By Disha Kumar
For someone who has lived and worked in Mumbai, it’s surprising (a little shocking, too, to be honest) when he says, “I came to Ahmedabad in 2008 and then moved to Mumbai to work. I came back to town for good three years ago and have no plans to move. I love the atmosphere of Ahmedabad; it is so peaceful and yet so vibrant.
This is author Zahir Chauhan for you, telling it as simply as it sounds, much like he creates characters for the stories he builds. Born in Bhavnagar, Chauhan, “moonlight” as an author (especially since he prefers to write at night), and is a business professional on the day he engages in “learning and development ”, by developing strategies and implementing HR practices. “I usually write at night, it’s very difficult to manage the writing with my full-time job. So when I’m working on a story, I only sit at night. This is when I feel the most connected with myself, it’s the best time. Sometimes I sit for an hour, sometimes two and other times, all night! I’m so wrapped up in the story that I don’t feel like taking a break for even a minute. My thoughts are in a rhythm, ”he explains.
We connect with the author as he releases his third book The Girl I Met That Night, with the characters of Kabir and Anamika at the center of the story. Before delving into their love story, we seek to go back in time with Chauhan when he decided to script his own story.
“I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was in college, actually, around 2005-2006. I used to write short stories back then, and since I lived in a hostel, I met a lot of interesting characters. But when I entered the corporate world in 2008, my love for writing took a back seat, until 2015 when I took up the quill and released my first book, The Perfect Dilemmas. He remembers. He followed it up with Love-Buddy in 2017 and now The Girl I Met That Night, which he said had been in the works for a long time.
Ask him about his writing quirk, Chauhan admits: “In writing, I value two things: stories that connect with the common man. I don’t write superficially. My love stories have incidents that everyone can relate to. Yes, it’s fiction, but I’m still realistic. Second, my stories are always full of twists and turns, keeping readers engaged until the end. Also, I attach importance to the cinematic experience.
Which comes first …
… The plot or the characters? “For me, first comes the intrigue. So the characters! A good story is about the plot. It must be unique. The characterization has to be very, very powerful. If your story is good but the characters aren’t well developed, it falls flat. You have to know how to engage readers really well. As my stories are full of twists and turns and make them very interesting for the reader. I always pay close attention to these things, ”he explains, adding that he is inspired by popular writer Chetan Bhagat.
The third volume
Regarding this last work, he declares: “The book is about the game of fate. Two strangers (Kabir and Anamika) meet on a fateful night on a highway, completely oblivious to each other’s world and each has a story to tell. They only tell their stories on one condition that after the night is over, they will never try to contact each other again. However, fate has other plans …
“The USP of my book is that the guy and the girl only meet twice in the book, that too for one night each. So the title is not deemed appropriate, ”he concludes, adding that his fourth love story is ready and ready.