Sonia Dogra, Keekli Reporter, May, 2017
The adage is often repeated in books and visuals, by parents and teachers. When you are all of twelve, and you think of focussing on your dreams, they still seem farfetched. Not many a times is a twelve year old determined to fast track his ideas and turn them into the real written word. Aryaman Mahajan, who belongs to the hill town of Dharamshala and is now thirteen, turned author when he was all of twelve. Breaking barriers and records, he penned his first book “The Young Detective” to become the youngest writer in the country and also to find himself in a similar list in the world!
The story of this early success is interesting and intriguing. Introduced to reading at mere five years of age by his father Dr Ashish Mahajan, Aryaman can today boast of having delighted himself with the works of Enid Blyton, Jeffrey Archer, Ruskin Bond, Amish Tripathi and Dr Vithal Kamat.
Even as he credits his father for stirring that passion in him, in the same breath he mentions how his mother, Dr Isampreet Kaur Mahajan, has been the rock solid support who gave him enough space and freedom to follow the call of his heart. Both parents encouraged him and were never fussy about his academics.
So how did this whole idea about writing a book come up?
Well, on a fine day, as Aryaman sat browsing the net, he read of children as young as him who were dancers, players and musicians but nobody his age had been a writer ! The seeds had already been sown by his father and this avid reader had been cooking up stories in his imagination. At that moment a thought crossed his mind and he decided to give shape to one of his stories. And that was the genesis of Akhil, The Young Detective.
Aryaman devoted a sizeable amount of his holidays, approximately four to five hours daily, to writing. At times, children playing outdoors would lure him. But he was clear. His call was different. He had to wind up his book in roughly eight months, before he would turn thirteen on 12th of March.
“Initially”, says he, “I thought it would be easy and I would finish writing in two months. But no, it takes much more than you can imagine.”
Understanding well that nothing comes easy, he continued writing even after the school reopened. He would devote an hour to the book every day before leaving for school in the morning, ensuring that he wrote at least five hundred words. The evenings were spent editing those five hundred words. So, did he sleep well at night or was he always plotting the next move of his characters. To this he has a rather hilarious take. Initially, he would watch Arnab Goswami before going off to bed but gradually he realised that all the histrionics of television wasn’t helpful at all. So soon it was goodbye to Mr Swami and welcome to peaceful nights’ sleep so that the pen would yield better results the next morning.
I’m forced to ask if an exceptionally talented child has a normal childhood. Does he play video games?
“Oh yes! I do have a PS II. But now I’ve exhausted all the games and I’m really through with it. I love to play badminton and have qualified for the Districts. I’ve also just begun to learn to play the guitar.” Aryaman has a younger sister, Aahana, and both do share their sibling moments.
Since writers are often influenced by life and people around them, are any of his characters inspired by family or friends?
Swami Mayank, according to Aryaman, is a character who maybe called a reflection of one of his acquaintances. The book which hit the stands in January this year, was initially published by CreateSpace, a publishing house in the US that works for young children. A month later it was taken up by a Chennai based publishing house Notion Press and is available for sale on Amazon, Flipkart and PayTM.
Aryaman also credits his school for acknowledging their manifold contribution in his success. He says that the school encourages the art of formulating one’s own answers and much emphasis is laid on being creative while answering questions. The school, Sacred Heart, in turn honoured Aryaman at the annual function. The response of his parents, teachers and friends was very encouraging. Some of his friends did tease him, says he, but he took it all in good spirit and light humour. Well, I’ll say the young boy is even giving us lessons in human management!
And you assume that the boy is all set to take up writing as a full-fledged career or maybe journalism or something. But no. The young master has his goals pretty clear. Engineering is on his mind. Writing will always be a hobby. He has enjoyed reading Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi but doesn’t believe in giving it all up like them.
Already working on his next story, I ask him if he wishes to convey a message to our young readers?
“Yes. I believe social media is great. It even seems indispensable. But I think it must be used judiciously and certainly not overused. There is a strong need for children to reduce screen time. Instead opt for a book. Initially a Jeffrey Archer may seem a boring substitute for Facebook or Whatsapp but once you cross that first leg, believe me it’s addictive. And if you feel going an extra mile is difficult with studies, it is not. All it needs is determination, hard work and will power.”
Well, if you know your mind so well, who can dare to stop you! While I sign off my chit chat with Aryaman, I do know that he has inspired me… and I’m sure all those who are going to read this piece. And even as we bid him bye on this forum, we will eagerly wait for his next written word and hope that this inspiring story will help you all to pen your thoughts right away!