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Author Zubin Shroff

I was born in Bombay, to Parsi parents, on the 25th of March, 1975. That very same day, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was murdered by his young nephew, and soon after that, the Grateful Dead wrote Blues for Allah to mark the king's death.

My dad was a captain in the Indian merchant marines (retired and teaching young officers now), and my mum's been a teacher for the past thirty years (first and second grade). The word is that my mum and I spent the years 1975-77 sailing the seven seas (literally) with Dad. I don't remember much of it, and since my parents were young and on a ship with a bunch of sailors and booze, I don't think they do either. (That's a joke—for the record, my parents never drank much.)

When my brother was born in 1978, I was consigned to land, and since kindergarten began soon after that, I never really spent more than a month or two a year at sea again. (There were several summer voyages all the way through high school.)

One of the things I'm most thankful for now (although I was a bit annoyed at the time), is that back in 1980s India, owning a television was expensive as hell (not to mention there was just one channel and even that broadcast only from 6-9:30 p.m.), and so we didn't have a TV at home until 1989 (I was 14). It turned out that my parents were avid readers (sailors and their wives are either boozers or readers; I got lucky) and had no qualms about buying or borrowing tons of age-appropriate books for me and my brother. We also had quite a collection of novels at home, although I didn't read most of them (I'd probably be a different person right now if I had made it through Tropic of Cancer and Atlas Shrugged at age 10 (I did try)).

Although I never really consciously thought about being a writer during school in India (Indian kids are only allowed to think about being doctors or engineers), I do remember writing a bunch of terrible short stories and one play (which I totally ripped off from some dude's published short story). Maybe the fact that my dad had written a book made me simply assume I'd be a writer in the way many sons just assume they'll do what their dads did.

After high school (I'm a Cathedralite), I applied to colleges in the US. (You all know that thousands of Indian students arrive in the US every year, right? Indians speak and study in English, and the US has the biggest and best English-medium college system in the world hands-down.)

Anyway, I got into a bunch of schools, but Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, was the only one that offered a big enough scholarship for me to go. So I went, and it was AWESOME.

I double-majored in economics (so I could get a job) and philosophy (because I liked it), and got a job with Deloitte Consulting in Minneapolis.

I spent about four years consulting for Deloitte, and they sent me to work all over the country for clients like State Farm Insurance, Gap Clothing Inc., Harley-Davidson, and US Bank. Then I applied to graduate school (Deloitte said they'd pay for it if I agreed to go back and work for them again), and moved to New York City to attend Columbia Business School.

After two great years in Manhattan as a full-time student with no income but tens of thousands of dollars in expenses, a wonderful synchronicity occurred when all my credit cards got maxed out just as I got my degree and had to go back to work for Deloitte.

Instead of moving back to Minneapolis, I decided to stay in New York and work out of Deloitte's Manhattan offices. I did that for about six years, and again traveled all over the country to do jobs for clients like Johnson & Johnson, the Texas State Government, JPMorgan, Bank of New York, Honeywell, the Ohio State Government, and Zimmer—a company in Indiana that makes artificial joints (no, the other kind...).

In December 2007 my younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident in India, and I took a leave of absence from work for most of 2008. Then, by the end of 2009, without really understanding how or why, I found myself thinking seriously about becoming a writer and was spending all my time studying the craft (and no, I won't make any jokes about how a career in management consulting prepares you for fiction-writing like nothing else can...).

After some research (most of which seemed to say I was nuts to hope to earn a living as a writer), I said fuck it and packed up my Brooks Brothers shirts in a box and gave up the New York City apartment that I loved and called my old friends in Minneapolis and moved back there. I also grew a beard.

Finally, on Valentine's Day in 2010, after spending the day feeling sorry for myself for having no girlfriend, I started writing my first novel. I wrote every single day for 46 days, and I was done by the end of March. I lazed around for a few days, rewrote that first novel, and then I wrote another.

Those first two novels will stay hidden for now (Weather Report was the third), but I kept going, and now I work on new stuff all day every day, and I have very few other distractions (still no girlfriend).

And so here we are. Enjoy.

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