The author on his new book, The Sialkot Saga, inspirations and what he reads.
On the surface, a business thriller seems a departure for Ashwin Sanghi, but the author assures it isn’t. Set in the years after Independence, The Sialkot Saga links back to the days of Partition and to 250 BC, to the time of Ashoka. With the book set to launch on April 5, and Sanghi working on a new crime thriller, we are curious about his appetite for books. “When I was 11, my grandfather started sending me a book a week. In his lifetime, I got more than 400 books—from the Autobiography of a Yogi to a Charles Dickens. The content of my stories are dictated by these stories. My mother was a voracious reader, too, but she enjoyed thrillers. So my style is influenced by that,” he adds.
While his reading habits are dictated by whether he is writing or in between books, he says he always has over a couple of hundred titles on his must-read list. A fan of Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh, he loves biographies, too. “I like reading stories of people’s lives. If you look at someone’s life over an extended period of time, it becomes a source of inspiration for when you are writing the lifelines of your characters,” he shares. And since ‘business’ occupied him the whole of last year, Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s biographies were his picks. With the holiday season here, the technology geek—Sanghi’s ecosystem revolves around his three Macs, two iPads and his iPhone—he suggests people go back to some oldies but goodies: Midnight’s Children by Rushdie, The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav and The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
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—Surya Praphulla Kumar