that he starts liking each and every character as his child as the writing progresses. But so far as one favourite character is concerned, Lata’s character is one with whom everyone can relate easily and so am I. She is very practical, full of life and always has a positive attitude while looking at a problem, which may be considered as one of the greatest assets a person can have -- Look Positive even in Negative situation. She is full of confidence and wins her husband, who is first haunted by his past and then sandwiched between his past and present when he meets his yesteryear girl again, only by showing a positive attitude and having full faith in him.
Q) Well, Lata- Mayur’s wife- happens to be my favourite character too! Writers usually tend to give the lovers a happy ending but here we see them getting married to different people, and at least one of those people turns out to be quite likeable. It puts the reader in a difficult position, making one unsure about whose side to be on. What was the reason behind giving Mayur and Shobha a different ending?
A) See, at the very outset, I promote it as a love story with a difference. This love story has a very unusual and uncommon plot so let there be an unusual end as well. But then it is also a fact that all love stories do not always end happily. Do they? Even the most passionate and true love may meet a debacle and reasons could be many. Every time everything does not go as planned and that is a more ‘life-like’ situation than every time the boy and girl meets in a story. The question is ‘then what?’ – Accept the life for what it is and live in present. One will sympathise with Shobha in the end for her sacrifice and then realisation but she was only herself to blame and that sets an eye opener for the readers. Yes, as you told, character of Lata is quite likeable and that exactly was my aim too, so that readers will accept that an understanding, caring and compassionate life partner and the family atmosphere which comes as a result of it, are very important in a married life to keep the bonding of husband-wife and their children always intact and strong even in adverse situations.
Q) The climax of the plot was very astonishing- I can’t spoil the fun by giving away the details but there’s the confrontation between Mayur and Shobha where things take a very filmy turn when he forces her to tell him the truth. Was this purely fiction? And if not, then how much of the story is inspired from real life?
A) Many incidents and happenings observed here and there in my life might have their influence on the story line but so far as the climax which you are referring to is concerned, it is purely fictional. The only thought that went into me at that point of writing was that some grave and extraordinary incident must take place for a girl to reveal something which she did not do in the beginning, passed her entire youth and was holding it for many many years now. I don’t disagree that some thing seen filmy anytime [I am not sure though] might have influenced me to go to a climax situation like that.
Q) Coming to your choice of books, which novel are you currently reading and which would you say is your all time favourite?
A) Previously I liked reading thriller fictions from James Hadley chase to Sidney Sheldon and a few of Dan Brown’s but it has changed over the time and today I can say that there is no particular genre as my favourite and read all sort of things which is able to bind the interest in its first few pages. But I always preferred reading English fiction by Indian writers. Unfortunately there were not many Indian writers in English fiction previously but things have changed dramatically in the last decade making the market flooded with Indian writer’s books. Chetan Bhagat’s books are definitely very interesting with morale and I can gladly say his ‘Five Point Someone’ is one of the best that I have read.
Q) What are you working on at the moment?
A) I was waiting to see the response of the first book. Thank god, the response to my first book uptil now has been good enough. I am working on two books at the moment and right now not sure which one I will finish first. In one manuscript I am touching and raising the essence of our Indian values and traditions which are fast fading away in this internet and global accessibility era but the base of the book will again be a love story. In fact it will be portrayed through love stories of three generations- the present and the two previous generations. But the second one is totally different. This fiction will have its base on system and corruption- may be moved by so many such movements going on these days.
Q) What advice would you give to aspiring writers who go through ‘Writer’s Block’?
A) Don’t think of name and fame in the beginning. Until and unless you have delivered a few bestsellers you cannot take up writing as a full time career. Read and re-read your manuscript as many times as you can. Either try to give something new or evolve some new type of writing style to get noticed because market is flooded these days with so many books of same genre, same stereotype topic.
Q) Last but not the least, how has the journey been so far? Has being a published writer changed life for you, your family and friends?
A) My journey which started from writing some small articles here and there to become a complete fiction writer took rather long. But at the end of the day I can say it is satisfying. It feels great when you see that your effort is being acknowledged and appreciated. The journey has reached a destination now. From here I would like to take this journey even forward. Well, some noticeable changes are there in the life after the release of the book. There is more recognition from the people around me. Many persons are visiting my website. I receive their comments in my inbox or on FB pages. I have received a few phone calls from press and e-mails from websites. These are new and fresh experiences in life which is truly exciting.
To read the review of MD's debut novel 'Love, Destiny...and those Two Days' click HERE.