An Interview With Rickie Khosla

I chanced upon his blog when I jumped into blogging early this year and immediately fell in love with the content there. What struck a chord with me, instantly, was the ease in narrative, the casual but immaculate dialog and of course, the weird sense of humor. Rickie Khosla happens to be one of those writers whose area of expertise ranges from history to politics, from social media to Bollywood and more. With great ease, he pens down his thoughts that sometimes irks you, sometimes makes you contemplate and sometimes makes you laugh-out-loud. Even though he very casually throws ‘Who Cares What I Think?’ tag, that does not stop him from opining about the happenings around, in any way.

imperative

His debut work is a novella ‘The Imperative Subterfuge (When Eva Braun met Gandhi)‘ on Kindle, that came as a surprise to me. It is his version of Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun whom he has very cleverly connected to Mahatma Gandhi in the beginning as well as towards the end of the story. This one, with eloquent prose and a racy pace, is a must read if you are interested in historically driven work. For me, it was a delight since I am always intrigued by that era. 

 

rickieThe day I completed reading the book, I sought an interview with him and he was gracious enough to agree. Here I bring you excerpts of my interview with Rickie Khosla.

You can follow the author on his blog at Who Cares What I Think?

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What made you write a story based on historical events from the Nazi era?

There are some aspects of history that I have always found intriguing. Egyptian history, early-England (Elizabethan), the American Civil War, pre-independence India during the time of Mahatma Gandhi, and the rise of Germany under Hitler are not just amazing because of the indelible impressions they left for centuries to come, but for the fascinating human stories that comprised them. Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler have inarguably been among the biggest stalwarts of the previous century. Isn’t it remarkable that the biggest hero and the biggest villain of the 20th century co-existed during the same years? Clearly, there was a fascinating fictional story just waiting to be woven around those two! That’s why I chose the Nazi years as the backdrop to my novella.

 

Was this novella inspired by the account of the era presented in Anne Frank’s diary?

Anne Frank was a victim (or a survivor, depends on how you want to view it) of the Holocaust. I have visited the home in Amsterdam where she hid with her family. Seeing the narrow confines where they spent years in hiding can make even the most hard-hearted shiver with a strange sense of disquiet. Eventually, the family was discovered by the Secret Police and thrown into a Concentration Camp where the entire family perished before the fall of Berlin. Anne comes across as a remarkable young girl in her writings. Who knows how great her life might have been had she survived and lived to be 80?

I wouldn’t say the novella was inspired by Anne Frank, but her inclusion in the story definitely gave it some perspective. And it also gave it a closure which, at least to me, made sense. Some readers disagreed.

 

What homework was required to be done for writing a novella based on historical events?

Nothing much, really, is required if you are writing about historical events that you are very familiar with – either from school or university, or perhaps from some research you may have done later because of your interest in the subject. I was already familiar with most of the characters I have used in the story. They are all probably the most famous names of the Third Reich. And, as far as Mahatma Gandhi is concerned, I think all Indians are experts on the man!

How did the Imperative Subterfuge come about? Did you plan to write from the viewpoint of a historian or a storyteller?

Storyteller, without a doubt. But I didn’t want the story to be a total wreck in terms of historical reporting either. Like, one couldn’t have suddenly had Abraham Lincoln or Julius Cesar floating into a story about Nazi Germany! I tend to do that kind of crazy stuff in my blog posts!

All the Nazi characters and their roles in the Third Reich are real. The people in Eva’s life are real, too. Many of the dates are correct, too. And yes, Eva Braun did attempt suicide – twice! That is a documented fact.

 

How did you imagine a connection between Eva and Mahatma Gandhi?

In the beginning, I had imagined a meeting between Gandhi and Hitler, but that sounded too contrived even to me! I wanted there to be some rub-off of Gandhi over Hitler, somehow, so I chose the next most appropriate character to do the needful – Eva!

 

In a section of the novella Eva blames herself for being responsible for the rise of the Third Reich. How close is it to reality?

Hitler had an agenda for Germany. And he had a coterie of supporters who were willing and eager participants in the rise of the Third Reich. As his lover and partner, Eva must have been one, too, whether active or passive, we don’t know. In the context of my novella, Eva blames herself for the rise of Hitler and his vision because she feels she was responsible for not nipping the vicious idea in the bud – when she had the opportunity. It is a historical fact that Hitler was deeply affected by the suicide of Geli Raubal, his previous girlfriend. In reality, whether Eva had the opportunity to resurrect or crush the man when he was down, we don’t know.   

 

Can we expect another historical event in your next?

The next book that I am now close to 50% done is a total desi potboiler! Like a homegrown Sidney Sheldon novel. So, no, there will be no history in that one. But I promise you, it will be one heck of a ride! If all goes well, it should be out sometime in 2014.

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Thanks for reading through. Now, please go and grab the Kindle version of the novella from Amazon now.

The book link is

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3Z8SGQ

In the event that you do not have a Kindle you can download apps for reading Kindle books on PCs, laptops and Smartphones from this link

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

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8 thoughts on “An Interview With Rickie Khosla

  1. Lovely collaboration between two of my favorite bloggers, I had already bought Rickie’s novel from Amazon quite a while ago, but this interview makes me want to read it now, right now 😀 Nice questions and as usual Rickie in his candid style answers them eloquently. Looking forward to his novel next year.

  2. Kajal,thanks for this. I myself completed reading the novella two days back. And knowing Rickie, if I had asked him these questions over informal chat, he would have given a few wise-n-witty ones coated with his classic sense of humour. None of the answers would have been as well-answered as the questions you have compiled. But then, Rickie surprises. I have a feeling the “desi potboiler” he speaks about will do exactly that! Good luck to him, and thank you to you for this wonderful interview!

  3. That Kajal took the time to frame such great questions and give me a platform to talk about the thought process around the book was awesome enough, to then have friends stop by and say such lovely things about the novella is, what shall I call it, icing on the cake? 😀
    Thanks for making me feel so special on my birthday!

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