Sunday is for late mornings and watching the time slip by, feeling lazy and enjoying it too! Today was no different and I was enjoying reading my ‘real paper newspaper’ instead of the regular books that I keep reading. The nagging thought that I had a post to do on my blog was being brushed under the papers time and again but then, it became the most important thing to…….
On this lazy Sunday morning as I sat with my newspaper flipping the pages, knowing that nothing would really make good Sunday read; I stopped on a full page spread. Hindustan Times has done a whole page on Suicide prevention? Really is it that rampant or worthy of a full page spread? I stopped because I was also reading a book on Suicides called “The Helpline”.
|Hindustan Times, Jalandhar, Sep 21, 2014 Page 10.|
My opinion changed after going through the page and reading of Uday Mane’s HELPLINE – a book that deals with suicide. It is a problem that claims one life every 40 seconds and according to WHO India has more suicides than any other country.
Reading about the suicides in the paper shed a whole new light on the reasons and the need to have a book like helpline written. Like so many diseases in this world, I think suicide too is a disease but for one which has a cure.
|Suicide Helpline Numbers|
Today I feature the author Uday Mane and he answers a few questions about his writing and his book. Take a look and you too will realize that these people are drowning in their own misery that any help would be like a ray of light at the end of that deep tunnel they are struck in.
Over to Uday…….
Q 1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I had not discovered writing until after graduation. I started off with short-stories which received favorable reviews from readers, both friends and strangers (online readers). My initial reaction was to write as a hobby but over the years, the passion turned into a life-long goal. Every writer has an inspiration that pushes him or her towards the first book. In my case, it was the readers mostly. Their constructive criticism and honest appreciation has helped me grow as a writer.
Q 2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It happened gradually, over a period of time. The more I wrote and shared with close friends and online readers, the more I garnered positive feedback and appreciation; all of those contributed towards the realization that I had the potential to be an author.
Q 3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Suicide is not a solution to any problem in life. Whether you fail in relationships, career or life for that matter, have the courage to fight back. For every struggle you face and every failure in life, remember that you are one step closer to success. Live your dreams everyday and they will come true. Finally, never give in to any problem in life. There is always strength for one more fight.
Q 4. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The Helpline, originally, was a short story written well before it was turned into a novel. The Helpline forms the core of the plot as it revolves around a call made by the protagonist in conversation with Rachael, who works at a suicide helpline. However, everyone who has read the book will tell you that the title is only a mask to the reality it conceals. The Helpline, after all, may not be the helpline you think it is.
The idea came to me in the summer of 2008. I was seated in Crosswords with a copy of a novel and reading away peacefully. That was the day I met this beautiful stranger. We talked about books and other things in life until I inquired about the two long scars on her either wrist. With all honesty, she confessed to having tried committing suicide twice and being saved by her friends, twice. There is no such thing as thrice lucky. Thankfully, she conceded to having been over it. Our paths never crossed after that but what was left behind was an idea that grew over the next few years. Six years later, there was a book called The Helpline. So, thank you, stranger.
As also mentioned on the back cover, Rs. 5 per book will be donated for child welfare through The Rotary Foundation. The proceedings will go towards an initiative run by Rotary for the education and better future of children. I have also volunteered to conduct sessions for the students enrolled in this project at Ghatla BMC School in Chembur, Mumbai. It gives me immense satisfaction that the book is associated with and contributes towards a greater cause.
Q 5. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
At the heart of the book is a sensitive topic of suicides among teenagers and the emotional trauma that its inhabitant goes through. Yes, it required extensive research. I read several articles on the topic itself, studied its repercussions, dug into actual conversations that happen at a suicide helpline, both articles, audio and video files based on true stories, carefully scrutinized the way volunteers handle the sensitive cases, spoke to one of the suicide help lines (Aasra) operating out of Mumbai etc.
But how do you get a young audience interested in a topic like Suicide? That became the major challenge for the book. The Helpline is not only about suicide but also about everything that leads up to it and everything that helps one get over it. The Helpline touches on how every relationship has its own purpose, how some questions are better left unanswered, how life is unpredictable and for our own good and most importantly, how failures are not a only a part of our lives but a necessity as well. The characters bring the book more to life than the author in the question here.
Q 6. If you could cast your characters in a Bollywood movie of your book, who would play your characters?
The characters are in their early 20s. So I believe the cast would have to be young, probably new comers. However, a couple of cast that instantly comes to my mind for elder characters would be:
Paresh Rawal as Nana
Javed Sheikh as Samir’ father
Pavan Malhotra as Parkar Chacha
Q 7. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
As an author, you have to put yourself in every character’s shoes. It is important to think what one character would say in a particular situation and how one would react in another. With different characters, the author has to shuffle through varying mentalities. The best answer to this question would be – there is a little of me in every character.
Q 8. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am a midnight writer. I cannot write during the day. Most of the book is written post 11pm. There have been instances when I have woken up at odd hours (3am or so) just because this idea/scene hit me in my sleep. I am also a pace writer. My fingers have to keep up with my thoughts before it is lost. For this very reason, I carry a notebook and pen around because ideas come knocking like unwanted guests on weekends.
Q 9. What kinds of books do you read? When you pick up books to read, what is your favourite genre?
Thriller has always been my favorite genre. It is simply the art of writing a thriller that fascinates me. When you are reading one, you are constantly trying to predict what is going to happen next. In actuality, the writer is playing games with the reader and trying to thrown him/her off-track. There is surprise waiting in store for the reader. This genre is more of a mind game between the writer and the reader. The reader has to lose at any cost in order for the book to win.
Thank you Uday for shedding some light on Suicides and your book and I applaud your efforts on bringing awareness to this issue. Hope we save many lives and bring hope to those who are contemplating Suicide.
Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books.
The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.
Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things:
Who is Rachael?
What is Samir’s own identity?
Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.
You can stalk him @
Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/The-Helpline-Uday-Mane/