Never Stop If You Love Writing: inKonversation with Parthajeet Sarma
Bringing together hope and humor seems like his thing. Atleast his debut proves so. The debutant author who brought us the very intriguingly titled Smart Phones Dumb People? – Parthajeet Sarma– gets inKonversation with us and we get a sneak-peek into a mind that is equally intriguing. Read on:
Tell us a little about yourself and your background Parthajeet?
My father was a professor in Gauhati University and I grew up in a very green campus, and went to convent school. Later I studied Architecture in Mumbai and the adrenalin rush in Mumbai was responsible for nearly rocking my marriage when I decided to give away the comforts of a secure job and went on to do something on my own! My father-in-law thought his daughter would soon be penniless! An MBA helped make business sense of what I learned in Architecture school. So besides running my own businesses I also dedicate a lot of time towards research & development in the building industry. I have now begun to pen down some of my experiences in the form of books, blogs and articles.
What were you like at school? When did you make your mind up to grow to be a writer?
Like a married man with a girlfriend, I was flirting around with writing in school. Besides my articles being published in school magazines, I had a regular column in a leading newspaper when I was in my teens. All this just happened without any thought and planning….at a time when the accepted norm was that there was no life outside engineering and medicine. Sadly the writing slowed down and came to stop with college and later with work pressure. I am glad to have resumed writing after many years now…it is once again like a new love affair…an old flame rekindled.
What was the motivation behind this book with such an intriguing title?
I like to think that this is a talk the walk book. I have worked in India, first as an employee and then as an employer…during a period when the country has changed dramatically. With this, people have changed too. This book is about change and how we must adapt it. I have had a few thoughts sitting in various corners of my brain. Writing is something which relaxes me…so I thought I should give words to my thoughts. At the end of the day, if the youth of India reads this book and it helps them in any small way, it would leave me very satisfied. That has been my inspiration.
Do you work to an outline/ plan or do you pursue a thought and go where takes you?
I leave the planning to my day job. As for writing I do it because it brings me satisfaction. So I do it at my pace, and refuse to get pressurized with a fixed regime.
If you were given a chance to meet someone who inspires you, living or departed, whom would you like to meet up and why?
Gandhiji said that real India lives in its villages…several decades back. In the halo of a modernist society we seemed to have missed this fact. India’s economy is in bad shape today as we never capitalized on the economy outside the urban areas. Besides being a patriot, please understand that Gandhiji was a smart leader…with a thought process years ahead of many successful businessmen. I would love to sit down with him and learn from him.
Your biggest aspiration as a writer?
I always hope that I can raise the happiness quotient of people with my writing. People these days seem to be obsessed about problems that our country faces. So I write about hope, and I often write it humorously…that there is always a brighter side.
Tell us about your literary favourites – books/ genres/ writers.
I mostly read non-fiction, and like to follow stories about people…about leaders and about the common man. It is always inspirational. For example Richard Branson’s books have always been very interesting, as it is about the journey about a common man and his conviction. I also read books which help me become better at work. Edward DeBono’s Lateral Thinking has been an all time favorite.
Apart from writing, if given a choice of career what would that be (apart from your present career)?
I think I would have traveled the world and made quirky documentaries on uniqueness of different cultures and people. I am intrigued how different people from different parts can be so alike at the basic level. At the drop of a hat, I end up traveling even today and will someday do some kind of a travelogue.
Best and worst thing about the present scenario of Indian publishing industry?
Well the best part is that the moment I write on my computer today I am an author. There are so many publishing options today, both online and offline. It is easy to get your voice across. The industry on the other hand seems to be going through a major transition especially with a) gradual shift to e-books, b) thousands of new writers and c) emergence of a wide variety of genres. This transition seems to have pushed the industry to become more revenue/survival focused over being content focused.
Do you believe that giving away complimentary books works in favor of establishing a book in the market? Your comments.
I guess it helps to create an initial buzz. However to sustain the buzz, the content needs to be good such that a snowball effect is created.
What are your views on social media for book promotions?
Social media can be very effective. It requires a bit of planning and a bit of luck as well. I say luck as Social Media too is evolving as we speak and sometimes planning is based on assumptions. It is a much more cost effective medium than any offline promotion.
What next from you on the literary platter?
I found immense personal satisfaction with my first book. So I am going to continue writing. I have a few things in my mind and I will give words to them soon; but taking out time for writing while running a business is quite a challenge. Nonetheless I hope to have something new on the table in 2014.
Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
Keep on writing and do not shy away from getting your writing critiqued. You are going to get a few negative comments when you are a published author also, but critiquing in the early stages will help you improve a lot. Keep writing and keep improving…never stop if you love writing.