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Even choosing not to gamble is a gamble, says Chetan Bhagat

The man who taught India to read talks about his writing style, his inspirations, and more.

You know that sassy saying, “love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him”? Well, if there is one writer you can say it for, it’s Chetan Bhagat—the man who truly brought reading to every corner of the country, and yes, we are talking the smallest towns, think Losar Khas in Spiti to Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.

What started with Five Point Someone in 2004 is now a legacy of over 13 books, and you surely must have heard of most of them, including One Night @ the Call Center (adapted into Hello), Five Point Someone (adapted into 3 Idiots), The 3 Mistakes of My Life (adapted into Kai Po Che!), 2 States, adapted into a film by the same name; and Half Girlfriend, again adapted into a film by the same name.

Cosmopolitan India caught up with the author whose latest book, 400 Days, the third in the author's popular Keshav-Saurabh mystery series after The Girl in Room 105 and One Arranged Murder, does the rounds, and he works on his next.

Cosmopolitan India: From writing really beloved romance novels to now a murder mystery—was it a gamble to switch?

Chetan Bhagat: It is always a gamble. It is a gamble even if you don’t change things because you never know when the audience is going to get bored of you. But if you keep doing new things, there is a chance that the audience will keep liking it.

Cosmopolitan India: With all your books, there is an underlying issue that you address. Whether it is students, women, or the latest one, which is the lack of safety in the Internet era. How do you choose these issues?

Chetan Bhagat: I just look around. I am not a writer who goes to the mountains and stays in a cottage to write in isolation. I live and breathe in today’s India and the ideas for my books come from the headlines sometimes. For example, the media’s overplaying of a murder case in 400 Days, is something we have seen happen around us, and that translates into my books.

Cosmopolitan India: And finally, given that we are talking about your latest book that delves into the world of the Internet, you have had your fair share of criticism and online trolls. How do you deal with them?

Chetan Bhagat: I don’t any more! Now Elon Musk will deal with it, I don’t have to. He’s hopefully going to clean up Twitter, or it will go bust, we’ll see. But I don’t have to deal with trolls either way.