Childhood revisited

In his new book, Tushar Raheja explores the adventures and aspirations of a 13-year-old

In his new book, Tushar Raheja explores the adventures and aspirations of a 13-year-old

The market for young writers from college, writing campus romances, was still to be explored when Tushar Raheja, 29, came up with his book — Anything For You Ma’am in 2006 that explored the idea of love and infatuation.

Now, after almost seven years, Raheja, who is pursuing his Doctorate at the Indian Institute of Technology, is back with his second, Romi & Gang — a book that explores the fascination of young boys in India for cricket.
The story is based in a fictional town, Mauji, on the life, aspirations and adventures of 13-year-old Romi and his gang of three friends.
Being an avid cricket fan, Raheja always knew that his second book was going to be centred on cricket. He wanted to explore the psyche of the boys who grow up in a small town, playing street cricket and aspiring to play for the national team one day. “Cricketers like M.S. Dhoni or Irfan Pathan belong to the same group,” says Raheja, who himself grew up playing cricket in the streets of Faridabad at a time when it was still “detached from the urban life” of a metro. “It wasn’t so well-connected with Delhi back then. And we, as boys of a small town, were quite adventurous and free-willed to explore,” says Raheja, who still plays cricket regularly and meets a lot of young boys in the course of it. The book explores the stories of some of these boys mixed with his own childhood adventures.
He was still in college, pursuing B.Tech at IIT, when he wrote his first book. It wasn’t that difficult for him to write about something that he was experiencing at the time. But for the current one, he had to go back in time to recollect the memories of his childhood to write a gripping account. “Another thing that helped me was that I still view the world in a very naïve way and thus can discover newer aspects to life easily,” he says and adds that at heart he still feels 13.
He had planned to come out with the book much earlier but a few bad experiences with publishing houses delayed it. He says that he doesn’t really like the way the publishing world functions. “It works in a very haphazard manner, especially after the market for young writers started growing. There’s no protocol followed,” remarks Tushar, who is happy that new people are getting a chance to write but comparisons and labelling saddens him.
“I never wanted to be typecast as an author who writes college love stories but unfortunately I got slotted as one,” says Raheja, who was clear since the beginning that he wanted to write on varied subjects. But he was labelled as one of those writers from IITs and IIMs who write love stories and “thus I consciously stayed away from coming out with another book for some time”.
In fact, he planned the themes for his book much earlier. His third book, that is nearing completion, is “kind of a science fiction”. “It explores the idea of science and its perception in our country,” says Raheja, who is about to complete his PhD from IIT-Delhi.

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