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Paranormal is entrenched in our culture

06 Jan 2014

Naheed Varma
Faraaz Kazi’s The Other Side can be described in one word ‘scary’! The book has Thirteen stories of horror and surprise endings. You want to stop reading it because it gives you the jitters but the next moment it beckons you again and you can’t stop until you have read every single of them.
The Other Side is Faraaz’s second book. His first book, a romance fiction Truly Madly Deeply is so well received that this 27- year- old Mumbai boy is touted as the Nicholas Sparks of India.   Faraaz has recently won the National Debut Youth Fiction Award and received YCOF National Excellence Award. He’s rated among the top romance writers in the country.
 ‘Truly Madly Deeply’, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to be nominated in seven categories of the Goodreads annual readers’ choice awards, apart from being the first Indian novel to win the ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ during the same awards and is also the only Indian book in the ‘Top 100 YA Global Fiction’ list.
So after establishing himself as the crown prince of romantic fiction why did Faraz foray into horror writing?  “Horror fiction in modern India is by and large unexplored. Most of the fiction on horror that people read is outsourced from other countries. When you think horror you think of Dracula or Exorcist. India is such a melting pot of cultures, languages, traditions and legends.  Mothers and grandmothers have for centuries narrated stories about strange creatures, witches and spirits. Paranormal is entrenched in our culture. In my case my house in Mumbai  is near a large graveyard, around which there are stories galore. The idea was to record these stories, some fictitious, some inspired by myths, folklore and legends. This book is a tribute to my country and its people,” says Kazi.
The book warranted a lot of research. For this book Faraaz joined hands with Vivek Banerjee. Vivek is the author of the novel The Long Road.  “Both our first novels were published by the same publisher at the same time. We stayed in touch.  He also writes a blog in which I read a ghost story or two. Vivek is very interested in occult and paranormal subject. So we got together to write  The Other Side.  We would share stories and exchange notes. For me, this was a unchartered territory, being together with Vivek helped,” says Faraaz.
Does he believe in ghosts? “ I believe in darkness and light, the good and the evil. There are also phenomena  so shocking that cannot be explained, that is beyond reason and science.”
In the prelude of the book, the authors are sharing personal stories of experiencing the paranormal. I ask Kazi are those stories made up? After a long pause, he answered, “No, those stories are true!”

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