Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chakra by Ritu Lalit (Book Review- 3.75/5)!!!


   I am done reading another book. There can be nothing better than spending your Sunday in reading a book that has a very beautiful cover page and indeed, a similar story that can refresh your mind and revitalize your mood. The book that I have finished reading is "Chakra" which also has the tagline "Chronicles of the Witch Way". It's written by Ritu Lalit. Well, like every time, this is not the review of a debutante author but this is Ritu Lalit's 3rd book. She is already an established author and does not need much promotion for getting her book sold. I even read it somewhere during the pre-ordering stage of the book that its 1400 copies got booked in pre-order itself. That's quite commendable. This 319-pages book is published by a fresh publisher in the horizon- Author's Empire. Well, we will talk about it later in the review.

ABOUT THE BOOK:-
The Japas are a race so secretive that their existence is dismissed as a myth. Tales of them abound in our mythology, telling of these men and women, possessing physical abilities beyond belief, playing with elements, with the power to curse and cure. They exist among us, mingle with us, ride our metros, visit our malls, and even go to the same schools and colleges as us.

Parineeta Mohan is a powerful Japni who has turned her back on The Witch Way.She has even brought up her niece and nephew as ordinary people, unaware of their heritage.

Their life changes when the kids disappear along with their cousin Roma.

A shocked and desperate Parineeta has to find them before enemies of her family do and has no one to turn to but Jorawar, a man she is attracted to but cant trust since he belongs to the sinister organization Pax.

The only way she can fight, win and survive is to embrace her heritage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:-
Ritu Lalit dons many hats; she is a keen observer of life, a voracious reader, a parent, a blogger, an author and also an office worker. The last is most important since it pays her bills! She has written two books, A Bowlful of Butterflies published by Rupa & Co and Hilawi published by Popular Prakashan. Chakra is her third book.

   
      Coming to the author, I would say, I never got a chance to hear story from my grandmothers or mother as none of them had any idea about what stories to tell a kid. :-) Hence, I used to read a lot of books in my childhood that were titled as "Grandma's stories" or "Bed-time stories". While reading this book, I got the same feel that I used to get while reading them. Even those books had some super-natural stories and even this book has a story that kept me indulged in the book continuously. Just like the grand release of this book, even the story is mega. Authoress has a very good power of narrating the story that you want to keep reading to know what's up in the next page and which twist is about to come. A perfect story needs many flavors in it and some extra-ordinary events and also some unusual graphs. This story almost touches the requirements. 318-pages are quite much in comparison to the books that are releasing these days but the book does justice to its thickness.

          Story has many radiations. Some times, you will feel that you are in mythological world, then in an era of 2050, then you will find yourself in today's world, sometimes you will find yourself surrounded with magic while sometimes you will imagine unimaginable things happening in a page that for the world will just be page, but for you its a world of an unusual tale. I liked the way authoress related a story based on witch and chakra powers in today's world. After seeing the cover page and the thickness of the book, I was sure that I would get bored by the book but the power of writing and imagination took me to some other world which gave me a time that I want the sequel of this book to come as soon as possible. It is one sequel that I would be waiting for. Chakra power is something that even I would like to have after reading this book. But then, some stories are meant for the books only. :-) I will give this book- 3.75 stars out of 5. But you can surely go for it if you miss your Grandma's stories or childhood's fairy tales kind of stories.
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!

Manish Gupta's interview at The White Scape!!!



I am thrilled to be hosting debut author Manish Gupta of English Bites on the blog today.

Manish is a wonderfully talented new author. I asked him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer.

But before that I would appreciate all if you read the review of the book first and than proceed to the interview.

How did you come up with the title?

Frankly I had grossly underestimated the amount of time it will take me to zero-in on the title. I had evaluated several titles for the book. My friends notably Alok Karkera and Jnanesh Kodical had also done several deep dives into their creative spaces to dig out interesting titles for the book. Some of them were either funny or relevant or both. For instance,

 “Word(ly) Wise”

“Amazed by the English Maze”

“I Struggled with English…You Don’t Have To”

“How I found my way through the English Maze”

“Behind Every Successful Word is a Story Involving a Woman”

Finally, we shortlisted three:

“My Struggles with English”

“Expedition English”

“English Bites!”

I was extremely impressed with the first option as it resonated with “My Experiments with Truth” and I secretly hoped the similarly of title may influence its success. My friends overruled me by saying “You could have chosen “My Struggles with English” if you were a celebrity and fans were craving for your story.” Of the other two titles that made the shortlist, I was quite keen that we chose English Bites! It was short, scored high on fun, and made me recollect how I was once badly “bitten” by the English language when I was newly “smitten” at sweet sixteen (more on that later).

Fortunately, my commission editor at Penguin Books India Shahnaz Siganporia shared my view. Where we differed was on the choice of a sub-title. I was keen to go with: “Waiter! One Plate of A la Carte” as this was drawn from an amusing incident captured in the book, whereas Shahnaz preferred “My ‘Fullproof’ English Learning Formula”. I finally succumbed to the gentle persuasion by Shahnaz and sealed the title/sub-title for the manuscript.

How much of the book is realistic?  Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

You may find it hard to believe but this manuscript has been in the making for over 20 years and this has influenced a lot of content in the book. It started as an idea in my second year of engineering way back in 1989-1990 when two of my closet friends and I resolved to publish a book each before we turned 21. I thought I had written a masterpiece by the time our final placements ended (spoiling my grades in the process) and was still a few months shy of turning 21. My other friends, who were writing on ‘quizzing’ and ‘poetry’, had pulled out of this pledge while they were still in their teens. My manuscript then hibernated for 20 years as I got busy with my first job at Tata Motors, an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, my banking career at Citibank, and family life. The manuscript was preserved on a 3.5 inch diskette in Microsoft 2000 that refused to open on my old PC, when I thought of reviving my work of art in the year 2008. Fortunately, the handwritten version (‘manuscript’ in the real sense of the word) had survived well on loose sheets of paper, which I promptly transferred on my PC and started editing and expanding it at the same time. By the time I finished in 4 years (working on weekends), I had landed up re-writing the entire book.

The book is a crazy mix of facts, fiction, and real-life. The entire discussion and commentary on English language is naturally fact based. The sketch of the underlying story of a struggling boy is roughly based on my own life story. The amusing incidents, anecdotes, and jokes in the book are either completely real, present mild or significant exaggeration of reality, or a work of my imaginations.

Which part of writing your book was the most personally interesting to you?

The book begins when I am in high school and much of the damage to my understanding and grip over the English language has already been done. It ends when, even after spending 20 years as a devoted student of the English language, and having achieved my goals of an MBA, a doctor wife,  kids attending convent school, and a reasonably senior position in a multinational bank, I am stumped by new discoveries every other day. So much so that I find some unfamiliar English words in the nursery rhymes of my kids…my extended student life as far as English language is concerned continues. Since the entire story is loosely based on my life, I loved writing it from page 1 to page 334.

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

I stick mostly to non-fiction, and there are far too many favourite books and authors to mention. But if you ask me to pick a few – I have loved the simple and relatable humour in books by Sam Levenson, the life skills taught by Dale Carnegie, and the seminal work on English etymology by Norman Lewis and Wilfred Funk. In the recent past, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed books on Mind, Passion, and Happiness by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Dr. Carol S. Dweck, David Rock, and Ken Robinson. I am currently reading “The Secret Life of Words” by Henry Hitchings, “Entry From Backside Only” by Binoo K. John, and re-reading “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight” by Rujuta Diwekar. I believe in reading fewer books but revising profound and/or interesting passages from books that I meticulously underline and highlight in the first reading. I am often shocked at the size of my hippocampus, the seat of memory in the brain and hence, keen that I internalise the lessons though a rigorous revision.

Give us five “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven this interview?

 1. In Class XI, was extremely embarrassed in front of my third and final crush (and her family) when I could not speak even one correct sentence of English with a foreigner we met during a family vacation to Manali (and she did). This was the inspiration for my writing.

 2. Till Class XII, I stayed in the campus of a girls’ college with our row house facing the girls’ hostel and left this beautiful environment to join Mechanical Engineering at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh (a subject no girl dared to join in our year and many years before and after). This lead to a deep appreciation and understanding of how God re-balances our lives.

 3. Joined Tata Motors in the lovely city of Jamshedpur and realised within a few weeks of working on the shop floor that my constitution was better conditioned to a cushy and air-conditioned life working with computers.

 4. Drifted to do a MBA after realising that no specialist (read post-graduate) doctor girl will consent to marry a Bachelor of Engineering in an arranged marriage situation that I have found myself in after many crushed crushes.

 5. Till recently, I used to work as a Managing Director and Head of Sales for Treasury and Trade Solutions division of Citibank in India. I have now decided to take a plunge in the field of education, training, consulting, and executive coaching and will shortly start working with an organization that works for the underprivileged children at the school level.

In my personal life, I now live by the principle of learning one new skill every year (pity, I understood and adopted this only a few years ago) and have dabbled in adventure sports (like skiing, paragliding, bungee jumping) and getting off the beaten track while travelling. I plan to hone my moderate skills in singing, gardening, and cooking next. I also like to delve into human psychology and waiting for the day when someone will actually pay me for my wise counsel.

What’s next after English Bites?

I guess when you write a book, you give it your all. My stock of ideas is now empty but it doesn’t mean that I will not write another book. Book sales and readers’ feedback and appreciation are extremely strong motivators in rapidly refilling one’s reservoir and giving new ideas and different perspectives to make more meaningful and interesting books. However, I would like to stick to writing in a similar genre (laugh as you learn). Feel strongly about and need to put in my bit to make sure that that language does not become a handicap for anyone to realize their ambitions and dreams!

 Do you have any advice for other upcoming writers?

 Several:

 1. Keep writing on a regular basis. Seek feedback from people who can opine critically and dispassionately. In my experience, quite often, we get so attached to our writing that we close our minds to any adverse comments and selectively absorb the words of appreciation. Develop the ability to accept and digest the feedback on improvement areas.

 2. Be extremely patient when it comes to getting your work published.  Let us understand that there has been an explosion of books in the Indian market in the past 3-4 years as new breed of writers have emerged from sectors like banking and finance, software, media and entertainment, etc. and invaded the bastion of litterateurs, political thinkers, economists, civil servants, and Oxbridge scholars. Naturally, the number of submissions has also multiplied. I am not quite sure that the publishing industry, despite several new entrants, is still adequately capacitised to handle the volumes of work pouring into their offices.

 3. Knowing this, I would advise that unless you have received brilliant feedback on your manuscript, approach the publishers through reputed literary agents (and there are several in the Indian market today). Literary agents usually have the ability to critically assess the quality and marketability of the manuscript and can help you identify and correct the gaps in the story, structure, or writing before submitting it to the select set of publishers that are interested in publishing books in your genre.

 4. Don’t exhaust yourself in the process of writing, revising, editing, and submitting. Save a lot of energy for the marketing of your work before and after it hits the stands.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?

To answer this question, we need to get a little bit into my background. I grew up in Rohtak, a small and sleepy town in Haryana in the 1970s and 80s. The only English I spoke was in school and that too to respond to questions of my teachers in the class. I looked down at English as an alien tongue merely suited to the narrow field of academia and with no particular use once someone got into the real economy.

As a result, I was horrible in all aspects of communication. My active vocabulary was extremely limited, pronunciations & spellings were terrible (as I refused to accept English as a non-phonetic language that it largely is), sentence construction was poor, and my fluency was severely compromised. I was shocked by its increasing relevance and necessity in the real economy once I landed-up in at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh.

Here, I came face-to-face with far more fluent and erudite specimens from convent schools from metros and towns much bigger than my hometown. I also noticed how I used to get tongue-tied while attempting to make a small conversation in English with or even in front of the convent educated colleagues.

Having lived all my school life in disdain for this alien tongue, the grossly neglected subject of English made me realize its importance, its vastness, its complexity, and my far less than self proclaimed ‘photographic memory’ all at once. I needed something quick and in large doses to beat the convent educated types in their own game and seal the best job offered in the campus in my name and after gaining some industry experience, successfully compete with them once again for admission into a top-tier MBA program.

Hence, I set aside the word lists, my failed attempts at mugging, and started creating interesting stories and anecdotes to make indelible imprints of this foreign language in my mind. This was the genesis of the book. It took a lot of research and creativity, but it was a matter of survivability. It was the only thing that could have rescued me from definite depression and elevated me to think and talk like an erudite gentleman. Most of the research was done in the period 1989-1994 through books sourced from college and public libraries at Chandigarh, British Council Library at Lucknow and all kinds of magazines and newspapers. Most of all, it was at the circulating library run by a retired army colonel from his garage at his Sector 11 house in Chandigarh (close to my hostel) that I would source my reading material and use the nearby photocopy centre to keep a record of my sources.

 In the last 4 years as I expanded on my earlier work, I banked on Google, Wikipedia, Answers.com, and several online dictionaries for my writing. Both periods were so different and so much fun! In one there were dust mites in old books and in the other lots of bits and bytes….no wonder English Bites!

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Interview with Mr. Dinesh Gupta, author of "Meri Aankhon Me Muhabbat Ke Manzar Hai"!!!

An exclusive interview with Mr. Dinesh Gupta, author of a Hindi poetry book- "Meri Aankhon Me Muhabbat Ke Manzar Hai”


1.) Hello Dinesh sir, what is your feeling after being an author/poet now? What’s your perspective about life now after achieving a rare flagship in your life?

I started writing long back but to become published Author now is amazing feeling even its difficult to describe in words. I written 1 poem on the day I got first copy of my book in hand:

Aaj Pehli Baar Mere Shabd Syahi Men Dhale Hain..................
           Jaise Kisi Pita Ke Bacche Pehli Baar Apne Pairo Par Chale Hain!

I am focusing now to convert my Passion into Profession and become Full Time Writer/Poet.


2.) When you saw your first book for sale on E-commerce websites and placed at a bookstore for the first time, what kind of thoughts dominated your mind?

I was eagerly waiting to know Readers Feedback as first Thought.

3.) Before we head towards discussing your book, we would like to know in spite of being an author, what do you exactly do? And do you wish to be in the job some day or come into full-time writing?

Well I am Software Engineer by Profession and started writing by Interest but now a days Poetry is passion for me.
When People asked me Poet with Engineer is Rare, How this became possible, I can just say: “Engineering is my Profession but Poetry is my Passion.”  . Shabd Meri Ragon Men Khoon Bankar Daudte Hain aur Kavita Meri Nason Men Behti hai

Yes I am trying to move in full-time writing.

4.) What is your book all about? And from where did this idea occur to you?

My Book “Meri Aankhon Me Muhabbt Ke Manzar Hai” is Hindi Poetry collection contains Poetry, Songs, and Shayri&Few Articles. Although name says its Pure romantic book but its contains Poems on variety of Topics for all age like:

Muhabbat, Desh-Prem, Dreams, Corruption, Imbalance in Society, Terrirosm

When I started Writing there was no such plan to get published but I got Amazing Response from Readers for My Poetry Published in Magazines, Online Portals & Facebook & I thought it’s good to start now my carrier as Poet with my own book.


5.) How much long did it take to write this poetry book from the moment you started developing the poems to start writing it till completing it finally with editing and all?

I did not plan for Book and as soon as I found I have good collection of Poetry I assembled them in Book. It took another 1 Year to find Publisher and get published after I got idea.

6.) Indian Publishing is too hard to deal with was it easy for you to get a Publisher or did u wait for a long time to get your work published?

It was tough to get attention of Publisher and I send my scripts to almost all reputed publisher. I got no Response from most of them and negative from few. Somehow Diamond accepted it.Even after It took 1 Year to get book printed. I was losing hope at that time and I written some lines.

                                       Jane Kab Se Jal Rahi Hai Seene Men Ek Aag
                                       Shabd Mere Syahi Men Dubne Ko Baitab…
                                       Ab To Baras Jaao Ae Bundon Jam Ke Jaraa …….
                                       Isse Pehle Ki Main Khud Me Jalkar Ho Jaun Raakh


7.) What are the Promotional strategies that you and your publisher have applied to promote/market your latest book?

Diamond being Traditional Publisher Distributed Book in His Distribution Netwrok.I also did some Promotion on Online Sites, Blogs, News Papers, Reviews and Facebook.

8.) What exactly is your target from your Books- 1. Getting most copies sold out, 2. Getting the love of readers or 3. You just wrote it because you wanted to write a book once in your life, hence you have no targets?

For Me Selling is less important then Love from Readers but as I said Poetry is not hobby or Interest for me and its Passion. I want to enter fully in Writing and for that I need to increase my Reach to Readers which is only possible through selling as this is business world. “Agar Keemat Tay Nahi Hogi to Aapki Bhavnayen bhi Logon Tak Nahin Pahunchegi.


9.) By when are you coming up with your next book? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.

Very soon. Its Already in print. This Book Contains mixed of Article & Poetry. I would say it is collection of Article Poetry.

10.)In the end, tell us in 5-7 lines, what speech wills you give if you win a Major Award for the Best Indian Author for your books?"

What I would say is its Reward of tremendous effort I am put to touch millions of heart with my words. I am Poet of Love so I would like to give message to all of my young Readers and Writers “Read Love, Write Love, Do Fall in Love. Being in Love is amazing feeling, Just go and experience it.There is no harm in using Writing for Entertainment butUnderstand your Responsibility as a Writer for Society First. We have lots of issues and problem in our Country and we need Young, Energetic blood to overcome those. Be Always with your Nation whatever &wherever Needed. This Country have lots of Expectations from Youngsters.

Dikha Do DuniyaKoLahoo Men Hamare Bhi UbaalAata Hai
MachalJayen Ham Jab Jis Aur, Us Aur Tufan Ata Hai………… !

Thanks,
Dinesh Gupta

Manish Gupta's Interview at Words' Worth by Samarpita!

This is an extract of the interview of Mr. Manish Gupta published on http://sankshvet.blogspot.in/2013/08/author-interview-manish-gupta.html:

In a country where incorrect usage of Hindi is mocked upon, but it is acceptable to speak wrong English, despite it being one of the official languages of the country; Manish Gupta has come up with a book which not only talks about his own experiences of conquering the English language but also, assists anyone willing! When I read the book, I was highly impressed and sincerely feel that this book should be read by any competitive exam aspirant or even if you just want to master the language. Because, as the author says - Learning English is fun!

Here is a bit of a conversation with the author of English Bites! :

Congratulations on such a huge success of the book! Did you expect it to be so well received?

Thanks very much, Samarpita. As a book in the category of non-fiction/self-help and with a novel like storyline; I was expecting the book to be well received. I am sure that with more word-to-mouth publicity, the book will become a bigger success in the times to come.  

Untouched topic, in a way. How high was the anxiety?

Having started reading books outside the curricula only after I joined engineering, I started with a feeling of awe and admiration for the writers of non-academic books, which only grew stronger with time. Hence, it was a dream to see myself published and especially in an area that bridges the gap between academia and fun reads. This made my journey of research and writing very purposeful and focused. The only moments of anxiety came after submitting the manuscript to the literary agent. The publication of this book brought another dimension (after academia, profession, family & friends) to my narrative making me feel more creatively fulfilled and complete. I am at peace with myself having fulfilled a long cherished dream of sharing my ideas, research, and experiences on making English learning FUN with all. 

Tell us something about your struggle with getting published. We have a fair idea that it isn’t a cake walk. But how was the real deal for you?

There has been an explosion of books in the Indian market in the past 3-4 years as new breed of writers have emerged from sectors like banking and finance, software, media and entertainment, etc. and invaded the bastion of litterateurs, political thinkers, economists, civil servants, and Oxbridge scholars. Naturally, the number of submissions has also multiplied. I am not quite sure that the new age writers have given enough time to the publishing industry to get adequately capacitised to handle the volumes of work pouring into their offices. 
Knowing this, I did not directly approach the publishers but went through a literary agent, who critically assessed the quality and marketability of the manuscript before submitting it to the select set of publishers that are interested in publishing this genre of books. It took less than 4 months after submission of the manuscript to the literary agent for me to sign a publishing contract with Penguin Books India. 

Writing English Bites! must have taken a lot of research. To add so much from which readers can learn, and also, to ensure the read doesn't get boring, must have been difficult. Was it a difficult gamble to play?

Samarpita, to answer this question, we need to get a little bit into my background. I grew up in Rohtak, a small and sleepy town in Haryana in the 1970s and 80s. The only English I spoke was in school and that too to respond to questions of my teachers in the class. I looked down at English as an alien tongue merely suited to the narrow field of academia and with no particular use once someone got into the real economy. 
As a result, I was horrible in all aspects of communication. My active vocabulary was extremely limited, pronunciations & spellings were terrible (as I refused to accept English as a non-phonetic language that it largely is), sentence construction was poor, and my fluency was severely compromised. I was shocked by its increasing relevance and necessity in the real economy once I landed-up in at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh. 
Here, I came face-to-face with far more fluent and erudite specimens from convent schools from metros and towns much bigger than my hometown. I also noticed how I used to get tongue-tied while attempting to make a small conversation in English with or even in front of the convent educated colleagues. 
Having lived all my school life in disdain for this alien tongue, the grossly neglected subject of English made me realize its importance, its vastness, its complexity, and my far less than self proclaimed ‘photographic memory’ all at once. I needed something quick and in large doses to beat the convent educated types in their own game and seal the best job offered in the campus in my name and after gaining some industry experience, successfully compete with them once again for admission into a top-tier MBA program. 
Hence, I set aside the word lists, my failed attempts at mugging, and started creating interesting stories and anecdotes to make indelible imprints of this foreign language in my mind. This was the genesis of the book. It took a lot of research and creativity, but it was a matter of survival. It was the only thing that could have rescued me from definite depression and elevated me to think and talk like an erudite gentleman.     

A lot of people, most I would say, see no reason why grammar is important. They speak whatever they know, this is a country where, "I didn't knew", is allowed to be said. How would you convince them the need to perfect whichever language they are speaking?

On one hand, it is indeed extremely gratifying to see that when someone says “I didn’t knew” or “I am more better”, masters of this craft let it be. Over a period of time, with subtle nudging and their own effort, I have seen a majority of these people correct such errors, and get better in all aspects of verbal communication: fluency, pronunciation, grammar, and use of correct English words. 
On the other hand, it is distressing and a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the vast majority of schools and colleges in our country, and spoken English is only a small exhibit of the massive improvement that is required in teaching methods and in elevating the standard of our teachers. 

How and when did you decide to be a published author? Was it always a plan, or did you start thinking on the lines when you thought you had a plot with you?

Samarpita, you may find it hard to believe but this manuscript has been in the making for over 20 years. It started as an idea in my second year of engineering way back in 1989-1990 when two of my closet friends and I resolved to publish a book each before we turned 21. I thought I had written a masterpiece by the time our final placements ended (spoiling my grades in the process) and was still a few months shy of turning 21. My other friends, who were writing on ‘quizzing’ and ‘poetry’, had pulled out of this pledge while they were still in their teens.
My manuscript then hibernated for 20 years as I got busy with my first job at Tata Motors, an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur, my banking career at Citibank, and family life. The manuscript was preserved on a 3.5 inch diskette in Microsoft 2000 that refused to open on my old PC, when I thought of reviving my work of art in the year 2008. Fortunately, the handwritten version (‘manuscript’ in the real sense of the word) had survived well on loose sheets of paper, which I promptly transferred on my PC and started editing and expanding it at the same time. By the time I finished in 4 years (working on weekends), I had landed up re-writing the entire book.    


Is it difficult to write with a full time job?

It is indeed extremely tough, especially when the subject is research based and the writer is not a natural story teller. I admire Indian writers like Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Chetan Bhagat and Ravi Subramanian who have done a bulk of their writing while managing full-time careers and an active social and family life.

What do you do apart from writing and cracking us up with your tweets? Give us a sneak peek into the real you!

I, till recently, used to work as a Managing Director and Head of Sales for Treasury and Trade Solutions division of Citibank in India. I have now decided to take a plunge in the field of education, training, consulting, and executive coaching and will shortly start working with an organization that works for the underprivileged children at the school level. 
In my personal life, I now live by the principle of learning one new skill every year (pity, I understood and adopted this only a few years ago) and have dabbled in adventure sports (like skiing, para gliding, bunjee jumping), getting off the beaten track while travelling, and plan to hone my moderate skills in singing, gardening, and cooking next.
I also like to delve into human psychology and waiting for the day when someone will actually pay me for my wise counsel.

What next? New genre; or you would want to stick to comedy, self-help?

I guess when you write a book, you give it your all. My stock of ideas is now empty but it doesn’t mean that I will not write another book. Book sales and readers’ feedback and appreciation are extremely strong motivators in rapidly refilling one’s reservoir and giving new ideas and different perspectives to make more meaningful and interesting books. However, I would like to stick to writing in a similar genre (laugh as you learn). I strongly feel about and need to put in my bit to make sure that that language does not become a handicap for anyone to realize their ambitions and dreams! 

Who do you read, who are your favourites?

I stick mostly to non-fiction, and there are far too many favourite books and authors to mention. In the recent past, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed books on Mind, Passion, and Happiness by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Dr. Carol S. Dweck, David Rock, and Ken Robinson. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Interview of Bestselling Author: S. R. Saha!

An interview of the bestselling author of "Jab se you have loved me" who has recently come up with his 2nd book "The jadoo of your love":- 

Hello Saha-da, what is your feeling after being an author now? What’s your perspective about life now after achieving a rare flagship in your life?
-          Feels good, but I must thank India’s No. 1 publisher Srishti for giving me the opportunity to be a published author. I wouldn’t call it a rare flagship is my life, but since this book, ‘The jadoo of your love!’ is doing very well, probably I’ll write another one quickly.

When you saw your first novel for sale on E-commerce websites and placed at a bookstore for the first time, what kind of thoughts dominated your mind?
-          I was indeed delighted. These are the moments in life which one waits for. I wished everyone who had purchased a copy of ‘Five Point Someone,’ or ‘Immortals of Meluha,’ buy my book too.

Before we head towards discussing your book, we would like to know in spite of being an author, what do you exactly do? And do you wish to be in the job some day or come into full-time writing?
-          Well, I maintain airplanes for a living. After graduating from IIT, Madras way back in 1987, I had joined Indian Airlines, which was merged with Air India in 2007. I am now an employee of Air India.
-          Full-time writing is something that I would love to do, but in the near term I am looking forward to quitting Air India and setting up my own business. If that doesn’t work out, I shall try for a job in some private airline company. But then as I have said in my book that in my life it always happens, ‘jo sochta, woh hota nahin, aur jo hota woh kabhie socha bhi nahin.’

What is your second book all about? And from where did this idea occur to you?
-          My second book, ‘The jadoo of your love!’ is a love story obviously, but here I tried to deal with some mature stuff like a boy falling in love with a lady older to him, loneliness of a working woman, the dilemma of an unwed mother and so on. Of course, my audiences are the young readers, and so it has been written in such a way that it remains a light read throughout.
-          Honestly, the ideas  have come to me from various films that I have watched.

How much long did it take to write this book from the moment you started developing the story to start writing it till completing it finally with editing and all?
-          This one took a little long, as I was not in the proper frame of mind to write the entire novel at one go because of the turmoil that was going on in our company. The entire process from conceptualization to the book hitting the stands took about two years or so.

Indian Publishing is too hard to deal with, was it easy for you to get a Publisher 3 years back or did u wait for a long time to get your work published?
-          Actually I wrote my first novel – a love-story cum thriller on the backdrop of Indian aviation some twelve years back. But at that point in time I couldn’t find a publisher. Thereafter, I tried to publish a collection of short stories, but failed in that too. However after I wrote the love-story, ‘Jab se you have loved me,’ the first publisher I approached, namely Srishti, they accepted my book.

What are the Promotional strategies that you and your publisher have applied to promote/market your latest book?
-          Presently, my publisher is doing all the publicity of the book, but I have decided to promote it myself next month onward. Of course I have limited resources, but every author has to keep in mind that his book is his own baby and the publisher is only the midwife. The publishers’ hands are full anyway, and they will become busy with their next project the very next day of your book’s release.
-          I really don’t know how to go about promoting/marketing the book, but if anyone would like to assist me he or she is most welcome.

What exactly is your target from your Books- 1. Getting most copies sold out, 2. Getting the love of readers or 3. You just wrote it because you wanted to write a book once in your life, hence you have no targets?
-          No, the third option is ruled out. I would very much like to see myself as an established writer. But I guess the first two options are intertwined – if you get the love of readers, your books will automatically sell. 

By when are you coming up with your next novel? And if possible, do give us an idea about what it would be.
-          My next novel should come out in six months’ time. And well, it will be another Da Vinci Code. Ah! Just kidding. But this time around I want to write something different and not just another love story.

In the end, tell us in 5-7 lines, what speech will you give if you win a Major Award for the Best Indian Author for your books?
-          Oops! It’s almost like asking the Indian football team’s captain as to what speech he would be giving if India won the FIFA World Cup. I know my limitations brother. That I can never be another Amitav Ghosh or Kunal Basu is as certain as the brand new mobile phone that you have purchased yesterday getting obsolete in just about a year’s time.


*****

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Novelist- Manish Gupta by The Spark Times- An Online Magazine!!!

Novelist:Manish Gupta

We May Be Shy To Say This Openly But Many Of Us Would Have Tried To Skip English Lectures In Our School Days, Just Because Of Its Complexities. Few Of Us Even Hesitate To Talk If We Are Unable To Carry On A Conversation In English With Our Friends. Here Is A Man Who Took Up A Challenge And Proved That If You Have The Dedication, Nothing Looks Impossible. Mr. Manish Gupta, Who Worked As An MD Of A Multinational Bank Previously, Has Come Up With His Book Named ‘’ENGLISH BITES’’ Under PENGUIN PUBLISHERS .It Talks About The Journey Of A Person Who Was Struggling With English Language In School But Then Situations Taught Him To Fight Out His Fear And Today He Has Emerged As A Successful Management Guru Who Is Popularly Known As ‘’TALKING BANKER’’. Usually We Do Not Find Such Interesting Stories That Not Only Relates To You But Also Makes You Feel ‘’That Yes This Is Something Very Similar That Has Happened In My Life’’. Through A Series Of Hilarious Personal Adventures And Misadventures, It Provides Easy Solutions To Problems Faced By Language Learners And A Unique And Interesting Perspective On Developing Proficiency In The English Language. So, Whether Someone Is A Vernacular Speaker, A GRE/GMAT/CAT/XAT/TOEFL/IELTS Aspirant, Or Just A Language Nut, English Bites! Endeavors To Expand Vocabulary And Improve Pronunciation And Verbal Ability In An Easy And Engaging Manner. The Book Is Full Of Interesting Anecdotes, Jokes, Stories, Trivia, Illustrations, Etymology, And Many Other Mnemonic Techniques. So If You Are Still Struggling With Any Language, You Can Now Get A Solution To It By Grabbing This Book From A Near By Store. The Book Has Received Immense Appreciation From Prestigious Newspapers Like INDIAN EXPRESS And DAWN. All That Can Be Said About This Man Is That It Takes A Lot To Overpower Your Fear And When He Did  It In Style While Starting From Zero,No Word Can Describe Him Better, Other Than Hero.Mani

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ENGLISH BITES by MANISH GUPTA: The right way to master English

The New Indian Express published a press release on English Bites, the book written by Manish Gupta -->>

Published: 04th February 2013 12:00 AM
Last Updated: 01st February 2013 03:14 PM
Do you want to know the story of a professional who fell in love with the English language and how he mastered it? Do you want to enrich your vocabulary without using a course book? Do you think stories and anecdotes can inspire you to develop your skills? English Bites! by Manish Gupta is a book that provides readers with tips to learn English vocabulary in context and inspires them to take steps to master the language.
The author, Manish Gupta, is a banking professional with an engineering degree from Punjab Engineering College and an MBA degree from XLRI, Jamshedpur. In the form of anecdotes, Manish explains the difficulties faced by learners of English during the process of mastering the language. His personal experiences and success stories of fighting shyness, overcoming fear, gaining confidence and in the process achieving fluency will definitely inspire readers to change their mindset and convince them to believe that learning the global language need not be a nightmare at all.
If students studying in professional colleges are not proficient in English, they may face many problems including lack of academic progress. He narrates this scenario beautifully in this extract: The subtle nuances and idiosyncrasies of the language took a toll on my academic progress, since they were rapidly clogging up my memory banks, leaving very little space to accommodate the fundamentals of engineering. I nearly came to an impasse — should I clear my critical engineering semester examination or these MBA/MS tests? It was the urge to be recognised as a smooth-talking professional and the prospect of a resultant good life that helped me work harder. Somehow, I managed to squeeze both academics and language into my poor head. And laboured on.
The meanings of the four words in bold in the extract above have been explained at the end of the page. Similarly, on each page the author explains the meanings of hard words used in the text. It helps the reader learn new words in context. The 334-page autobiographical book has 14 chapters and contains the meanings and example sentences of hard words used on each page. How knowing the etymology of words helps the learner master vocabulary is well explained. The title English Bites! is appropriate as one reads through the book they can have a bite of new words and their meanings.
Looking through the glasses of a linguist, I must highlight a few flaws in the book. The author uses many formal, outdated or old-fashioned words in the book. The use of the word amelioration on page 332 is an example: She has also read multiple drafts of this book line by line since its inception, and suggested innumerable ameliorations to my language. The word ameliorate is formal and quite rare in English. There are a few incorrect expressions. Here is an example: my fellow brethren (pg 331). The author states that in English there are many words without vowels and gives a list of such words on pages 84-85. The absence of an explanation on the difference between a vowel and a vowel sound may mislead the reader.
If the book had an Introduction and an Index the reader would find it more user-friendly. The reader should read the Acknowledgements, that appears at the end of the book on pages 331-334, first to understand what inspired the author to write this book.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Freepress Journal talks about the book- English Bites!!!

This is the copy of the article that THE FREEPRESS JOURNAL published for the book- English Bites by Manish Gupta -->>

This book is the story of a man who goes from being tongue-tied in school to becoming a smooth- talking banker. Through a series of hilarious personal adventures and misadventures, Manish Gupta provides easy solutions to problems faced by language learners.
English Bites: My Fullproof English learning formula
Manish Gupta
Penguin books
Price: Rs 250; Pages: 334
The book by author Manish Gupta, with easy ways to expand one’s word bank, is intended to add over 1,000 words to the reader’s vocabulary, improve general knowledge with amusing trivia and uses fun learning tools like jokes and anecdotes.
Also, the book highlights a trend of how the medium of instruction is English but the medium of memorising, understanding and responding is in the vernacular. The thoughts in vernacular are then translated into English. This thought process could be a reason why some persons speak the way they do and why it also takes longer than a normal conversation because the speaker without the fluency of the language is left searching for an appropriate word to express himself or herself.
Then there is the trend wherein students switch to the vernacular when the next teacher gets delayed for a lecture. So parents who want their children to learn English quicker should discourage this trend. After all, there are always opportunities galore at home and other places where children could speak in the vernacular or the mother tongue. But to attain perfect command of English in terms of speech, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, if possible, learning should not be limited merely to the academic sphere.
A tip for students who wish to improve their command over the language – There are always some persons who are adept at the language and conversing with them on a more regular basis would make it second nature and they could then improve upon all the above-mentioned aspects.
Some approach the learning of the language as with every other academic pursuit – but is cramming the only way out? To add to the confusion, there are words like cavern-tavern, plaint-pliant, jaunt-jaunty, idle-idyll and words that may have more than one meaning. It could be ‘hot as hell’ one day and ‘cold as hell’ the other. But it is after all a language that has travelled and evolved a great deal, rapidly taking in words and concepts from other cultures.
In such a scenario, this book offers invaluable tips and says that merely limiting oneself to academia will not help and that devoting time on a regular basis on a varied diet of books, magazines and newspapers will better suit the purpose. A simple and very effective technique to extract the best of such readings: Every time you encounter a new word, pause at it, give it a long hard look, make a mental impression of the situation, and conjecture its meaning from this imagined situation.
Finally validate your thought by referring to a dictionary. But what if one were to keep coming up with such incomprehensible words on every page? Since jotting down all these words would imply constant interruptions and affect the easy flow of reading, it would be better to jot down all these words and later look them up in a dictionary.
As a case in point, newspaper editorials can be a gold mine of tough English words and they also add to one’s knowledge since editorials are written keeping in mind contemporary issues and topics of national interest. In this context, making the reader take a trip down memory lane about the ‘Word Power’ column in Reader’s Digest, the author says that it was quite depressing since even with the liberal self-marking, he could not get more than five correct answers out of the 15 posers. In order to score a perfect 15, he started to explore bookstores and libraries for books on interesting techniques to build one’s vocabulary.
In the book, the reader is also introduced to how some words such as chauffeur evolved. In the era of steam engines, a person used to feed coal to the combustion chamber to raise steam and after vehicles evolved from being powered by steam to running on gasoline, the coal feeder or stoker got elevated to being the driver of the car, or the chauffeur. The book is thus full of such nuggets.
So whether you’re a vernacular speaker or a GRE/GMAT/CAT/XAT aspirant, this book will help expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability.

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