Meet The Other Mr Bhagat..


Hello & Welcome Back Book Lovers!    hy (2)

Hope you enjoying all the buzz in the literary circuit.

I guess all of you know Chetan Bhagat, have read his books, watched him on tv, waited for his witty comments on Twitter and he definitely somebody who you cant ignore.

Well did you know he had a younger brother who was away in Australia all these years and is back now and ready to release his debut Novel.

Meet Ketan Bhagat who has just recently released his first book“Complete/Convenient”.

Ketan says he became a writer by accident unlike his older brother. He had a story haunting him for years and he decided he just wanted to write it. He loves his life, his work, His wife and his son. A total Punjabi boy, he his a complete foodie and a music lover.

He currently works for an MNC as the Regional Sales head and the story of his book  is loosely based on the years he spent in Australia.

Don’t worry Ketan’s writing is nothing like Chetan’s way of writing. When you read Ketan’s new book your going to realize how differently both the brothers articulate their stories.

One things for sure, Ketan’s book is not your typical Romcom but much more.

So before we give you out too much from the book, it’s better you get your own copy now!

Also we give you a sneak peek of Ketan Bhagat’s life..

Below is the detailed interview with him..

1.       Once your book is out in the market  alot of comparisons will made with Chetan, what are your views on this?

I will put forward few facts and you can decide if it is even worth comparing us:

·         He was a school topper, I barely passed. In fact I was often caught cheating in school exams.

·         He went to IIT and I went to a diploma college. Again, I was sometimes caught cheating in college (sorry, I was just too lazy to study).

·         He went to IIM Ahemdabad while I washed utensils and mopped floors as part of my training program at The Oberoi hotel.

·         He won a gold medal in IIM Ahemdabad while I was almost thrown out of my MBA course mid-way as my graduation marks were less than the bare minimum cut-off of 50%

·         As per TIME magazine, he is one of the 100 most influential people in the world. As for my influence, even my two year old son doesn’t listen to me.

·         Chetan has churned out 5 best seller fictions. Each of them has or will be made into a Bollywood movie. I have just written my first novel.

If you compare Chetan to Ketan, no matter how much you ridicule me, the mere comparison is a compliment to me.

2.       The book is closely based on your personal experiences, do we see a lot of Ketan in the character Kabir?

Supposing God gave you a chance to recreate yourself. What would you do? You would keep all the good things about yourself and erase all the bad things. Won’t you? Kabir is that version of me. He is a lot like me – works as an IT professional, loves to socialize, family man, raised in Delhi etc. but he is also a lot of things that I am not. For example, Kabir is very good looking, he is successful in his career, he is a guy whom people admire etc.

3.Chetan has made writing into a full time career, do you have any plans as such?

Not at this stage. I want to write stories without any compulsion whatsoever. So its best if I have a regular life outside writing. Also, I want to write about experiences that people go through in regular life. It would help if I myself am leading a regular life.

Having said this, life has taught me to refrain from using two words: NEVER and FOREVER.

4. Any plans of a second book..

I do have a story that has been haunting me. So maybe I would write again if COMPLETE/CONVENIENT does well. If people don’t want me as a writer, I won’t force myself on readers.

5.Who do you think your contemporaries are?

I don’t know. Mainly because I have nothing in common with anyone. If I consider the likes of Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subaramanian and Ashwin Sanghvi then I think I am being ridiculous. I have not even an iota of their success. Also, my topic is different from what they usually write about.

I am certainly not a Jeet Thayil or Salman Rushdie either. Again, I don’t have those kind of brains and talent.

I also find it hard to associate to the hundreds of ‘best seller’ writers I am nowadays meeting. I can’t write chic-lit.

I think my problem is that I became a writer because a story haunted me. Not for any other reason. So I have never really thought much about myself as a writer.

6.We are in an age of a publishing boom and there has been a plethora of books in the Indian market, how do you think your book will distinguish itself from others?

This is a common thing in any industry that is going through a boom phase. Remember the time when every week many movies were getting released. Or the IPL phase where everyone wanted to own a team. Or the phase when new television channels were getting launched every now and then. Same thing is happening in publishing.

Quality, of course, is getting compromised. Even I have come across books that haven’t been edited or spell-checked. In the past few months, I have been approached by ‘book reviewers’ who are 17 years of age.  Some have already written ‘national best sellers’!

The situation will soon reach a peak where readers collectively will shun most of the crap that is being dished out and compel publishers to focus on Quality. That is always the next phase after the ‘overcrowding’ phase. Till then, I guess, we all have to bear with this.

7.Your favourite childhood movement with Chetan.. How close are both of you?

Oh there are many. He was a very interesting prankster. Few favourites:

When Chetan used to wear our mother’s bright red nighty, put on a scary phantom mask and then hide behind trees on the bus stop. The moment school children would get down at the deserted heated streets around 2 pm, Chetan ‘the ghost’ would pop out. Seriously, I still smile at the memory of screaming horrified kids running all over the street with a ‘ghost’ chasing them.

Chetan cutting Water Melon instead of cakes at his birthday parties

Chetan sticking a poster behind a girls back in school. The poster read – hands off guys, I belong to Chetan!

Chetan inviting fat kids and organizing contests around climbing 3 storey buildings. My god, for that stupid ice cream or cold drink, I have seen young obese toddlers sweating out for hours at my brother’s instructions 

We were never very close as siblings though. Chetan likes to live in his own world and our family has a strong culture of letting people be.  In any case we are very different people. Seldom see the same thing the same way.

8.A day in your life..

Starts with a yoga class conducted by my wife Pia. Tough physical postures amidst Pia’s bullying coterie. Seriously, a yoga class for a man is like a goat surrounded by tigers.

Then a cup of ginger tea to protect my weak stomach. Reminder of my waning body.

Then bathroom mirror announcing how much more hair I have lost and how many more inches I have gained.

In between, Rian (my 2.5 year old son) breaks something and I get scolded by my wife for not scolding him. I also get scolded for Rian being a prankster. Not sure how but my wife somehow manages to link me with everything that Rian does wrong.

Then an hour or so to work. Honking, braking, twitching, bribing, abusing… listening to Bollywood music and interviews. In between checking mails and Facebook on phone.

Somehow reach office and live through my mid-manager position. From outside I am a high flying manager at a leading MNC who drives relationships with key customers. Inside, I am a powerless, helpless man who has to strictly follow company’s laid down processes (no brain involved in that), listen tirelessly to customer’s and bosses’ complaints (lot of ass involved in that) and accept less experienced people joining at higher salaries.

No cabin, no secretary, not even someone to file my expense claims ! The only thing nice about office life is my super boss’s secretary who often smiles at me. I think she likes me. Though many times I can see that she is laughing at me.

Late evening, when I reach home, usually my wife is upset for two reasons. One, the maid is showing an attitude (only she has the power to do that to my wife). Two, some pycho has raped someone, usually in Delhi. Rest of the evening is spent carrying a shameful expression on my gender’s behalf. One ear listens to useless men debating endlessly on news channels and other ear absorbs how my maid is similar to my mother in her behavior. Thankfully, nothing reaches to my brain or heart. Do they even exist? I wonder.

By the time I hit the bed, forget libido…I have forgotten I am alive.

9.One Thing you love and hate about your brother..

I love the gutsy genius in him. He has had a tough childhood as our father was exceptionally strict with him. Plus he had weight issues. Yet, my brother rose and continues to rise. Seriously, we should clone his brain.

While I don’t hate anything about my brother, there are many areas where he can improve as a person. But why point them out here. That’s a conversation I should have with him.

10.Your favorite book by Chetan

2 States: the story of my marriage

11.Authors like Chetan, Amish and Ravinder’s success has been because of an aggressive marketing campaign by them…do you agree that success of an author lies in marketing their book well?

Yes and No. Yes because marketing is extremely important to generate curiosity which is compelling enough for people to give their 30 seconds of thought to it. No because even the world’s best marketing can’t save a bad product. In fact, I feel good marketing can expedite the death of a bad product.

I consider Marketing like salt in food. No dish can be served without it. Yet, it is not the dish in itself.

12.Favourite film..

In English: Pursuit of Happiness

In Hindi: Company

13.Favourite Holiday destination..

Earth. Seriously, life is a holiday. I have never felt the need to take a holiday. My wife is mighty frustrated with this trait of mine.

14.Your experience as an NRI

Great. Fantastic. Highly recommended.

When you step out of India, you realize two things: 1) India has actually got the potential to be the number 1 country in the world and 2) India is actually one of the most screwed up countries in the world.

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

Price: Rs 195

Available at a Crossword Store Near you and also online http://goo.gl/vPEmo

Signing off for now

Until next time Geeks.

And don’t forget to drop in your comments.

For details and queries write to crosswordconnect@gmail.com

Happy Reading!

Crossword Bookstores

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‘Decoding Relationships’


 

Hello and welcome Back Book Lovers.                                                               hul

 

It’s been a while since we updated the blog  and hope you are reading more and more books.

 

For all those have like to look at life in a broader, deeper and meaningful perspective, this author will give you insights on how spirituality can  guide to become a better human being in various stages of your life.

 

Gopika Kapoor has written 2 bestselling books on Parenting and Pregnancy , keeping spirituality at its core. Her new book dwells deeper on how spirituality can change the way you look at relationships. It gives a perfect guide  to take right steps from dating to marriage.

 

Gopika is a communication consultant, an NGO worker , an author and also written extensively for various print publications.She has studied Vedanta under the ‘Chinmaya Mission’. In her free time she loves playing the guitar, reading as many books as possible, initiating and carrying out various charitable projects and spending quality time with her family.

 

Her new book ‘Spiritual Relationships’ will unveil a lot of dating mantras which will help you guide you in meeting your right partner and sustaining long term healthy relationships.

 

Her mantra in life is ‘If you want to have a happy relationship with anyone – your partner, your child, your pet, your mother-in-law, just about anyone – first become happy yourself’. Now that’s something to really think about!

 

Read her interview to find out more..

1.       Who inspired you to take on spirituality?

In spirituality it is said that when the student is ready the master appears. So it was with me. When I was a week pregnant (and I guess, ready to receive knowledge even though I didn’t know it then!) my husband’s aunt, an ardent devotee of Swami Chinmayananda and a very learned lady started a Vedanta class. That’s how I started my study and it’s been nine years since then.

 

2.  How did spirituality change you as a person?

Before I started studying Vedanta under the Chinmaya Mission, I was not inclined towards spirituality or spiritual studies even the slightest bit. But when I started my study, I was hooked. My entire perspective of the world and my life changed completely. It was as though I had been looking out of a muddy glass, which was suddenly cleaned and I could see the view clearly. I realized that so much of what I value in life – all the material things – actually mean nothing when you look at them in the larger scheme of things. I also reflected on my own life and how it had unfolded, and the events that were the most traumatic had actually made me grow and mature. I also became so much calmer and more content to let life unfold than get agitated when something unexpected was thrown my way.

 

3.Were you so spiritually inclined when your first fell in love or became a mother?

Not at all! I was your average young working woman. I worked with an NGO working in the field of women’s rights and had absolutely no interest in the Geeta or anything remotely spiritual. I must have been about a week pregnant when I started attending a Vedanta study group and this changed my entire perspective of life. A friend of mine says that it was my kids’ sanskaras that prompted me to join the study group!

 

 4.  What are the spiritual tools that one needs for a successful relationship?

I think you need to know yourself and what you want out of life and a relationship. You also need to have the ability to look beyond the physical and really see what a person is about – is s/he a good human being, are your values and beliefs compatible, can you see a future together? And above all, you have to have faith in the relationship and the belief that your life is moving according to a divine Master Plan, and whatever happens is in keeping with this plan.

 

5. As this generation is called the makeup and break up generation where nothing lasts long, how does one sustain a meaningful and long relationship.

I think you need to keep growing in the relationship, as well as an individual. You need to give each other space and respect it. You also have to make sure that you’re not taking each other for granted, and be grateful for the relationship you have every single day. And more than anything, I think you have to not take life too seriously and be able to laugh together – that’s the true cement of any relationship.

 

6.  ‘First impression is the best Impression’ your take on that?

If the impression is purely physical, then I don’t agree. There have been so many times in my life when I have got a really good or bad first impression of someone based on how they look or project themselves, and have had to change my mind about them once they have revealed their true colours. However, there are a few times when our instincts tell us to stay away from some people or are strongly drawn towards someone – in this case I would listen to my gut feeling.

 

7.  Datings do’s and don’ts/

DO’s:

Be open to the person you are dating

Be willing to look beyond their physical appearance to discover who’s on the inside

Be honest with yourself about what you want

Guard yourself against the terrible threes – jealously, possessiveness and ceaseless expectations

 

DON’Ts:

Change yourself – physically, mentally or spiritually – to be with a particular person

Lose yourself in a relationship – there is a life beyond the one you love

Get caught up in ego battles

 

8.    A perfect date according to you.

If you’d asked me this question 10 years ago, I would’ve given you the usual spiel: candles, wine, long-stemmed roses, soft music, etc. But as I grow spiritually, I realize that moment spent just being with the person you love is enough to qualify as a perfect date.

 

9.     Do you believe in the concept of Soul mates and does spirituality plays an important role in keeping the connection alive?

In my book Spiritual Relationships, I’ve turned the concept of soul mates on its head. Read it to find out more about this! (If you want me to elaborate more in this answer, let me know and I will send it to you)

 

 

10.    A day in your life

Rise at 6.30am and wake my kids up at 7 after packing their snack. Morning rush getting everyone and myself ready and out of the house. I leave at 8.45am for work at Ummeed Child development Center, an NGO where we work with kids who have developmental disabilities. I work from 9 to 2pm. Get home and have a quick lunch and either try writing something or update social media to market my books. My kids are home at 3.30pm and then on it’s their time – swimming, classes, talking about their day, playing games – it’s all about them. My husband is home around 6.30 and we all have dinner around 7.30. The kids get ready for bed and read to themselves while we go for a brisk half-hour walk. We’re back around 8.45, tuck the kids in bed after reading to them and saying prayers. We’re often out, but otherwise, I’m in bed with a book, and unless it’s a page turner (which regularly keeps me up till 5am – very unhealthy, I know!), I’m fast asleep by 10.30pm.

 

11.   Favourite hangout spots

In Mumbai: Lalbaug Market (I love the colour and life, especially during Diwali), Colaba Causeway, Matunga Circle (for dosa), and my all-time favourite, the strip between the Taj and Radio Club.

12.   Favourite food and holiday destination

Favourite food: Thai, Italian, Lebanese

Holiday destination: Somewhere that I’ve never been before!

 

Publisher: Hay House India

 

Price: Rs 299

 

Signing off for now

 

Until next time Geeks.

 

And don’t forget to drop in your comments.

 

For details and queries write to crosswordconnect@gmail.com

 

Happy Reading!

 

Crossword Bookstores