Fingers pound the keyboard furiously, against a table lamp as the only source of light. Outside the room, dusk has given way to darkness and the honking of cars can be occasionally heard in the distance. The skyline of the borough – from the opulent marketplace to the gleaming lights of upmarket condominiums – provide the perfect setting.

Author Anurag Anand’s home could well be the place where, amidst the contradictions and conundrums of Gurugram, the plots of stories take shape. Juggling his writing with the day job at Coca-Cola, Anurag recently launched his new novel, ‘To Hell and Back,’ his latest in three years.

The book narrates a riveting tale of a road-rage incident in which a budding entrepreneur breathes his last. The story is woven around a plot of whether the accident was actually a perfectly planned murder. The thriller is a tale of the fast life of Namrata and Renu, groomed with a dose of regressive customs, and how lives intertwine in a city like Gurugram.

“It is my expression at a pace that I want,” Anurag says, referring to the passion he has followed for several years now.

To understand his passion, it is important understand the professional and personal side of the same person. At Coca-Cola, developing the capability of the bottling team drives his day. When off work, he takes to the pen - the computer to be precise, to tell stories. The two sides of him work seamlessly, a culture that Coca-Cola encourages for all its employees.

‘To Hell and Back’ is also the story of two faces of the city of Gurugram, often referred to as Millennium City. On one side of the National Highway 8, there are gleaming buildings that serve as offices for some of the biggest companies in the world. On the other side of the highway, a number of houses that continue to grow in size. Others exist cheek by jowl, giving it the distinct old city feel.

The melting pots for the two sides are Cyber Hub – the office district – and the numerous pubs and eating joints that dot the city. The contradictions that result due to the different sub-cultures engender the gripping stories.

As you leaf through the book, you will notice that the characters are found sipping some of the popular brands from the Coca-Cola stable too.

What has now become a habit had started only for the purpose of doing something beyond work. Anurag was working for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages around 2004, when the idea for the first book, ‘Pillars of Success,’ was conceived. It was a self-help book that made him taste the proverbial blood as a writer.

Soon, he was writing fiction and decided to write on historical mythology as a subject. It took a lot of effort because he visited Vaishali, which helped him develop the context and setting for the story. He even walked around the area where Amrapali lived. The result of his visit were two books – ‘The Legend of Amrapali’ and ‘Birth of the Bastard Prince.’

“The two books have been very satisfying as it was a new genre for me. It is not easy writing historical mythology since each little detail can be questioned, if not researched well,” Anurag says.

The same diligence has to be followed at work. During the weekdays, Anurag has to often travel to different parts of the country, and occasionally outside of India’s shores. He heads the franchise capability services for Coca- Cola in India, which involves expanding the learning and development of the bottling capability for India and South West Asia. He also leads the Parivartan programme, which helps small retailers improve on their customer handling capability.

“The market in India and South West Asia needs to improve on standardisation across all bottling operations. Such a department does not exist in other parts of the world,” he says.

Pursuing his passion

One many not find many like Anurag either, who, with his 11th book over the last 14 years, has now turned into a serial storyteller.

“We try to develop a culture where people put in their best when at work and can also pursue their passion, outside of the workplace”, says Manu Wadhwa, Vice President, HR & Services, Coca-Cola India.

His writing earned him the attention of T. Krishnakumar, President of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia. On a Monday morning, as he entered the elevator, KK – as he is popularly known – told him that he had finished reading one of the books just the previous evening. He went on to talk about characters from the story and its twists, with his feedback and words of encouragement.

“While an organisation can encourage and support individuals in pursuing their passion, this also comes with an added responsibility for the person in question. It becomes one’s duty to approach work with equal zeal and passion,” Anurag says.

While he is busy working, he may already be working on the next story. Ask for the plot and all you get is a big smile.