Harneet Bajwa is from Punjabi, India, where he was a mechanical engineer.
But that’s not what he does on Kauai.
Here, like many others, he holds down two jobs. You’ll usually find him working at Tahiti Nui in Hanalei or Tiki Iniki in Princeville. And when he’s not in either of those eating and drinking establishments, he writes. It has been his passion since arriving on Kauai with wife Veronika nearly three years ago.
“I used to read a lot,” he said. “Then I decided, ‘I can write something better than what I’m reading.’”
The result of all that writing was his first book, “Resurgence.” The science fiction self-publication tells the tale of two men who figure out a way to reverse age and sell life to the aging population and build Phoenix Corporation. But an accident derails this utopia and madness and yes, death, descend.
Though he’s a newcomer to the writing game, Bajwa has found success on the website, wattpad — “It’s like youtube for readers,” he says — where people can read various works for free. He has had more than 300,000 reads and has about 1,400 followers. His highest ranking on wattpad was number one in science fiction earlier this year.
“People love his work,” said Bajwa’s wife, Veronika, who has long called Kauai home, where she is a yoga teacher and operates a wedding business.
Loving it, though, doesn’t always equate to financial security. Bajwa has learned that writing well is difficult and getting paid to write is even more challenging. It’s why he holds down two jobs to pay the bills while he builds a new career.
“It’s very hard. What I’ve learned, it’s content. You have to keep creating the content. You have to keep writing and keep writing,” said Bajwa, who enjoys tennis, cricket and even founded a cricket league in Hanalei. “Eventually, you get published.”
His biggest challenge is getting exposure.
“Anybody can be a writer,” he said. “The thing is, you have to get followers and people have to like your work.”
Bajwa, quiet and soft spoken, wasn’t a writer back home in India, where he and Veronika met. He read a lot, especially sci-fi and fantasy, with Stephen King among his favorite authors. But the more he read, the more he wanted to write – the more he believed he could be a writer. First, though, he needed a command of the English language, so he bought a grammar book and studied. And he wrote when he could, often jotting down notes for story ideas. He finished Resurgence earlier this year, is working on a sequel and has several short stories to his credit.
He finds joy and satisfaction putting words in just the right order, in weaving a story that keeps readers turning pages and most important keeps them wanting more.
“I love it,” he said.
Follow Harneet Bajwa’s work at http://www.wattpad.com/user/HarneetBajwa.