The pandemic may have taken a toll on normal life for most of us. However, one thing is for sure - it has also given people a rare opportunity to explore their hidden talents and tap into creative pursuits they may have not considered otherwise. One such example is that of Mahesh Ratnam Rajan, author of the maiden novel ‘Illusions of Control’.
On a regular day, Mahesh carries the role of Director of Strategy & Marketing at an IT firm in Chennai while also moonlighting as a fashion photographer under the name ‘Lightweaver’. This time, however, we get to know the storyteller and writer within.
Speaking on his first-ever novel, Mahesh Rajan said “I’ve always wanted to write, but my crippling self-doubt never let me do anything productive. The fear of what people would say held me back from everything that I wanted to do. Being back home in Chennai during the lockdown really gave me the opportunity to reflect and expand upon the storylines I’d thought of over the years. Thus, the idea of Illusions of Control was conceived.”
A speculative fiction published by Notion Press - Illusions of Control is a collection of 7 stories, with each led by an individual character of its own. Explaining the idea behind the title of the book, Mahesh Rajan said, “I, like most people have tried to plan out so many different things. However, seldom does anything ever go according to plan. It was the thought of this that inspired the title of the book - Illusions of Control. Because that's what it is, all our plans to control our fate are merely an illusion. Of course, this is not always true, but in the context of this book, the title is apt.”
For most first-time authors, the task of penning down their maiden novel comes with a ton of pressure. Mahesh too, dealt with struggles of his own.
“I had zero patience”, he said.
We live in a world of instant gratification, and if I wasn’t able to write down exactly what I had in mind, I would give up. Over the course of time, I came to accept that good stories just don’t come along overnight. I also came to accept the reality that this was a first for me. All I had to do, was get through my first book. If it was good, then great! If not, I’d have to just improve on where I went wrong.”
When asked about his literary journey, Mahesh responded - “The journey was quite tough, to be honest. It took me about 10 long months that included multiple moments of frustration and discouragement. However, the relief by the end of each story made up for it all. I also found that storytelling, in the long run, can be quite therapeutic. In spite of the emotionally draining process, I was quite content by the end of it. I still have moments where I pinch myself looking at a book with my name on it. ”
Mahesh also shared a few words of wisdom for those looking to author a novel of their own. Speaking to all the aspiring writers and storytellers, he said - “As good as visual media is at conveying information, a book can definitely help develop a lot of skills for us. When you watch a movie, you are fed the vision of the director that read a book and made it a movie. A lot from the book may be changed because of certain issues, like lack of budget, or lack of technology, or simply because they couldn’t fit it in. Whereas if you read the book, it helps you develop an active imagination. The movie would play in your head, and trust me on this, it’s so much better than watching a movie. So keep reading, feel the happiness of the pages in your hands, and use your imagination to create a story of your own!”
‘Illusions of Control’ is priced at Rs.349 and available in Paperback and E-book formats across major E-Commerce channels and platforms.