The world as his oyster


Anirudh Vasdev

School assignments are boring, bland work, more often the headache of parents rather than the children, particularly those who are in kid sections, right? Well, sometimes they could be the reason why you have a new author in your neighbourhood. At least that is how the writer in Anirudh Vasdev was discovered. And thanks to the talent-spotter teacher in his class, who appreciated the story the then five-year-old had written for an assignment, Anirudh started on a journey of putting thoughts onto paper at an age when other kids would hardly write anything beyond their class work.

Now, when Anirudh has just completed his 12th standard, he has achieved something that wannabe authors of his age can only dream of — that is of getting his debut book launched at the London Book Fair. The book in question, Of Ghosts, Wizards and Other Fantasies (Sterling Publishers), has seven stories that the 1991-born wrote over seven years from 2000, and since its release at the LBF, the young author based in Delhi and a student of the prestigious St Columba’s School has been planning how to finish putting all the “backlog” of stories in his mind onto paper.

It is not very surprising that Anirudh, son of parents from a business background, has become a published author even before he has entered college. As he says, he follows the self-coined dictum, “Think it, ink it.” But now, he does not write everyday, as many would tend to believe, including some of his friends who have given him the monikers “Writer Babu” and “Author Saab”. As he says, “I do jot down any idea that comes my way in short form on paper or save it in my phone’s drafts or find a word to remember the idea by.

Since his first story-writing effort at the ripe old age of five, Anirudh has come a long way. “I feel that I have definitely improved but a long way is ahead and much more improvement is required. As a person I know rightly said ‘you have started; but have a lot to learn about the craft of writing. The profession of authorship is not easy.’”

Anirudh’s stories in the book are a mix of various forms and moods, from the realistic touch in ‘The Shoplifting Owner’ to the fantastical ‘The World of Rmznia’. They are also proof of a creative mind in the youngster. Anirudh explains it with maturity beyond his years, “The world beyond us has always fascinated me. The afterlife and the unknown have raised eyebrows world over. Yes, the world of imagination is more jovial and comforting than the harsh world of reality but then again it’s the world of men which triumphs in the end and so one must learn to keep a balance.”

Anirudh’s penchant for writing equals his passion for reading. His list of favourite authors include Satyajit Ray, whose detective Feluda stories fascinate him, Alfred Hitchcock, Roald Dahl and Jim Davis. “I think Ray is brilliant. And I love Hitchcock’s Three Investigator series and Davis’ lovely creation Garfield. However, my inspiration was, is and will always be Roald Dahl. Reading all their works did influence me to start writing mystery and Dahl motivated me to try harder to perfect the short stories,” he says. And then, he quickly explains the difference between inspiration and plagiarism, by saying, “Plagiarism, even remotely, is strictly forbidden in my golden rules of writing.”

Even when he was still in the 6th Grade, Anirudh had started toying with the idea of getting his stories published, and even met quite a few people to discuss the prospects. But like all ideas whose time comes, Anirudh had to wait six more years for his first book to get published. And it goes without saying that as a published author, he has become quite a hero among his peers in school. “As the book got published after I passed out of school, not all of my classmates know about it. But yes, a lot of them do. I always appreciate their smiles and kind words,” he says, adding jokingly that anyway he would not be the envy of his friends as “most of them prefer envying sports stars or Nobel Prize winners”. Well, who knows, he could too turn into a literary star someday — and the first step might have already been taken towards that.

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