Quick fire interview with Girish Kohli


Quick fire interview with Girish Kohli


By Babita Balan


Girish Kohli graduated in software engineering but quit that to work in a garage and then quit that to become a professional fitness trainer and then quit that to work in his father’s business and finally quit everything to write full time.


Girish Kohli is no quitter in fact he is the author of ‘Marathon Baba’ a fictional novel which saw the light of the day early this year.

Karna’s marathon begins when he runs away from his lousy parents, a failed love life and a suffocating job towards a life of freedom and peace.

He runs throughout his country for seven long years until he stops by the banks of the holy river Gaathaji where he miraculously turns red.

‘It’s not about the pace, it’s about the peace’ said Marathon Baba.

Marathon Baba is the journey of a man who is propelled from being Human to God and his struggle to become Human again.

Will he be able to or will running prove to be injurious to his health?

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Girish Kohli, 29 years old, does not still consider himself as a writer. ‘Marathon Baba’ is his debut novel and he believes that a writer is someone who survives only on writing.


He is a maverick traveller who loves to embark on a journey without much care about the destination.


Tell us something about your book? Why should one read your book this weekend?
Marathon Baba is a story about a man who runs away from home and goes on to open an Ashram for all those who have run away from home. You should read it because it is radical. It won’t bore you and it won’t take you more than a weekend to read. It is quite breezy.

What prompted you to start writing this book?
Don’t remember. It just happened.

Did you have a target readership in mind?
Never. If you check out the reader reviews online, people from various walks of life and different age groups have liked it.

How did you come up with the title?
I must admit, I thought hard on this. I have a knack for coming up with whacky titles, I think we can credit it to the enormous amount of reading I have done in my teens.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I am greatly influenced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Marquez’s writing taught me that it is okay to blur the lines between general fiction and fantasy. I learnt that that there are no limits when it comes to imagination. I also learnt that its okay to confuse the reader as long as the writer is clear about the story.

What do you feel about the impact of English fiction on the youth of today?
The impact is two fold. Current English Fiction is dry. It doesn’t impart any values and doesn’t give the youth any worthwhile heroes. Thus the youth is looking up to ordinary characters. But the good thing is that the youth will stand up and change the trend and break the herd mentality and come up with something radical.

What do you have to say about the boom in cheap, low-cost paperbacks?
It is a great time for good writers and a better time for bad ones. The good thing is that these books are so cheap, so devoid of imagination and art that it is easy for anyone to read. The bad thing is that anyone feels that they can write. This is stagnating the quality of writing. We are going through a phase of mediocrity. The youth are busy penning down their regressive love stories. It’s a deluge of amateurish writing.

Do you think 2012 will see Indian authors outsell foreign ones, as even foreign publishers are shifting focus to publishing commercial Indian authors?
It’s a long shot. In non-fiction, perhaps, but I don’t see that happening in fiction.

Do you think 2012 will be a watershed year for e-books?
I am a bit technologically challenged. I have no clue about e-book sales numbers. But I guess, it will still take time to pick up.

According to you, what is the biggest problem that writers face in the industry?
Publishers are too laid back. Writers should just write. A publisher should do the rest. Unfortunately, writers are required to promote and come up with sale strategies for their book. There is a person for every job. Let a writer simply write good stories. I would love to see a publisher invest their faith in a book and go all out.

This whole trend of adapting books of Indian authors into films has been on the rise. What do you make of it? Would you like to see your book being made into a film? Whom would you like to see playing the main protagonist in the film?
I don’t think anybody inIndiahas the sensibility to adapt Marathon Baba. I am not interested in who portrays Marathon Baba. I am interested in who directs the movie. I guess the late Vijay Anand would have done a great job.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?
They should travel. They should romance and they should celebrate life. The rest will happen.

What are your future projects?
I am working on a movie. I will be directing it. Its in the development stage so can’t reveal much. I also am researching for my next novel which is a historical fiction.

Volume 2 Issue 2


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