Nitin Sawant & Lucifer’s Lungi

With his new book Lucifer’s Lungi out in stores, Nitin Sawant is all set to dominate a literary space very few dare to venture especially for a first book. From studying in a girls school to getting his essays criticized for his English not being good enough, Nitin has come a long way when he finished the book in 6 days! Lucifer’s Lungi is published by Fablery and you may buy Lucifer’s Lungi here on Amazon!

Talk to Tiger
catches up with Nitin 
as a part of our author interviews series where we catch up with famous authors and their books and here is what ensued! Interestingly Nitin was nicknamed Tiger in his college days!

Hello Tiger?!!! How did this name come up? 
Well, my college friends know me as ‘Tiger’ – not because I’m ferocious, but due to one weirdo T-shirt with a cartoon tiger, that I used to frequently wear. Lately, they’ve been calling me ‘Nuts’, which is probably due to my loopy Facebook posts. On a serious note, people know me as someone who doesn’t tread the usual beaten path – not in life, neither in business…
Where were you born? Tell me about your childhood, parents…
I was born in this beautiful town called Ratnagiri in the Konkan region. My dad worked in the Land Records Dept of the government then & was a part of the team that had to survey, measure & record the landmass of the entire state, for the first time since independence. Naturally, we were an itinerant family when I was a kid. Guess, the biggest gift my Dad bestowed on me is this love for travelling. He was familiar with the nook & cranny of Maharashtra. So much so that in 2006 when I felt lost driving around a Vidharbha town, I called him up for instructions & he guided me to the nearest joint that served awesome food. Yeah, apparently he’d visited that joint approximately 50 years ago…

What and where did you study?
Early schooling in Mumbai was from Shardashram Vidyamandir in Dadar (Pssst, pssst… that’s Sachin Tendulkar’s school). Later we shifted to Virar & I finished schooling from… hold your breath… John XXIII Girl’s School. Yeah, it started as a girl’s school & guess boys were added to the mix later, as apparently they couldn’t rope in enough girls to fill up the classrooms. They silently dropped the ‘Girl’ part from the name later, but we still had to wear badges on our ties that defied our gender. Later, I graduated as an Electronics Engineer from Ramrao Adik College of Engineering, which is a part of the D Y Patil Education Group. Yeah, my college is now more famous as the one that’s aligned to the sexiest cricket stadium in the country…

What were your dreams like when you were a kid? 
Honestly, I never dreamt of being an engineer. Hell, which kid dreams of becoming an engineer anyways? I wanted to do my MA in English. Partly because I was a book-worm as a kid; partly also because I was maha-impressed with my grandpa’s phenomenal command over English language. Like me, he too was a lazy guy & yet he got a double-promotion in his job as his English skills were much superior to his British officer’s, in those pre-independence days. During my school holidays, we would visit him in Ratnagiri & he would make me write essays & letters in English. And despite doing my best, he would still tear my stuff apart as my language skills weren’t ‘Victorian’ enough.

You see, I tried my hand at many things in my life & yet ended up as a fiction writer. So, I guess, I’m living my original childhood dream, as of now…

Thought process behind the book? 
Well, lately I’d lost my habit of reading fiction, as I couldn’t find books racy enough, snappy enough, intelligent enough & most importantly, small enough. We would come across pulp fiction trying to become high-brow literature; stuff that’s winding across reams of pages while we didn’t have much spare time & language that was clearly past its sell-by date. So, when I wrote my first book, I tried my level-best to contemporize & extemporize my fiction style with the idiom that’s prevalent as of now. I guess Fablery showed a lot of conviction to go with an author like me. You see, I sincerely believe that as authors our competition is not with the next author, but with ’em snappy posts in WhatsApp, Facebook & Twitter. Every communication professional better be awake to this new lingo. People now have a huge choice while spending their usual couple of hours of leisure time. If books have to make the grade, they better make themselves relevant…

How did you come up with that name Lucifer’s Lungi?
My first book is titled ‘Lucifer’s Lungi‘. It’s a mixed language name & I resisted every attempt to change it. I believe we Indians are comfortable with our hyphenated existence. Outwardly we’re sound rational beings schooled in science, while inside we’re still practicing our faith – sometimes without even realizing it. Same is the case with our language. In Mumbai, my English is laced with phrases from Marathi, Gujarati etc. While in South, we’ve Tamil words cropping in. The book too has a few Tamil words coming in, as the story is based in Chennai. And going by the feedback of my readers, the name works…

What can your readers expect from the book?
 As I said earlier, I’ve tried to establish a connection with my readers by being current. I look at my job as that of an entertainer than that of a litterateur. I mean you can go to a multiplex & enjoy a thriller for a couple of hours or you can curl up with my book & get goose-bumps for a few hours. It’s crisp & snappy – good enough for a long flight or a short weekend. And at Rs 120/- price, it’s cheaper than that multiplex ride…

Tell me your best experience after you your book came out!
Thankfully, I’ve got some really good reviews from most of my readers. Just look at the last two reviews that have come in:

1] Pramesh Agarwal
About Lucifer’s Lungi – It’s sort of a long story that has been printed as a novella. A delightful combination of Travelogue, Comedy and Horror. Nitin Sawant takes you on a journey through the backwaters of South India and makes you wish you had the guts to travel the way he did. The words flow easy, the tale grows on you as you move on. Malgudi fans are going to love this.  The book defies genres and straddles the often tricky line between comedy and horror. It’s not high literature…. I wasn’t expecting it to be…. but it’s a very promising debut novella. Wondering if this could be turned into a series of books…. a travelogue with a story to tell.  Do try it and lemme know what you think of it.

2] Ranga Phani Kumar Uch
After a long long time, an Indian Author successfully glued me to a book. To me, an author is successful only when he/ she could paint a picture of the plot in the minds of the reader. I only read half of the book till now and reluctantly leaving it to go to dinner with my wife. Congratulations Nitin Sawant, Lucifer’s Lungi is a real good read. You proved once again that a gripping book can be best written from own experience and I will be looking forward to your next book.

‘Lucifer’s Lungi’ was the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon’s Horror section for 5 consecutive days and I think that beats all my expectations!

Congratulations! That is phenomenal. What are your plans for the future? Say next five years? 
Very frankly, I dunno what the future looks like in this industry. A non-interactive, textual medium like a book is going to be too static for the next generation that has an easy access to mobile cameras, simple video-making tools & an awesome sharing platform like Youtube etc. Books & even e-books will have to evolve to compete in the multimedia world. So, if you ask me, my personal plan would be to contemporize my stuff further & look at alternate mechanisms to push my content. Like, say, I could write a book which has chapters of just 500-1000 words each & all these chapters could be dished out through an App; the reader buys the first 3 chapters for just Rs 10/-, by paying through his cell-phone. And if he likes what he reads in those few chapters, he pays more & buys the rest of the book chapter-wise. I believe we’ll have to work hard on upgrading the content as well as the methods of delivery, to remain pertinent in these tech-savvy times…

Any message for young people who want to follow you? An author’s secret?
Well, y’all must have heard of that all-time favorite motivational quote: ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. Guess what, life will keep on serving lemons non-stop, while nobody wants your lemonade anymore. So take my advice & add a bit of vodka to it and create a zinger. That’ll do the job. In other words, you cannot survive today if your story is a clichéd one. Bring out the spice & zing within you. Make your story interesting. You see, people don’t buy your products, services, offerings, schemes, packages etc; they buy your story. So make it fascinating enough…

You can reach Nitin by mail or call him at 08097095545.

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