Six years ago, when my wife got her first teaching assignment for the British Council in a bilingual project in her home town, it seemed an ideal opportunity for her to take up and I was more than encouraging. However, it came with an incredible price. I had to be away from our only child then – Varrun. She left for Spain to take up her first job with the child in tow and I was left in Kolkata pining for her and our only child Varrun, who was just four then. It was painful and at times the agony would leave me insane. It is then that I felt that I ought to do something constructive about it than wallow in my misery... I asked myself what I feel...and the answer was clear and simple: I AM MISSING VARRUN!
From that thought was born this creative fiction - MISSING VARRUN.
I also felt that someday when my son would grow up he would read how much I loved and missed him... This book was actually written for my son. Never imagined that it would be published and many would care to read about a father's longing for his only son.
26th October, 1966, Kolkata, India
Trainer & Novelist
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
Fiction & Non-Fiction
Missing Varrun Horizonte Azul/Blue Horizon Astral Runner – The Chosen One
Reshma (Teacher & Translator)
Varrun & Vaideeka
Amar Agarwala (born 26th October, 1966) is an Indian author. He is widely acknowledged for his debut novel ‘Missing Varrun’ and his work of poetry titled, ‘Horizonte Azul/Blue Horizon’ – bilingually composed both in Spanish & English under the aegis of the Department of Culture, Education & Women, Govt.of Ceuta, Spain. Agarwala’s debut novel was an adjudged a best-seller.
Amar Agarwala is a Chartered Accountant and a qualified Company Secretary, with added degrees in Law, Management & Information Technology. Originally an accountant, the fields of teaching and writing has been close to his heart. He did a string of odd jobs while he pursued his academics and at the beginning of his career, so that he could support his academics. Almost after fifteen years of being a successful practicing Chartered Accountant and a motivational trainer, he took to writing, which was his childhood passion.
Missing Varrun, Agarwala’s first novel was published in June, 2011. Which is a work of fiction, but it is believed to be largely autobiographical and more in the genre of a ‘Creative fiction’. His second work ‘Horizonte Azul/Blue Horizon’ is a work of poetry comprising of twenty eight poems, originally written in English and translated into Spanish. While his first book were publicly acknowledged by the Cultural Department of the Government of Ceuta, Spain. The work of poetry was published under their aegis in January, 2014. His third book, an urban fantasy fiction called ‘Astral Runner – The Chosen One’ was published on 16th August, 2014 in the city of Kolkata. He is all set to launch his third novel, which is a collection of short stories titled – Ordinary People, Extra-ordinary Tales, sometime in November, 2014. He has also written plays, and his first play titled, ‘An Awakening’ which is an imaginary dialogue between two historical figures is scheduled to be launched in Ceuta, Spain early in January, 2015, besides, it is also be enacted by a Spanish theatre company.
Agarwala is also the first Indian Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary to have written fiction, plays and poetry in the English language.
While his debut novel ‘Missing Varrun’ was deemed a commercial success; it won accolades both in the literary circles of Kolkata, to where the author belongs and in the town of Ceuta, located in the south of Spain. Incidentally, the novel also happens to bridge the Indian and Spanish cultures in certain ways. He was interviewed on Spanish television, and made news headlines when the Department of Culture, Ceuta, Spain, acknowledged the work in a press conference and also publicly re-launched the book in Ceuta on 13th of January, 2012. The Department of Culture, is now working on translating the work in Spanish.
Besides writing, Agarwala has been an acclaimed teacher and a trainer for more than thirty years, and is closely associated with his Alma Maters: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, and The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, both bodies being set up under statutes of the Indian Constitution.Outlook
Agarwala strongly believes that Chartered Accountants have largely come across as typical accountants, with audit as their back-bone and focus. They appear to be boring, bookish and non-creative when it comes to their approach in professional life. However, with the downtrend in world economics, gnawing recession, dearth of opportunities in the professional front for CA’s in the conventional areas of Service and Practice, Agarwala strongly recommends that the new generation of CA’s should focus more on non-conventional areas like : Business, Teaching & Training, Non-Financial Consultancies, Religion, Politics and Fine Arts. He believes in practising what he preaches, and happens to be one of the strongest advocates of this line of thinking previously unheard for Chartered Accountants in India.
Having taught for a prolonged period and now having completed a few creative treatises, his fifth. sixth and seventh works are under editing. Agarwala has attained a fair measure of success both commercially and in terms of repute. He also believes in giving back to the society what he gets from it, and runs a free forum for students called – DISHA, which actively pursues areas of education, charity, besides being a path-finder to numerous students it engages itself in all-round development of young minds.Adaptations
Missing Varrun was launched in June, 2011, in Kolkata, India and later made available vide digital marketing all over the world. The Department of Education, Woman and Culture, Government of Ceuta, Spain will soon convert it into Spanish. Agarwala having strong links with the Bengali language, and having been born in Kolkata, is also trying to translate the novel into Bengali.
Horizonte Azul/Blue Horizon is a collection of twenty eight poems originally written in English by Agarwala. It was done as a joint venture bilingual project with the Department of Education, Woman and Culture, Government of Ceuta, Spain. It was launched in Ceuta, Spain on 13th January, 2014, under the aegis of the Government of Ceuta, to much public acclaim. It has also been translated into Spanish. It also happens to be the first time when an Indian poet has been published by a foreign government. Agarwala says, that ‘This is certainly a path-finder to other Chartered Accountants in the country of India, who need to have faith in their abilities. Besides the fact that each of them are multi-talented and multi-faced personalities and are capable of much more than what they believe. All they need is to follow their hearts and not their contemporaries.'
Astral Runner – The Chosen One, promises to be a thrilling entertainer being in the genre of ‘urban fantasy fiction’ and promises to come back with a sequel. It would undoubtedly be the first for Chartered Accountants, for no CA has ever done such work. The book is already in Amazon, Infibeam and Flipkart, and has been raking up good numbers in sales.
Ordinary People, Extra-ordinary Tales – This is a collection of fifteen short stories, each containing a distinct moral about human beings and about life. Which would also act as a treatise containing lessons for readers. Again, CA’s have never done short stories, and today there is a growing need for short stories, considering the paucity of time and the declining attention span of young readers.
An Awakening, is a short play, done as a bilingual project done jointly under the aegis of the Department of Education, Woman and Culture, Government of Ceuta, Spain and a third project partner – Communidad de Hindu, Ceuta. Agarwala is known to give religious discourses abroad, being an active proponent of Hinduism an ancient healing technique called Reiki, has in the past been actively associated with the Hindu Community of Ceuta. This play is complete and is presently being rehearsed by a Spanish drama company. It will be launched and enacted sometime in the January of 2015, in Ceuta, Spain.
Agarwala promises to soon be out with three novels, two of them being short stories and an academic book for students of all ages. Being actively associated with cultural activities in Spain, he intends to work closely with the Department of Culture, Woman and Education of the Government of Ceuta, who repose a lot of confidence in his creative talents.Influence
Agarwala is multi-talented and gets immense pleasure in his creative pursuits. He has written fiction, plays and even poetry. According to him, his mother and maternal uncle, under whose tutelage he has been brought up have had the major influence in his life, in the absence of his father, who died when Agarwala was only a child. He is an ardent fan and follower of the writings and teachings of Swami Vivekananda, whose thoughts he says, have fashioned his life. Besides, he also follows the writings and religious discourses of famous Indian Monks like: Yogananda, Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi, Bymakhapa, Baba Loknath, Yukeshwar Giri, Lahiri Mahasaya and Babaji.
He belongs to a stanch Hindu family and believes that religion needs strong shoulders to carry it forward. Agarwala is of the opinion that religion is a value system that is fast eroding and is largely diluted and threatened in the modern times. He strongly propagates that this society will be left with a weak edifice should religion not hold centre-space in our lives.
He respects all religions and is an active proponent of Yoga, Meditation, Reiki and other traditional healing techniques. He is also a numerologist and practises it ardently. His consultancy in numerology and healing is free for anyone who seeks it. He states that it is his way of making the society a healthy and a better place, and admits that he does it for himself and for his own well-being.Marketing
Being an accountant he admits to have zero marketing skills. He says that after his first book, which largely did well based upon his rudimentary selling skills, he has learnt much about the publication industry and how books sells in the Indian and International markets. He knows that good books do not sell by themselves, they need an immense marketing drive. He tries to sell by his personal talks which are largely to his students, as he teaches on a regular basis. He feels let down by his first publishers who are a Mumbai based publication company, and says that writing to blogs, book-review forums, and urging newspapers and news journals to review books are a good way to market novels. He also believes that social media websites and the internet is a very prominent vehicle of marketing.
With limited resources he admits to being unable to use other expensive means to promote his creative works. He is of the firm belief that good work would finally rise to the surface, sometimes is takes ages. He is prepared to wait for it, for according to Agarwala, a writer must be patient and ever persevering, like one his favourite writers who took decades to be recognized, and needs no introduction today – who is none other than Ruskin Bond.
Agarwala says that he creates for the fun and joy of creation, for writing gives him immense satisfaction. A writer is not a seller of merchandize; he barters thoughts for those who wish to exchange them with their own. He has been pledging part of his royalties to charity and says that it is the best way to source funds for societal needs.References