How Cyrus Daruwala wrote one of India’s first crowd-funded books | Laxmi Hariharan
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How Cyrus Daruwala wrote one of India’s first crowd-funded books

Thanks to Ruby Iyer’s mis-adventures on the Bombay local trains, (and with a little nudge from Pooja Vir) : I stumbled across Cyrus Daruwala and his very interesting, crowd-funded book, I Take This Train Too. It’s been a while since I featured an Inspirational Avatar – but I think Cyrus is one. So, here he is, in his own words.

Cyrus: “Eight years in advertising has taught me one thing – to observe people. In my long train commute between home and work, I have more than enough subjects for creative fodder. These forced close encounters eventually found their way on to paper in the form of rough sketches. The sheer number of unique characters deserved nothing less than a book dedicated to them. So a short sabbatical from advertising later I Take This Train Too was born.

One of the first crowd-funded books from India (that, I have come across)

I was set to publish my book with Filter Press – a new publishing house set up by Alok Nanda, who also owns Filter, the design store. Crowd-funding was a way to reduce the costs of printing the book even before it was published. It also served as an effective pre-launch with people booking their copies with a contribution of just 500. 

A traditional publisher might have had me make changes to either the content or style of the book. Alok, never made a single change and helped create a book that was also well-designed. Open spine, thread binding, slip case – how many books do you come across with all of this? Even the smallest contributions received value for money with limited editions posters, mugs etc.  
My fave character from I Take This Train Too? Hard to pick just one. But the more popular ones are: The Starer, Judger and Dada.
Cyrus Daruwala

Me? I am a combination of the Bookworm, Wet wet wet, the Gentleman, the Hoarder, the Sprawler, Confusius and other characters, depending upon the situation.  
Ruby Iyer on the other hand strikes me as someone who’s between Sliver and Mrs. Muscles.
From a professional standpoint I have been an advertising copywriter for 8 years (some would argue about the professional bit). I hail from Andheri East, Marol – that densely populated area that some might call the heart of Mumbai, but the honest ones would refer to another part of the anatomy located further south. My tick-mark education was a B.A. in Psychology and a particularly pointless degree in Advertising. Drawing was always a passion but it’s ironic that as a writer I recently picked up an award in Illustration for the book.
I Take This Train Too humorously profiles the unique characters found in Mumbai’s local trains. Through illustrations and wit, the book explores this microcosmic universe. I Take This Train Too proves that truth is often funnier than fiction. For the design we wanted to make it a true collector’s edition, with stitch binding, a slip case and detachable postcards. We also made sure it’s hardbound to withstand the most bone-crushing train journeys.”

Note: *Train conditions apply.
Get the train to Cyrus Daruwala
Email Cyrus   
Do buy the book on 
Orders within India: 
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  1. John Albert says:

    cyrus was a great man…thanks for sharing

    SMS Messages Poetry

  2. preethi says:

    Interesting. Never heard of crowd funding before. Looks the the book is an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  3. neeraj says:

    Now now Laxmi, you have piqued my interest by putting up this post. I must now read more about crowd funding book publishing.

    Or maybe you can tell me a bit about how it works. Right back at you 😉

  4. Hey Neeraj – you must email Cyrus about this – find him on twitter; he should be able to help!

  5. Hey Preethi – thanks for reading 🙂