Puneet Gupta is a career banker with experience of over fifteen years in India. Presently working with one of the largest banks in the Middle East, he has retained his passion for writing, trekking and painting. ‘The Suicide Banker’ is his first novel.
1. What was your inspiration to write? When did you decide that you wanted to put your thoughts into words?
When I think of it, more than inspiration, it was my frustration that forced me to write. During one of my stints with a leading bank, I felt hopelessly frustrated with the way the business was being conducted and when nobody heeded to my voices, I took to pen.
Initially I had no plans of making it a commercial venture but when I read a leading Indian mass fiction writer, I suddenly realized that if he can become a successful writer, why can’t I?
2. How much of your banking experience helped you shape up “The Suicide Banker”?
Most of the debut novels are based on authors’ own experiences and “The Suicide Banker” is not too different. At several places, it reflects my own pains, dilemmas and helplessness. Having said this, Sumit, the main protagonist of this novel, is not an exception in today’s world. You can find thousands of them in every nook and corner.
3. What are you views on whistle-blowing in case of financial frauds? Do you think more people should come forward if they see something wrong happening?
“Whistle Blowing” – it’s a jargon that sounds good to hear and preach. However it’s easier said than done especially if the culprits are the persons sitting on the board of your bank. The grim reality is that it rarely works; it’s not easy to fight against the system. For blowing whistle, you literally need to be “The Suicide Banker.”
4. What do you think is the best way to prevent such cases of financial frauds as you have described in the book?
First of all, the problem is not limited to the financial sector alone. Madness is a universal and irreversible phenomenon the world seems incapable to deal with – irrespective of the industry. So long as we keep on pressurizing the employees for delivering instant results, things would go in one direction alone – bad to worse. Sanity is not expected to prevail in the near future.
However, we can try to prevent such frauds by fixing accountability and by exercising restraint and caution.
5. Would you like to share any of your experiences in the financial world with us?
Between you and me, the whole book is based on my own experiences. I hope that I wouldn’t get sued over this 🙂 (smile and grin).
6. What are your views on the current state of writing in India? What are the kind of books you have read?
India is witnessing a never before kind of explosion in writing. Everyone seems to have a story to tell. However most of Indian writings are typical love stories which could hardly qualify as literature. At the same time, there is no dearth of talented authors in India but very few of them manage to reach the stands.
Without being stereotype, I try to read diversified authors from all genres – mainstream, mass and classic as long as its fiction. Non-fiction is not my cup of tea.
7. How did you manage to take out time from your busy schedule to indulge in writing?
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.” Same applies to my writings too. Whether, the perpetual neglect was worth it or not – time will tell.
8. What are your future plans for writing?
I plan to continue writing and as of now, I am deeply engaged researching my second novel. It’s a unique and exciting plot.
Thanks so much Puneet for giving us your valuable time.