Shaiju Mathew is the author of the most anticipated novel of the year, ‘Knocked Up.’ Most anticipated because no other book in the recent history has created such curiosity and interest in the minds of the readers. People who got a glimpse of the same on Facebook says its an ultimate story about friendship, love and fulfilling dreams told in a very simple and hillarious way. He has a huge fan following over the social networking site ‘Facebook’.
‘Knocked Up’ was released in UAE by Richbull Marketing in a limited authored signed edition of 500 copies to raise funds for a charity and the good news is that the entire lot of 500 was exhausted in 7 days flat and still there are more demands for the book by prospective readers due to word of mouth publicity.
On asking him how does it feel after releasing Knocked Up to such a thunderous response he says, “I am feeling great and honoured that my work has been liked by so many people and we are also able to raise funds for the charity that my mother believes in” with a satisfied smile on his face.
However, the journey of a simple boy from Pune to the most promising author of his generation was not a very easy task for Shaiju. He says about his journey as “the most exciting time of his life.” Shaiju had to face many hurdles before he decided to publish his own work so that he could do maximum justice to the book and also bring about awareness among the general public about his book via extensive promotions for which he chose the social networking site ‘Facebook’. “When I started out promoting my work, I got tremendous response from many people who liked my synopsis and the sample chapters that I circulated to gauge the pulse of the reading crowd” he says with a smile.
Shaiju Mathew says he is a true blue Pune boy who loves Pune and the people out here. He was born and brought up in Pune. He studied in St. Joseph’s Boys High School, Khadki and also did his MBA in HR from the acclaimed Pune University. “Pune is the best place in this world as I have so many beautiful memories of my childhood and growing up years here” he reminisces about his childhood days and also confirms his liking for Pune. He further adds “Pune is the base of my story and all the events that take place in my book are situated in Pune. Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra and has its own unique place in the history books too.”
Shaiju although a Malayali likes to be known as a Punekar and prefers Maharashtrian dishes over South Indian fare he says “Although I respect my own culture I somewhere feel that I am a true Maratha from my heart and soul. My favourite dish is saadi varan and amti bhaath, I even love Puran Poli and my weakness is Shrikhand Puri and Sabudana Wada.”
On asking what he misses the most about Pune as he is based in Bangalore now, he says “I miss Ganesh Chaturthi and all the festivals celebrated here as I have so many memories of these festivals. I still remember that during Ganesh Chaturthi I and my friend Praveen used to decorate the space where we used to keep the idol in his house and also prepare for the puja. I was well versed with all the Ganesh Aarti’s and used to sing them. During Diwali apart from bursting crackers I alongwith my group of friends used to build ‘Killa’ with clay and bricks and decorate it with small idols of Shivaji Maharaj and his soldiers… Oh those were the days” he remembers.
Being an accomplished singer he tried to make his career in singing which took him to the south as there were more opportunities, however, he couldn’t make it big there due to heavy competition and due to a throat injury. However his other passion that was for writing still stuck to him which helped him explore totally another creative field. He says, “ I have no regrets about my failed singing career because I will make a comeback soon and pursue singing with full dedication. However, writing was always there in me as I used to write diaries when I was a kid and also wrote short stories and poems which were my base for writing novels.”
Shaiju has also been writing articles for few magazines and entertainment portals as a freelancer. He also has his own blog where he pens his thoughts and there are many people who like what he writes. “Blogging was something I started and then stopped in the middle but I resumed it again after my friends coerced me to do so. Even my first book was published because of my friend Praveen who encouraged me and forced me to finish the book and get it printed” he laughs loud and continues “I got so many good people who guided me and helped me in accomplishing my dream especially Mr. Aditya Kripalani – author of Backseat and Mr. Vasant Kamat – CEO of Dolphin Publications and also my creative team which comprises of Jasmin, Sakhi, Vikram, Shrijit and Mohit.”
Shaiju’s debut work ‘Knocked Up’ is a simple story of three best friends Sid, Ron and Prateik who are teenagers living in Pune. They are directionless in their life and are trying to find a meaning to their existence. The story is very simple and humorous. The comedy is not forced but situational. Shaiju describes this coming up of age story as a modern version of R.K. Narayan’s ‘Swami and Friends.’ “Anyone and everyone who got a chance to read my book even before its official release in India has compared the book to ‘Malgudi Days’, ‘Swami and Friends,’ ‘3 Idiots’ and Sue Townsends ‘Adrian Mole’ series. There has also been a section of readers who compared it to Chetan Bhagat’s style of writing. All these feedbacks have made me feel proud of my book and I am sure everyone would definitely like it.”
Shaiju has also started his own Publication “Magic Moments” which will promote not only new and old authors but also other creative people who are involved in the process of making a book. He says, “A novel is a team effort. Every book you pick up in the market, will give you information about the author and the publication house but no one knows who edited the book, who designed the cover, who compiled the book etc etc… Magic Moments believes in giving credit to each and every person who has contributed towards the book and we will give equal opportunities to every creative person who wants to work with us.” He is also working on a unique model of business partnership through which more and more authors and creative people will benefit from their work.
“Writers / Authors are the worst paid and the most neglected lot in India. So I want to do something for the benefit of my community in general and gather more recognition for my fellow members. Moreover, publication business has more potential in India as we have the high number of book reading public in the world”, he further emphasizes.
When asked about his future projects he says that he is currently working on few movie scripts and also involved in building the credibility of his publication house in the market. There are few manuscripts he is short listing to be published under his publication.
Shaiju Mathew’s message to the aspiring authors in the country is “Pursue your dreams and do not let it die as dreams do come true” and he points at himself as an example.