Author Interview: Shreya Prabhu answers tough questions on Urban Relationships


shreya-prabhu-jindalIn metro cities, life runs faster than metro trains. People infused with multipronged ambitions work day and night to make things work. In all this, relationships face the worst part of such rollercoaster lifestyle. People begin hating people whom they loved months ago. Our author Shreya Prabhu Jindal has encompassed urban relationships with its all kookiness in her Book Simply Complicated. In this interview, she has answered tough questions relating to urban relations.


Anant: How do you come to write about the complicated relationships of young professionals living in metro cities?

Shreya: I write what I know, what I see and observe around me. I have always lived in big metro cities and my friends are young professionals- as am I. So it made sense to write about the complications that exist for that age group.

Anant: There are similarities in you and your characters like the alma mater and professions. Did you see these characters as real people in your life?

Shreya: Yes, many of them are based on people I know and come from a similar background to myself and my friends. The professions are very typical ones for young working people, and so are the kind of problems they are faced with. But beyond that, they are all fictional characters.

Anant: Do you really think two couples can live happily despite the bitterness and regular fights?

Shreya: I think it depends on the couple. How much are they willing to try and make it work? I think that if the couple is happy on more days than they are fighting, it’s worth it. It depends on the kind of people they are.

Anant: Do you think it will be easy for a girl to behave with someone as a friend for whom she had got real feelings? Can such feelings be curbed for the sake of anything even friendship?

Shreya: This happens all the time, everyday. Everyone has crushes which aren’t returned, and people struggle to get over their exes and remain friends with them. Behaving normally with an old friend, even if you have developed feelings for them, isn’t that hard!

Anant: Which character was closest to you and why? I believe she was Astha!

Shreya: Yes, Aastha, because I am always playing the role of the single friend who’s giving relationship advice to others. But that’s where the similarity ends. She can be very judgmental and irritating- something which I hope I’m not.

Anant: Did you intentionally give Rahul’s character a gray shade to make him relatable and real?

Shreya: Rahul was initially supposed to be a complete “douchebag” with no redeeming qualities, but when I started writing from his perspective I had to change my portrayal of him. He is as human as any of the other characters. They all have their flaws and problems- none of them are perfect.

Anant: What have you just finished reading and what are you reading now days?

Shreya: I am reading fanfiction based on Harry Potter and the popular TV show, Sherlock. I don’t have too much time for reading, so I end up reading fanfiction in my spare time, since I prefer that.

Anant: Please tell what qualities of a book makes you read and reread with one example please?

Shreya: A good book should have strong characters, memorable dialogues, and a conflict or crisis that the characters have to work to fix. This is a formula which works for every genre- from The Fault in Our Stars to Harry Potter!

Anant: Please share this book’s journey from an idea to a paperback. Hope it will help young writers.

Shreya: It takes a lot of work to write a book. Getting the ideas in place is the easiest part. After that you have to force yourself to keep writing at least 300-400 words on days when you might be feeling very tired or uninspired. You can only succeed as a writer if you’re able to keep writing regularly.

Anant: Please share how was this interview round? You can pinpoint which question is good and which is boring.

Shreya: The advice to young authors and the questions on what inspired me and the journey of writing the book were great, but you shouldn’t be too specific about characters and situations in the books which people reading the book might not have read. Otherwise, it was a good interview.

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People are generally afraid with Money says Mehrab Irani


Mehrab-Irani-At times you come across people, who change the way you think. Such people show you the way of living your life with less stress and distress. Mehrab Irani turns out one such person for his readers. Currently working with Tata Investment Corporation Ltd. as General Manager- Investments, Mr. Irani brings his readers on a journey of financial nirvana. He introduces Ten Commandments of Money to let his readers avail freedom from the financial slavery. Here, I have tried to ask few questions while representing all of my readers. I hope your queries will go resolved in Mr. Irani’s answers if not then you can ask more questions in comments.

Anant – Your book familiarizes people with the ten commandments of money. Why do you think people do not like reading about finance?

Mehrab Irani – I have been working in the finance field for the past 15 years, both on the buy and sell side, in equity and in debt, in research and in fund management as well as in dealing, in mutual fund as a Fund Manager and also as an investor in mutual fund products and more. In my this experience I have seen that even today there is lot of misconception about money, finance and investments. Infact, in the good old days there used to be barter system – good and services used to be exchanged for goods and services. However, then man created money as a medium of exchange and store of value. However, over a period of time – the creator himself became a slave of his own creation – wage slave of the employer, tax slave of the government and loan slave of the bank. I felt very pained when I saw humans being turned into financial slaves. And therefore I thought that I have to do something in this regards.

To this effect, I wrote my first book called “10 Commandments for Financial Freedom” in the year 2013. It is a simple straight forward book wherein I have brought out 10 principles like earning, protecting, budgeting, saving, spending, investing, leveraging, insuring, common financial mistakes and rules of money which I believe if anybody follows will lead him / her on the path towards financial freedom. It’s a very simple book and I believe anybody reading it will be able to understand it. However, still it is a non-fiction book and people have to actually sit and do the hard work of reading it. After this book, when I used to meet lot of people in seminars, conferences and used to talk with them, I realized that there is lot of apathy towards financial thinking. When we ask a housewife that what are you doing with your money the typical answer is that, “I don’t know my husband or father is looking at it”; when we ask a young educated professional who has just started working that what are you doing regarding your future marriage, children the general answer is that, “I don’t know just now I am busy concentrating in my career”, when we ask a middle aged experienced professional in a senior position earning very good income that what are you doing about your retirement, children marriage then the normal answer is that, “I don’t know I have invested in that mutual fund or given my money to such a fund manager”. I am not stating that we should not go to professional fund managers, if we don’t know how to invest in specific stocks we should surely take the help of professionals but what I am trying to stress over here is that we should atleast be aware what is happening with our money. But there is total ignorance about it. And people are generally afraid about the word “money”. And it is not their fault – during school or college we have been taught everything like math, science, history, geography, engineering, medical, law etc but nobody teaches us about the most important thing with which everyone in this physical world has to deal i.e. money. Yes, whether it is a King or a beggar, a CEO or a peon, a Minister or a normal party worker, a man or a woman, educated or uneducated – everybody in this world has to deal with money. Journey in this physical world is incomplete without money. And if we don’t know how to deal with money – many times our this journey becomes like mad. Hence, although everybody deals with money, nobody wants to read about it is because it’s perceived to be a difficult and dry subject. Therefore, I made it a thrilling journey by combining finance with entertainment.
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Anant – How did youget the idea of writing Mad Money Journey?

Mehrab Irani– We are all born geniuses. Sadly, most of us die in mediocrity. We all are going to someday shed our earthly bodies and leave for another voyage – the journey of the soul. But then, does the journey of the soul begin when we actually die physically. Is the soul actually alive when we are here on this planet? A child knows what it wants to accomplish in life. At that point, everything is clear and everything seems possible. As children, we are not afraid to dream and yearn for everything. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince us that it is not possible. By repeating the same pattern again and again, are we moving towards the death of our very soul?

Everybody has a ‘personal calling’. This is the promise between God and us. It is the promise each one of us makes to God before embarking on our earthly journey. Whoever you are, you have a personal calling, a desire that originated in your soul. This is clearly your mission on earth; the purpose of your very existence on this planet.

In this physical world, financial slavery is one of the prime reasons which prevents humans from achieving the purpose of their soul. Take the example of a young teenage boy who is very good at cricket and wants to become a cricketer. May be his very purpose of embarking on this earthly journey is to play cricket and entertain others. However, the whole world, including his parents, teachers, elders and all are busy advising him to quit playing cricket and concentrate on his studies to become a doctor or engineer and live a “safe secure life”. In the name of this so called illusion of “financial security” the boy is pushed into leaving his dream and living a life of slavery. This is what pains me a lot. I got the idea of writing “Mad Money Journey” as I wanted to free humanity from financial slavery so that they can then achieve their true higher purpose and fulfill the very reason of their existence on this planet.

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Anant –
How did you manage to portray a subject like finance in an entertaining way?

Mehrab Irani – The two most important things in this world are – entertainment and money. I thought why not combine both of them. Most of the people are afraid of the term money. So, I thought to present money in a thrilling suspenseful entertaining form. We all like to learn from stories and fables because we have been taught that way since our childhood. So, why not learn the most important subject also in the form of a fable? And that is when I got the idea of writing a “finance fiction”. My book “Mad Money Journey” is a completely new refreshing book which combines finance and fiction in a manner never done before. “Mad Money Journey” combines the principles of money, finance and investments on one side and of life and its wisdom on the other side in an inspirational, motivational and intuitive manner bringing out the relationship between man and money, entertaining in a thrilling suspenseful manner, promising to be a page-turner, helping and guiding its readers on a new path towards self-discovery, a financially free life wherein everybody, rather than being slave to money is actually able to live a happy successful life achieving their highest self and fulfilling their very mission of coming to this planet. The readers taking the “Mad Money Journey” will permanently change their journey by putting themselves in the right path wherein they will be introduced to their own inner self and true path.

Anant – The characters are quite realistic in nature. Did the idea behind these characters come to you while sitting on your desk or your visits across the world?

Mehrab Irani – Certainly yes. The theme and message from the book is that life’s most important lessons are learnt from the most unconventional people and in unexpected circumstances. Life is uncertain and always has its own methods of teaching us. In school, we may have defined subjects like math, science, history, geography and known teachers who just teach what is in the curriculum. However in real life, the subjects are unknown while the real teachers are a mystery; they appear when the disciple is ready to learn their lessons.

Actually, the fault lies not with the teachers or parents but with our education system, which is based on the system of elimination – the focus is not on advancing the stronger ones but on holding back the weaker ones. It makes them believe that there is not enough for everyone to win. It is an attitude born out of the fear of scarcity – it makes future generations fear everything as they start believing that the world is full of scarcity and for them to win, somebody else has to lose. Instead of teaching them to work in harmony, the education system actually creates rivalry, jealousy and hatred amongst children. Rather than developing the very best in each and every person, the system has conveniently pitted people against each other in this wild game of education where there is nothing but the survival of the fittest. It is a game in which winners just get the degree but many times eventually lose the game of life because the greatest teacher of all is life itself. However, life is mysterious and nobody knows what its curriculum is. It’s only when the student is ready, the master automatically appears and many a times from a non-expected place and in the least expected form.

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Anant – Which character is closer to you as a person – the Doctor or his friend?

Mehrab Irani – Both the characters are close to my heart. This is simply because both the characters are a reality in today’s world. However, the sad truth is that there are more of the characters like the doctor and less like his friend while actually it should be the reverse. My whole aim of writing the book was to convert the doctor like character to that of his friend. The doctor, although very well educated, earning excellent money, highly respected in society and having a loving family is still somewhere struggling from within and is a slave to money. On the other hand his friend is not so well educated but is very successful in his life, is financially free, is a role model for others and doing great philanthropic activities. Therefore, boththe characters are real and exist in today’s world but the very purpose of writing this book was to encourage the doctor like character to convert to the friend like people.

Anant – Do you really think people will believe that insurance isn’t an investment product and will they not call their consultants to confirm the same?

Mehrab Irani – One should not expect something in return for their insurance premiums except the protection which the insurance intends to provide to the person. Also, we should never combine investments with insurance. Don’t forget that insurance is always a bad investment and that investments should not provide with any kind of insurance. If one were to just subscribe to a plain vanilla pure term insurance policy which is available at a fraction premium to the famous money back or endowment policies and just invest the premium saved on it in a regular fixed income instrument then invariably over a period of time the return of such a combined scheme would be better than just subscribing to a pure money back or endowment scheme. Remember that insurance companies charge high fees for providing sub-standard investment advice. Hence, one should never combine insurance with investments as both are totally distinct products serving very diverse needs of a person.

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Anant – Would you like to share the idea of your next book in this interview or marketing and promotions for the book is eating away your time?

Mehrab Irani – Yes, I am certainly busy with the marketing activities. At the same time I am thinking and pondering about the idea for my next book. I have not yet decided on what would be my next book but it might be something which will further delve into the relationship between man, money and his / her dreams. It will further explore and investigate into the life of various characters who are going through some kind of mental, physical, emotional and psychological struggle because of money. Take the example of a housewife. She might be educated, reasonably rich, having a loving family – husband, children, in laws but might feel attracted to a neighborhood man who is financially more successful than her husband. This physical attraction because of money might be draining her emotionally and physically. What is the solution for her? I would like to dig deeper and deeper into such struggles which we humans face in our daily life because of the interplay between man, money and our dreams.

I would always like to connect with other people. Books is the primary medium but there are others also like talks and speeches, TV and Radio shows, press and media as wells as movies. I myself learn while connecting with people. And connecting with people helps me to understand humans better and then produce want is the real need. And I want to connect with the masses. That is why I write articles in press, appear on various TV shows and now books. However, after a certain point books have a limit of penetration since there are some people who would simply never want to read. Hence, to connect with those people I am exploring other mediums like movies and TV shows. I expect to talk with people to explore the idea of converting “Mad Money Journey” into a movie. I am also planning to do a TV show on money and finance which will be very different from the rest. It will be a thrilling yet emotional show which will explore and connect people with their dreams and show them how money and finance is preventing them from achieving their highest self in life. The show will not just teach to earn money, it will help to fulfill dreams.

Anant – How can an author go on getting honest feedbacks once s/he done with writing the first draft?

Mehrab Irani – It’s very difficult for an author to get honest feedback on the first draft which he /she has written. The author has to essentially rely on family members, friends and editors for the same. However, the most important point for the author is to pay attention to their inner voice. If the author strongly believes in the idea, if the author thinks that he / she would like to read such a book, if the author thinks that he / she is fulfilling the very purpose of their coming to the world by writing the book and if the author believes that he / she is answering their true calling in writing the book then only they should move ahead with the book.

Anant – Which promotional medium has helped you most – Social media or print media? Please share your experience on both.

Mehrab Irani – Media and publicity play a vital role in any product including a book because finally how will the target audience know about the product if the correct message is not sent to them. Nowadays there are different kind of publicity and marketing platforms available. I have used all different kinds of media for publicity. I am fortunate that my book “mad Money journey” has been widely covered by all kind of media – print, TV, internet, radio, social media, bloggers (like you) and much more. The idea of combining entertainment with finance has clicked with the media and common man alike and hence the interest in the title.

Also, the book has received endorsement and advance praise from great respected people in the business, investment and entertainment world like Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr.Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Mr. Cyrus Broacha.

Having got attention from the media and great personalities, what is equally important to me is to connect with the common readers. I am confident that when a person reads the book he / she will be able to relate with lot of the characters in the book. They will somewhere feel their ownselves in those characters, they would have sometime in their own lives gone through the situation what the character is facing in the book and then they will see what the character does and what did they react to in their lives. Hence, I want to draw a chord between the reader and the book’s characters. If I am able to do that then I feel that my purpose for writing the book will have been achieved.

Anant – What’s your advice to young authors, who are giving their day and night to become a celebrated author attaining celebrity status with a great bank balance?

Mehrab Irani – If you think that reason for writing a book is money — then, yes, one of the reasons for writing a book should be money because money is an important factor in this physical world and if an author is struggling physically then how will he / she express his / her inner feelings and thoughts through writings. God has given everybody a gift and we have to use that gift to our maximum advantage. I have the gift of writing and I am using it to my advantage. However, I would like to add one more point here. We have to use that gift of God not just for the purpose of earning money or pleasure; we must also use it for a higher purpose — for the service of mankind. If we use our gift just for the sake of earning money, wealth or fame then I am sure very soon we might lose our gift and not succeed in our mission. Therefore, while one of the reasons for writing a book is certainly to earn money but there has to be a higher purpose as well. And, remember, there are easier ways of earning money than writing a book!

 

Anant – Any advice you want to give to your readers to let them achieve financial nirvana?

Mehrab Irani – The world is moving forward technologically but we humans are moving backwards financially. We may have all modern facilities like online banking and investing, credit and debit cards, access to financial information, easy loan facilities but our financial knowledge is diminishing. Today, we see young educated people earning very good income but then not able to protect their money from financial predators, they pay everybody like the government, banks, electricity bills, telephone bills, children school fees etc but forget to pay themselves via surplus budget, don’t know when to cut spending and when to spend to get rich, have no protection in the form of financial insurance, are not aware of the difference between saving and investing, buy liabilities mistaking it to be assets with negative leverage which puts them in the web of unnecessary avoidable recurring expenses which then sadly makes them “slaves of money” for life – wage slave of the employer, tax slave of the government and loan slave of the bank.

Working for money is the sad way of trading one’s time, which we have limited, for money, which is available in abundance. People spend their time earning money which they don’t value, take loans which they can’t repay, to buy things which they don’t require to impress people who don’t matter. Money should be important only to the extent that it provides one with financial emancipation. Earning money is meaningless unless one is able to achieve financial freedom. And financial nirvana according to me is reaching the state where a person does not have to trade his / her time in exchange of other person’s money, a person is not required to work for money, a person is free to achieve his / her higher self-actualization goals rather than just merely toiling for a living.

Money in itself can never give happiness to a person. However, unfortunately most of the people spend their time on earning money which they feel will give them true happiness and when it doesn’t they then spend their time on earning more money thinking that will give them happiness which also doesn’t and then they spend even more time on trying to earn even more money and the viscous cycle continues. Remember that even if a person wins the rat race, he still remains a rat. Sometimes a rich person is actually so poor that besides money he does not have anything else. He is empty from within which many times leads him to depression, anxiety and many more mental, psychological and even physical problems which might eventually and unfortunately culminate into suicide.

Also, one should seek money only as long as it helps the person in answering his soul calling and fulfill his mission on earth. If a person just keeps accumulating wealth without actually understanding the real meaning of money than it’s a very sad way to spend their life. Time is a limited resource which we have to utilize very judiciously to earn money which is anyway available in abundance in the world. Today we see there is only one Sachin Tendulkar, one Amitabh Bachan and one ShriNarendraModi while each one of us have the talents and capacity to become someone like them. God has given each one of us some special gift, a unique talent, its upto each one to recognize their gift, develop their talents and then utilize it for the common benefit – money should only act as a facilitator of it. Money should never be an end; it should be the means to achieve the end.

For more interesting author reviews please visit my blog’s interview section.

Book Writing isn’t a lucrative Career says Sanjay Grover


Sanjay Grover authorAt times, we come across people who chose to follow their inner callings and do what they always love to do. One such person Sanjay Grover – the author of The Ideal Wife is available among us. The author has shared the interesting things about how he come to write is his debut book. I hope you will also find this interview resourceful and actionable.

Anant – How did you reach to this idea of writing a book on the quest of an ideal wife? Was it somewhere related to your personal life? 

Sanjay – No, it isn’t related to my personal life. Idea of An Ideal Wife struck me while one day I was casually surfing through 100s of TV channels. My eyes got hooked to a TV program in which a machine changed the shape of an object that went in the machine. For a simple explanation – corn changes its shape and structure after getting popped in a popcorn machine.

That movement, I got a thought what if instead of an object we want to control the shape, size and qualities of a person as per our wishes. And Voila! An Ideal Wife was born.

Later I did a survey of my friends and colleagues to zero down on the qualities of An Ideal Wife which I wanted to present in my book.

Anant – Arrival of a God on earth in a romcom story makes an amusing read but share the interesting creative process that brought a dwarf god into picture?

Sanjay – Drapaudi had to marry five Pandavas to get all the qualities she wanted in her husband then how could a mere mortal get his Ideal Wife so easily. This thought marked the entry of God. Bringing in God threw another challenge to me as a writer, since no Goddess or Apsara possessed the qualities this mere mortal wanted in his Ideal Wife then how could God get him An Ideal Wife? So, God had to be someone with no experience of dealing with unending wishes of human. That’s how a dwarf God, once driver of the biggest God, took shape in my book. He was not fit to become God initially but got promoted due to his closeness with the biggest God. Just like car drivers of many politicians in Mrityulok became Directors of companies floated by these politicians.

Anant – What was the concept behind using Hphone, Hpade, LED light illuminated Swarglok? 

Sanjay – I wanted to show Swarglok is much more advanced than Mrityulok but at the same time making sure people understand its advancement. I mean I didn’t want to use the terms which could confuse the readers. So I chose some of the worldly things which we consider advanced such as iPhone, iPad etc and replaced them with Hphone, Hpad (means Heaven’s phone, Heaven’s pad etc). Who is better than Steve Jobs, once he reached heaven, to develop these J?

Anant – The price and length of the book is ideal for a speedy read. Was this a strategic move before writing the book?

Sanjay – I have barely read 4-5 English fiction in my entire life but I read newspaper, articles etc almost 3-4 hours every day. I have always preferred reading something which can be finished in a quick time due to two main reasons; first due to nature of my work I have to juggle many things at the same time and second my attention span is not very good while reading. So I wanted to write something which I, myself as a reader, would take very less time to finish.

I, being a marketer myself, very well knew that book connoisseur will not be my target audience as I was going to write in a very simple language. I was more interested in reaching to general reading population. That is the main reason we opted for a price point which would encourage even the not-so-avid reader to pick up my book.

Anant – You talked about your love for cinema in preface of the book. Now you are a published author. Will you move on to make films or we will have more books from you?

Sanjay – I am writing my second book currently and at the same time pitching my film stories to producers. Let’s see what happens first J

Anant – You are a new author in the town. Please share your experience in getting this book published? It will surely help the wannabes.

Sanjay – There are four major steps which every author needs to go through; writing, publishing, distribution and marketing. The easiest among these is writing, as the author has full control over what he/she wants to write. The biggest challenge is to find a good publisher to publish your work. In my case, most of the big publishers didn’t even reply. After struggling to get to reach them for more than six months, I opted for a small but good publisher who was convinced with my story. I got offers from few other small publishers but went with Good Times as they allowed me full freedom not only in creative process (such as cover design, font size, font type etc) but also in marketing (including deciding the price point). Due to this freedom, I was able to negotiate a promotional deal with www.shaadi.com.

A word of advice to all aspiring authors, book writing is not a very lucrative career till you are very successful. I would suggest them to continue working in some alternate field which can keep their kitchen running.

Anant – Describe your book in a sentence of five words.

Sanjay – It’s funny, gripping and interesting.

Anant –  Have you adopted writing as a fulltime career? If not then how do you manage to allocate your energy in both directions?

Sanjay – I was a corporate guy for many years in USA but shifted to filmmaking in 2007. Today, I am a writer and short film director in Hindi film industry. I made a career shift knowing most of the challenges so I was physically, mentally and financial prepared. I spend my time in writing books and film scripts, producing corporate films and directing short films. I thoroughly enjoy what I do so allocating energies in many directions is never an issue.

Anant – Tell us something about influence of Indian literary market on the creative process of writing a book and making a movie?

Sanjay – Not sure if I am competent enough to talk about it. It’s my first book and I still need to grow a lot.

Anant – Would you like to say a few words to the young readers, who are now reading your wonderful book?

Just read with a flow and let your imaginations go wild.

For more interesting reviews please visit my blog’s interview section

Interview: My Own Initiatives drives me to write new thrillers says Surendra Mohan Pathak


Surendra_Mohan_PathakQues: 1- First of all, I would like to pay my sincere thanks for write a novel in Hindi language? Please tell us what drives you to write thriller.
There is nothing new in my writing a thriller. I am a thriller writer since day one. My expertise in only in this genre of fiction writing. So my own initiative has to drive me to write a new thriller. Hence the COLABA CONSPIRACY.

Ques: 2- How do you see the future of Hindi literature when stories are based in urban locations and language goes bilingual?

I cannot comment upon Hindi ‘Literature’ as, unfortunately, my kind of writing is not recognised as literature. This is popularly termed as pulp fiction, although I don’t contribute to this erroneous label. The trend of language going bilingual has just set and I am of the opinion that if given proper attention by the related publishers, it can go far. To illustrate my point I will reiterate that if CC is translated and published in English, it will enjoy much better sales and readership in English as compared to Hindi which, after all thins said and done, is nothing but a regional language.

Ques: 3 – Will you please tell us about the changed response of Indian publishing industry towards Hindi literature and Hindi writers since 1959 when your first story published in Manohar Kahaniya?
The Indian publishing industry is prospering like anything but their response towards Hindi ‘Literature’ (!) leaves much to be desired. Compared to English writers, a Hindi writer is looked down upon by international names in publication. Even the local players in the field will always be on the look out for another Chetan Bhagat and they will not give it a distant thought to give the same attention to a Hindi writer. My every book’s first edition is from 40-45 thousands copies but it is not an event because I write in Hindi. A guy writing in English will be declared a bestseller and the event will be celebrated with great fanfare if his book sells 5000 copies. Even media will cover the event with much enthusiasm. But a Hindi book selling 50000 copies is not worthy of there attention. English is treated as a housewife entitled to all niceties, Hindi as a harlot to be looked down upon by all the high-nosed englishwallahs.
Ques: 4 – Did you ever get the chance to write for films in your long experience of last five decades as a thriller writer?
I never got an offer to write directly for the films but got many offers to get many of my novels to be adopted for films and for tele-serials. Nothing worked as I was required to move to Mumbai which I never will. Secondly I am doing very well in my own trade of books in Delhi, so I am not very particular at my age (74+) to have a Mumbai stint.

Ques: 5 – Do you think that a Hindi writer can earn his or her living by devoting time to write literature? Please tell us about the money making part for writers in this industry.
This is a very vague, very general question but I will try to reply. Firstly I cannot imagine Hindi writer writing in English. If there is one such fellow who is capable of this feat he will definitely forego writing in Hindi. Why be a ‘koopmandoop’ when there is a whole world to conquer. There are Indian writers who write in English but there is hardly any who writes in his native language too. He only waits to get his work translated in English and there are not many who get this opportunity and gain fame and acclaim more than what they enjoy in their native language i.e. if they enjoy the honour of being best sellers in their native language. Secondly a writer in India cannot earn his living, run his family, by writing alone. He has to pursue some other profession (the way I did by working for Indian Telephone Industries for 34 years) to make a decent living for himself and his family. There are a few exceptions in India like Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Wikram Seth etc. who have minted money but they too can not match the earning of J.K. Rowling (richer than the queen of England), John Grisham, Sydney Sheldon etc.

Ques: 6 – How did you define the success of a writer in any part of the world?
There is only one measure of the success of a writer who writes for money (‘No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for money’ – Samuel Johnson): His print order. Number of editions that each book ran into. Huge royalties. If your writings make you wealthy, you are successful otherwise you are ‘also ran’, sometimes only ‘has been’.

Ques: 7 – What is your next project post Colaba Conspiracy?

Next book by me after CC is entitled JO LARE DEEN KE HAIT and will also be published by M/s Harper Collins in due course.

Ques: 8 – Will you please give your valuable suggestions to young Hindi writers, who dream of becoming The Surendra Mohan Pathak or The Shri Lal Shukla of Hindi Literature?

If a person has printer’s ink in his veins, nobody on the God’s green earth can stop him from writing. He will write without giving it a thought whether it will be published or not. But if a guy wants to pick up writing as a profession, that too as a lucratively paying profession, I have only one word of advice for him: DON’T

 

World owes you nothing says Yashodhara Lal to young writers


Yashodhara Lal ImageIn an interview with Hues of A Soul, Yashodhara Lal, who is a celebrated author of two best selling books Sorting Out Sid and Just Married Please Excuse talked about the little things of publishing industry. In this short interview, the author honestly shared her honest thoughts and given thought provoking insights to young authors, who dream of becoming new age celebrated author like Ravi Subramaniyam, Amish Tripathi, and Chetan Bhagat. Though, Yashodhara also joins the league of IIM graduate authors but keeps a low profile and connects directly with her audience. The excerpts of the interview are given below:

You have written your previous book from a girl’s perspective. What inspired you to write Sorting out Sid from a male’s perspective?

This book was originally written as the story of a Single Mom, Neha and the Divorced man, Sid. However, when I sent it to my sister in its raw state, she said that the male character was somehow just more relatable. It surprised me that being a woman, she related more to the man herself! So it got me thinking that this could make a very interesting story centered on just the man – there also aren’t many books in this genre – humorous takes on relationships- written from the male perspective. In fact, I can’t recall any right now. It was therefore a fresh idea and a challenge, so I reworked it – and my editor loved it! So that was that.

Sid is a boy next door with average looks and confident personality. How did you develop this character, which is humorous, witty, confident but still hold flaws, which make him real and relatable?

Sid is actually fairly good looking, alternating between vanity and insecurity about his looks; but his confidence is a put-on, as are so many things about him. This character is an amalgamation of so many personality traits that I’ve observed in men ( and some women, including myself). He sort of developed himself as a character once I got into writing about him!
Do you think there was a way-out for Sid and Mandira to avoid the separation because the things can also go sour with his new love interest after few years of relationship as they existed because of series of mutual misunderstandings? See it as a real life situation!

Sid and Mandira had it coming for too many years; there was just too much dust swept under the carpet. Sometimes, the only solution is to let go. And yes, even subsequent relationships could go sour. But this one was done and dusted…too much bitterness, I think, especially on her side. I hope we’re not giving away too much of the story, ha ha!

At one point, Sid tried to console Mandira by moving forward to hug her while she was weeping. Was that the point from where the things could have sorted out between Sid & Mandira?

No. It was much too late for one moment of tenderness to wipe out years of bitterness.

Was Little Kippy somewhere connected to peanut or papad? Please share the experience of creating kippy because I really liked this beautiful character 

Kippy as a character is certainly not central or over-described, but represents just an average toddler learning to assert her own independence as she grows under the supervision of a determined single mom. I suppose my experience of having 3 kids has resulted in a certain familiarity with that particular age – but fictional Kippy has inherited some characteristics from her fictional mother Neha, in terms of a tendency to be stubborn, and her cheerfulness. More than Kippy as a personality herself, I think it is the reactions she inspires in the adults of the story that make her important.

Please tell us something about the publication process of your first and second book, which has been published by Harper Collins India.

I sourced some email IDs and sent out a covering letter and first few chapters of my first book to many publishers. Most of them were kind enough to respond – some in weeks, some taking months! Incidentally, HarperCollins was one of the few who took months, but I love their editorial team and the second book flowed naturally with them.

Did the close friend and associates change the perspective towards you on becoming the author of two successful books?

First of all, there’s a lot of respect you get for being an author – even in today’s day and age where it’s easier to get published than before. That’s one of the nice things. The not-so-nice part is that some people start to assume you think you’re a big shot now. Which is totally not true because even as a so-called ‘successful’ author, you’re still one amongst so many! My closest friends and family members have been supportive through a lot of chaotic times, though. Some relationships, I’ve had to let go, and that’s fine.

How do you explain the success of a fiction author? Can it be marked with the selling figures of the book?

I think sales, apart from reviews and positive feedback of course, have to be the most telling indicator of success. You can be on page 3 as much as you want, but the question is – are people actually reading your work, are they valuing it enough to buy and then recommend to their friends? It does matter.

Did your professional experience in marketing and exposure to such lifestyle help you in creating close to real events in this book?

Definitely – Sid is a Marketing Head who goes through a bunch of ridiculous things at work. A lot is based on my experience in the corporate world!

What do you suggest to emerging and budding authors when they reach on the stage of publication?

Keep yourself grounded. The world isn’t going to change overnight for you. Just keep at it, write better and better books and don’t get carried away by your own expectations about what the world owes you. It owes you nothing. Each single reader is valuable, so please retain your humility. And above all – keep reading, do not be;come one of those authors who proudly proclaim they don’t read at all, but still write books! All the best

Interview With Lipa Rath Post Authoring Living Courageously


In an official interview for Hues of a Soul, Lipa Rath, the author shared personal experiences and her efforts of helping people. She shared the story of becoming a published author and exploring a whole new life for herself. So, here are the answer from the author.

Question No. 1) How your book can help a depressed and frustrated reader?

This book, “Living Courageously” as the title suggests, can inspire them. Give them hope. Lighten up their hearts with simple meaningful true life stories, and not give up on life and succumb to pain. It can give them a sense of purpose of their depression. Like as they say, “Your mess can become your message”.

Question No. 2) Why and when you decided to become an author?

I had no plans to be an author. I’m a spiritual counselor and a therapist. I love my job. I never really thought of being an author. But along the way I started feeling the inner nudge that it was time I wrote something about my life story with an intention that God is your best friend and your greatest strength. But I procrastinated about the thought because I felt very awkward and shy to talk about myself. But over a period of time I learnt how to be detached from my unpleasant life experiences and be impersonal about them. And hence I was able to make it a gift. Strangers and friends saw treasure and value in the manuscript.

Question No. 3) Who are your potential readers and why they should read your book?

My potential readers are people above the age of 35 years. Below that you may not have the life experience to understand the intensity the book is speaking from. But if you never had pain and you are indifferent to other people’s pain, I would say then this book isn’t for you.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with pain, my book, Living Courageously, talks about one such way. This book demonstrates that you have a lot more power. And your pain is afraid of this power. Yet its ironic that sometimes the pain you go through reveals your inner power and strength.

Question No. 4) What do you intend to deliver with your book to your potential readers?

That you are the creator of your life. You can mar it or you can make it. You may call it destiny, but destiny along the way through your life gave you choices to choose. So you are responsible for bringing everything into your life good and the bad. At the same time you still have a choice “now” to create a wonderful life despite all your mess. One of the greatest lesson shared in the book is about accepting and forgiving yourself in order to live a joyful life.

Question No. 5) What you intend to say by surrendering to situations?

Sometimes situations are beyond your capacity to understand and deal with them. That is a very helpless moment. But when you trust in the higher power, that takes care you in ways that you have never thought was possible. Its is not being timid to surrender to that power. Its like logging on to a greater wisdom. And that wisdom knows how to take care of you.

Question No. 6) How you deal with criticism on becoming an author, especially in this virtual era?

When you write a book like “Living Courageously”, it also means you have dealt with a lot of criticism and unpleasantness to dare to write a book on a title like this. In fact the book talks a great deal about how to handle criticism from others and your own self-criticism. Criticism existed before the virtual era.I welcome people’s feedback to improve upon my communication. I have faced many dire situations in life and I have faced them bravely.It’s a part of the story in my book.

Question No. 7)  Was it difficult to attain publisher’s trust to get the book published despite being an off-beat project?

Yes, it was difficult. After writing the first manuscript I bought the book, “How to Write a Book-Proposal” by Michael Larson. I think that book is worth its weight in gold for authors who wish to publish their book. One advise from Michael stayed with me and I worked around that principle. He said, I paraphrase, “Write that book you have never read, and would love to read.” He also said, a book that is meant for everyone is actually for no one. If you loved your book, you would find others, that it is meant for love it too.

Question No. 8) Why you have chosen the memoir format when that doesn’t go well in self-help genre?

The book is categorised under non-fiction inspirational genre. It’s not a self-help step by step guide- more in the personal development category. There’s a fine line separating memoirs and books written in the category of personal development. That line is increasingly blurred as authors bring together spiritual information and stories about how their own development has been impacted by the material they’re presenting in the book.

Question No. 9) Who are your favourite authors and why are they? 

When I was growing up, we did not have many Indian authors, although I loved reading R.K. Narayan’s writings. I also liked O’Henry’s short stories.  It was a norm during those days to read Ayn Rand’s books. I was influenced by The Fountainhead, and that confused me a lot. I read a lot of popular fictions by Jeffrey Archer, Fedrick Forsyth, Arthur Hailey, Collen McCullough. And an honest admission more than a hundred Mills and Boons stories! I wish I had read some more meaningful books then.

My all time favourite book is, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramhansa Yogananda. My life took a different dimension after reading the book. This book literally lifted me and threw open vaulted doors. It has the power to surprise you every time you read it. Couple of years later I met Yogananda’s direct disciple Swami Kriyananda, aka, J. Donald Walters, an American yogi, author of more than 100 books, a musician and a great teacher. His books, his life and his friendship deeply influenced me. I gained clarity about yoga philosophy. His writings also taught me how to express complex ideas in simple ways. It was a thrilling moment when I received Kriyananda’s testimony to my manuscript of LC. He wrote, “This book is well written and well thought out, and contains a lot of wisdom. I highly recommend it.” Other favourites are Dr. Brain Weiss, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Doreen Virtue, Louise Hay and many others. I have met some of them and attended their workshops.

Question No. 10) Will you keep writing on self-help like the big authors or what will be your next project?

I don’t know what will be my next writing project. It has to be something very interesting and exciting to share with others. It should also be entertaining and full of insights.

Question No. 11) What is your message to youngsters, who live extremely stressful lives in metro cities, to calm their lives?

Apart from books, which can help deal with specific areas that one needs to tweak, nurture and care in order to make their life meaningful, youngsters can also take help from counselors to help in their specific areas of need.

12) Final question, what you like to suggest to newbie authors, who choose off-beat projects?

On a lighter note, I would quote W. Somerset Mauham, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” Well,If you believe in your topic/storyline then go for it. Do your research and write with conviction. “Literature” translates as, “Sahitya” in Sanskrit, which means that which is good for the society. Having this in mind keeps one perspective clear.

I would like to pay my sincere thanks to the author and her agent for this wonderful round of questions and answers.

Interview With Rashma Kalsie Author of Ohh! Gods Are Online


Book Reviewing Blog

Tuesday 25th 2013 became a memorable day, when religious expansionism faced tough challenges from spiritual corporatization & networking. The prophets became the CEOs of their respective religious organisations and adopted the win-win mode of working. Internet eventually paved the way for collaborative spiritual dialogues where people can share their exclusive ideas freely and openly. In short, Gods have come online…

Rashma Kalsiki shares this innovative via her latest book Ohh! Gods Are Online. It is a work of fiction, where Gods are taking birth in wretched families and miracles don’t happen with them. Three different gods: Christian God Jesus Christ, Hindu God Krishn, and Buddhist God Buddha have came to earth as a commoner to heal the wounds of real commoners. The Srishti publication has shown its trust in the innovative yet risky idea of Research. And, here we are to launch this innovative book with the eminent professor of Delhi University Professor Bharat Gupt. Dr. Gupt shared the basic idea of branching, localization, anti-expansionism, and virtualization of legendry gods. Surprisingly, the book is co-authored by an Englishmen called Phill Cherry aka John Diction. John lives continents far and contributed for the book through Internet. In this wonderful seminar, people of different religious & spiritual ideologies discussed the philosophies of religions & requirements to strengthening humanity in every human being. The author, Dr. Gupt, and Publisher Arup Bose answered to some valid questions of Hues of a Soul Team.

Q: How you get such a unique and unprecedented idea for writing a full length novel?

A: The idea of collaborating started as a joke. I challenged Phil Cherry to include Hindu Gods in his stories and he flipped the challenge back on me. In 2010 we started the novel as a collaborative short story. But when we got down to writing the Gods took over and the story wrote itself out. We wrote without knowing what the other person would add or change. We enjoyed writing without a clue as to where the story was headed. No wonder we have an unusual story to share.

Q: You have placed your demigod Krishna in a slum and also placed other gods in wretched conditions of humans? Any Specific reason?

A: Krishna maybe a king in Hindu mythology but he had two lives. One of the king and the other of a cowherd. If God can be a cowherd in the traditional mythology he can also be pantry boy in his Kalyuga avatar. But coming to Krishna in Ohh! Gods Are Online.. I will go back to 2010. When Phil Cherry sent me the first chapter where Christ lives in his heaven I got thinking about Krishna. I thought that Krishna is a third world God, he could not afford to live in a heaven. He had to be in the middle of poverty, pain, and suffering. Therefore I made Krishna a pantry boy who works in a hospital. As a humble pantry boy he helps men and women who are on the last leg of their journey. Also, in our country the condition of the poor is so deplorable that only Gods can help.

Q: So, you co-authored the book with an unfamiliar Englishmen called Phil Cherry irrespective of the fact that you both never met offline and visually online. How it worked out?

A: Yes, Phil Cherry aka George Dixon (writer’s name) and I have never talked to each other. We did not want to contrive the story. We did not want to do asides. So we wrote one at a time and mailed it to each other. The story found itself. Going without a predetermined story made the story more colourful.

Q: You shared the idea that our gods no more inject the notions of expansionism in their extremist devotees and divide geographical territories. Do you really think that devotees in physical world can go this much cool?

A: In our book Gods do not want to convert. In this book there is no struggle between Gods to win over followers. The message for priests and preachers is that they should reform themselves and stop creating strife in the world. The only way forward for faiths is to live in harmony and to understand the principles of other religions. I would say Gods will it that way. Internet is breaking barriers and bringing people of different faiths closer. So religions will have to become more flexible.

Q: In urban India, we have adopted our gods as Englishmen call them. For example we call Krishn to Krishna, Shiv as Shiva, Brahm as Brahmaa. But, we call their gods as they are like Christ as Christ and Goddess Mary as Mary then why we have left our connect with our spiritual figures.

A: This is a question of pronunciation and not spellings or intent. You see in Hindi the word Krishna ends not with varan ‘n’ but ‘na’. So in Roman script Kirshna will not be spelt as Krishn. Here the confusion is in pronunciation because in English language short vowels are not indicated in the script. In Krishna the vowel ‘a’ is short and it should be read as such.

Q: A language whoever that belong to is a means for communication between two human beings. Relatively, the English belongs to multiple cultures across the world then why Indians are imitating Britishers and Americans in terms of pronunciation. Shouldn’t we stop it now?

A: Please refer to answer 5 for clarification.

Q: It is kind of challenging project! How did you get through with publishing, launching, and now marketing?

A: With in two months of submission the script was accepted by Srishti Publishers. I like Srishti for being prompt and supportive. Writing was more challenging because we had to strike a balance and keep going for two years. Marketing is still happening. So I’ll talk about it once I have sold a few thousand copies.

Q: How was your publisher’s reaction on receiving your idea of novel?

A: Srishti was quick in responding and Mr. Bose sent a fantastic and encouraging review.

Q: Didn’t you fear with the consequences of your fellows like Taslima Nasreena & Salman Rushdee, who too have written on religion and burned their hands?

A: We did not include Islam in the dialogue of religion and Gods, not because we feared fatwa but because we did not have deep understanding of Islam.

Q: You co-authored it with an Englishmen. Are you Sharing Credits with him?

A: Absolutely. His name is on the book cover and website! Phil has a separate contract with the publisher. I read out his note to the audience in my 10 minute address to the audience. He has not been sidelined or something. Infact credits have been given to the editor and the cover designer. It’s about acknowledging the team effort. And I am grateful to the team and the publisher.

Q: Would you like to give any message to young Indian authors, who just want fame and celebrity status with their writing?

A: Well as they say, “To each his own”. I wrote my first novel at age 13. Writing has been my calling since I was a child. I don’t think I can be at peace if I do something else. Others can have other reasons. I don’t like to judge. To paraphrase Maugham, ‘a masterpiece comes at the end of a laborious career not as a happy fluke’.

It was an inspiring interview session with Ohh! Gods Are Online’s  author Rashma Kalsie.