Book Reviews

Avichal Agrawal talks about how traveling influenced his writing and about his book Signature Smile.

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After reading the book Signature Smile I got in touch with the author of the book. Avichal Agrawal has a charm of his own when it comes to writing. I liked his narrative, and I had a couple of questions for him about his book, life and pursuing writing.

Akshay Dalvi: Did you ever consider being an author, what inspired you?

Avichal Agrawal: I always wanted to do something creative. Being an author was one of the options I had. I used to compose music in my teenage and wanted to open a music company. My dream to be an author was not exactly mine. It was a dream which someone else had for me in her eyes. The turning point in my life came when I met that someone special for the first time. She recognized the creativity inside me, and with her inspiration, I visited Jaipur Literature Festival for the first time this year, which ultimately led to the creation of this book.

Avichal Agarwal - Signature Smiles
Signature Smile by Avichal Agrawal

Akshay Dalvi: What was the most challenging part of writing, how did you tackle it?

Avichal Agrawal: Writing is all about passion. My journey of writing took me to unseen levels of excitement. The challenging part for me was to contain that excitement and focus more on the quality part. I wrote this entire book in a very short period of 41 days. I was so excited that in those 41 days, I paid my entire attention towards this book only, which resulted in shortcomings in the other areas of my life.

Akshay Dalvi: What inspired Ankit Bansal’s character?

Avichal Agrawal: The character of my protagonist Ankit Bansal is inspired by my core understanding of love. I have tried to make him as real as possible, but have also given him the duty to do something special. He exemplifies the inner dilemmas of a hardcore lover, who finds himself on the intriguing crossroads of life. His thoughts and his actions are inspired by his instincts which force him to love Suhani even more passionately.

Akshay Dalvi: As you love is the backbone of our social culture, how do we keep it alive in time to come?

Avichal Agrawal: Love is the most important element in our Indian culture. Every section of our society has accepted love as their core value. It is so much celebrated that we worship our God as our beloved, and demand his blessings as the reciprocation for our love.

 Modern society, however, takes love in a different way. As our society has westernized, it is compulsory for us to incorporate some essential values of western society. For example, the dynamics of love relationships are changing very fast. Factors like freedom of expression, respect for privacy, strictly consensual engagements, and equal sharing of responsibilities, which were considered contrary to our culture in the past, have become the need of this hour. If we want to continue our legacy of love, we must make it compatible with the aspirations of our new generation.

Akshay Dalvi: How different it is for you writing with inspiration and writing as work mandate, what do you prefer?

Avichal Agrawal: It is correct that writing is a challenging job. At certain times, it turns into a work mandate for the writer. However, it is also correct that a writer is incomplete if he fails to pull off every assignment in a similar fashion. In fact, it is imperative for us to convert our work mandates into deep inspirations.

The inspiration to write comes from deep inside our subconscious mind. It does not come for any particular subject. At the beginning of my book, I was more inclined towards a moderate love story, but as I progressed with the idea, my story turned to a much bolder one. Yes, I too had some perplex moments when I was not in the best mode of writing, but as I tried to invest more on the job, it stunned me with its dynamism and depth.

Akshay Dalvi: How important a role does endurance play in Life?

Avichal Agrawal: Endurance is a phenomenal virtue. It makes or breaks the personality of a person. Ankit Bansal, as a protagonist in my book, shows unparallel levels of endurance and commitment. His perseverance makes him different from others. He not only is very clear with his ambition but is also ready to do anything to achieve it. We all face several challenges in our lives, and often get bogged down by them very easily, but a person like Ankit faces everything on the front foot. His flawless commitment and lasting endurance make it impossible for Suhani to resist him. 

Akshay Dalvi: How did travel influence your writing?

Avichal Agrawal: Travel has always been close to my heart. In a short span of time, I have seen almost every significant tourist attraction in our country. Along my travels, I developed a passion for exploring various cultures and cuisines. It also helped me understand the different economic and emotional behavioral patterns. My travels have influenced my writing in several ways. I had visited the eastern and northeastern parts of our country in 2017 and was stunned by its natural and cultural beauty. When I thought about writing this story, I could not find a better place than eastern India for its background. Similarly, I am a resident of Chhattisgarh and has seen almost every part of our state. It was, therefore, both easy and relevant for me to depict my own state as the home state of my protagonist Ankit Bansal.

Akshay Dalvi: What is your message to young aspiring writers?

Avichal Agrawal: During my journey as an author, I got to learn some important lessons. I want to give three important tenets to my fellow aspiring authors. First, you should start writing with a clean and clear purpose in your mind. You cannot become a good writer if you do it just for the time pass. Second, to write a good book you must be accurate on the facts. Therefore do proper research on your subject before starting. Third, sales and recognition are not the correct parameters to judge a work of fiction. A writer’s duty is to write at his best level, the rest of the things he learns with time.

Akshay Dalvi: What are your writing plans in the future, would you like to disclose anything?

Avichal Agrawal: Currently, I am working on my second novel, Thahmish, and Mohit, which is a hate story. I want to write a poetry collection and non-fiction about the teachings of Lord Krishna after this.

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