An Interview With Author Pankaj Lochan – Sigma: as life sums it all

An Interview With Author Pankaj Lochan – Sigma: as life sums it all

“SIGMA – as life sums it all” is first of the books in the author’s trilogy on Karmic behavior. This is a collection of fast-paced short stories that are inspired by real characters in the author’s life – the kin and the dear ones who broke away from the path of righteousness! SIGMA is his first work of fiction, but the driver in this book remains the same as his previous technical books – analysing and working on (managing) the ‘cause’ to improve the ‘effect’! Philosophically, SIGMA is about the cause & effect relationship between the intent & deeds (cause) and its Karmic retributions during an individual’s lifetime (effect)! The author believes that when you see your acts, and the reckonings thereof, in a short time-window, you will tend to take short-cuts. But when you would stretch the reference time duration of reconciliation to a full life-time, you would realise why one should always be virtuous.

Akhila Saroha: I would like to begin by congratulating you on the publication of “Sigma: as life sums it all..” How has the response to the book been so far?

Pankaj Lochan: Thank you… It has been overwhelming! Good reviews are coming in.

Akhila Saroha: What led to the idea of writing “Sigma: as life sums it all..”? Were there any events that inspired the work?

Pankaj Lochan: As a child, I always watch people do wrong things and wonder! I would ask myself – how does this sum up? But honestly speaking, I didn’t come up only because of that thought but because I could see many of these people meet their Karma over the decades. This reinforced the sense of righteousness in me.

Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to write on a subject that held relevance for all and also remain objective about them in “Sigma: as life sums it all..”?

Pankaj Lochan: I think it was honesty that I don’t know everything about Karma, but I know my bit and want to tell that story.

I think the simplicity in writing (which readers are appreciating) comes from there.

Akhila Saroha: What are your views about present-day writing? Do you think it does complete justice in depicting human nature in the light of “Sigma: as life sums it all..”?

Pankaj Lochan: I’m happy with present-day Indian writing. It has made significant progress in the last decade while we celebrate a lot of Indian authors internationally.

They are writing on a wide variety of subjects. Maybe, we should attempt to move away from frivolous writing that uses unparliamentary language.

Akhila Saroha: “Sigma: as life sums it all..” shows the uniqueness of your writing style. Are there any authors that you enjoy reading or any books which are your favorites?

Pankaj Lochan: I do not read contemporary Indian writing, but I appreciate the large numbers of Indian authors writing today. I mostly read spiritual literature – Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas.

Akhila Saroha: How would you categorize “Sigma: as life sums it all..” as its appeal seems to be to a broad audience?

Pankaj Lochan: We have to create a better world for all of us. We sometimes seem to take a parochial view of things around us, which goes wrong in our intent and deeds. Sigma brings back your attention to the fact that – shortcuts don’t lead anywhere.

Akhila Saroha: “Sigma: as life sums it all..” has given a powerful introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect more from you in the future? Please share about your future projects.

Pankaj Lochan: Sigma is the first part of a trilogy that is already written. I’m yet to name them, but they continue from where Sigma leaves – they will talk about the two modes of human behavior – “rakhsasha-gana” and “deva-gana”

My current research subject and hence my reading subjects today are – Shruti and Smriti and the education system (short-term) and the Sanatana dharma in the long-term. I wish to master them someday.

I feel there is a lot in that that can be simplified and presented to today’s readers.

Akhila Saroha: What is the story behind the title of your work, “Sigma: as life sums it all..”?

Pankaj Lochan: My wife Piyusha and I have been very keen observers of the people around us, their deeds and then, the Karmic reckonings. We tried to stop some of these people in our social circles from doing wrong things that, they thought, would provide them short-cuts to success. We tried, in vain, to explain to them about SIGMA in a simple manner. But when you don’t understand the LARGE SUM in life, you don’t heed to such free advice.

Years later, some of these people have found their way into the characters in this book.

Akhila Saroha: In a time when the writing of novels and novellas seems to be flourishing, what made you choose the genre of short story writing in “Sigma: as life sums it all..”?

Pankaj Lochan: People are short of time. Short stories are something that busy people feed on.

Akhila Saroha: If you were to describe your book “Sigma: as life sums it all..” in a few words without giving any spoilers, what would those words be?

Pankaj Lochan: Sigma in a few words:

The existence of ‘SIGMA’ that guides my sense of righteousness in life, is a belief that goodness received in life comes only in lieu of the goodness sent out. In another way, nothing in excess of what is due to you, can ever accrue to you in the long run.

Sigma explained in detail:

We are often driven into mirages where we believe we can get things in excess of our karmic behaviour. Here, it is important to understand that if the horizon of reconciliation of human deeds and their (karmic) retributions were stretched to one’s entire lifetime, one would see how it all sums up in the end. However, while seeing this in a short time window, one may tend to think sub-optimal! Stretching the reference time duration to a life-time, helps you realise the unimportance of short-cuts or wrong things you do in life.

Next, ‘Cause & Effect’ forms the most important driver of my thinking and teaching pedagogy. This is my first work of fiction, but the driver remains the same as all my previous technical books – analysing and working on (managing) the ‘cause’ to improve the ‘effect’!

‘Balance’ and ‘cause & effect’ are synonymous. Philosophically, SIGMA, to me, signifies nature’s balance – the physical and chemical balances of the human mind and body.  And, in another way, SIGMA results from a cause & effect relationship – between intent & deeds (cause) and what ultimately happens to an individual during his lifetime (effect)!

If we were to visualise nature’s balance in this, we may assume mother nature as the ‘bank’ and that you have an account with it. In one instance, you may get more than you had deserved (plus), and less in another instance (minus). Do not worry! It will all sum up in the end.

So, Σ  (SIGMA) of all these plus & minus in life = ZERO.

The symbol Σ (Sigma) is a Greek letter that is commonly used to represent a sum of multiple terms or items.

SIGMA, to me, is the large sum, as life sums it all!

Akhila Saroha: What advice would you give to budding writers who may be planning to write in the same genre as “Sigma: as life sums it all..”?

Pankaj Lochan: They should write, it’s something that will connect to everyone; and more importantly, it’s easier to write as the subject requires only your inner conscience to write.

Akhila Saroha: Thank you very much for sparing your time. I look forward to reading more books from you in the future. All the best.

Pankaj Lochan: Thank you very much for your time. Wish you the best too!

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