By Mayank Jain:Â
Some books touch our lives and leave an indelible imprint on our mind. While every book is a unique study in expression and offers deep insights in a way of its own, their authors are even better when it comes to speaking their mind. We caught up with one such author who has become a youth icon by writing a ‘self help’ genre book at the young age of just 23.
Kirti is a corporate lawyer as well and he loves to talk about youth issues. Here is the candid conversation we had with him about his book Piece of Mind- Pun Intended
1. Please tell us about your background and your journey to become an author?
First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to interview with Youth Ki Awaaz. I follow the website very regularly and most of the articles that are posted are of topics which interest and motivate the youth. Good job!
So, about me — I have always been intrigued with this question. I’m not too sure about how I can define myself or tell you who or what I am. But I would like to define myself as a person who is mostly shades of grey (not the fifty shades one). But at times, when there’s a heavy shower and there’s the sun peeking around from the corners, I can end up being very colorful. I’m basically your 24-year-old everyday person. I’m a corporate lawyer by day and sometimes, by night too.
To be identified as an author takes a lot more than just having to write a book. My journey towards becoming an author started off quite young. Maybe it began with my mother’s persistent insistence on me reading the 100s of Amar Chitra Kathas’ she picked up when I was barely 6. Or maybe it was this sudden inspiration I drew from random books from our library at home. A journey as an author is kind of endless — I began to write because I needed a medium to express myself. We all need mediums to express ourselves and whether you know it or not, most of what you express is something you would want to tell yourself. My journey as an author has just begun and living by what I have written for starters, is my biggest responsibility.
2. Tell us about your book and what made you write it?
There are a lot of factors that go into the writing of a book. I did not write Piece of Mind because I wanted to have a book published and live off the royalty. The society we live in makes all of us what we are. Each of us are reflections of the people we interact with. Piece of Mind just happened that way. The little that I’ve learned from the people I’ve interacted with had to be shared with as many people possible. Hence, I ended up writing the book.
3. The title of the book makes it clear that it is a self-help creation? How did you write a book at the young age of 23?
Exactly. I would want to think that my book belongs to the self-help genre. But that’s not completely true. I wish there was a genre called “self-expression” or something like that. My book really isn’t self-help or self-improvement. I have to categorize it because of common practice — not because I really want it to belong to a particular segment. I wrote the book back when I was 23 and I wrote it because I wanted to write it. We often underestimate our abilities and think of what we are capable of doing in a very restricted manner. I guess all of us need to look at things with a broader perspective. I wrote a book when I was 23 — that’s all that matters to me today.
Also, the time around which I wrote this book was when I had a clear mind and when I knew what I wanted from it. It wasn’t very difficult — getting the entire book together. And 23 is not a young age, honestly speaking. There are people who have achieved a lot more at a much younger age. This is just the start though; I’m hoping to achieve a lot more in future.
4. You are a lawyer dealing with laws and regulations and you wrote a book too. Which of the two defines you better?
I guess I’m a combination of both professions — I cannot do without either. Law has always been my passion and so has writing. So — the point remains — are we allowed to be passionate only about one thing in life? I wouldn’t be definable without either of my passions. Law makes me who I am and writing completes me. As I mentioned earlier, I can be a little too very thick-skinned about what I write. I write because I like writing and not because I want someone to read what I have written. Hence, while both being a lawyer as well as being a writer are matters of passion to me.
5. What are your future plans? Is another book in the offing?
I wouldn’t like to tread into the future and look at it as something that’s visible. The future comes across as a Pandora’s Box ‘write’ now. I just want to sit back and wait for the magic to unfold.
6. The youth years are full of turmoil and confusions about everything from personal relationships to career path? How did you make your choices?
I did not really make my choices — I would say, my choices made me. There’s no amount of planning and ‘plotting’ which can define your future. A lot of what happens ends up being a result of chance or fate. I wasn’t the brightest of students in school. What’s worst? I took up science in pre-university college and successfully failed every exam during our internal tests. I somehow always managed to clear my finals. Throughout my pre-university days, I was looked at as a person who would not do much in life. “His basics are terrible in math and science. Not sure if he would do anything with his life.” This is just one of the several hundreds of discouraging sentences I had to hear back then.
I chose law after pre-university and my life changed manifold. Today, I am what I am because of a single choice I made — the choice to become a lawyer. Teachers in my law college were supportive. And sentences which discouraged me at one point all of a sudden transformed into so much of positivity. I would say that when each one of us make our choices, we should make them on our own and rely very less on another person’s opinion. The world is a rat race today, everyone wants to compete with another and show off his/her strength. But is that what life is all about?
The choices we make today can greatly change the way the world looks tomorrow. All of us need to look for ways through which we could bring in a small, productive change. The idea here is — you need to create opportunities. Things you want would never turn out the way you anticipated it to be, but what works at the end of all of it? The fact that you tried. Believe you me when I say this but no matter how badly you fail, as long as you’ve tried to achieve something in life, on your own merit — you’ve won half the battle.
7. The publishing industry is full of aspiring writers and bloggers. How difficult was it for you to get your book published?
Well, I had a tough time to get my book published. The reason being that not many publishing houses in India promote books which belong to the self-help genre until and unless it comes from a noted philosopher. I had my ups and downs but I managed to successfully find a publishing house — Notion Press — which made my life pretty easy.
8. There is a lot of talk about self-help books being boring and preachy. How does your book stand out of the crowd?
So a majority of my ‘supportive’ friends laughed when I told them that I had written a self-help book. They found it very funny initially but eventually ended up being my pillars of encouragement. I wouldn’t say my book is preachy or boring, the reason being that every chapter is unique in itself. You don’t have to worry about missing a few pages here and there. This apart, the book is pretty small, just around a 100 pages. What works for me is that the book is me pouring my heart out and reminding my readers of these little nuances each of go through every day. My book is not about an event that can be held in isolation or something that hasn’t been faced by the youngsters today. The book is an open ranting about what each of us go through and how we could try to deal with it.
What I’ve heard from the people who have reviewed my book and a couple of others who wrote to me on reading it is that the book gets straight to the point.
Oh, but on the other hand, if it’s bad, it’s bad. Choices and opinions are subject to different perspectives. If Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber could survive, I can too.
9. Tell us about your other interests and passions. Where do you spend your time apart from work?
My interests and passions are varied. I spend most of my free time writing or traveling. I love traveling to random, unseen places and checking new things out. I love reading too and am currently in the process of populating a library of my own. Have been collecting rare books from different corners and hopefully, this should be up and running soon.
10. What message or piece of advice would a young author of a dreaded genre who happens to be a lawyer would like to give the youth of the country?
Ha ha! I love how upfront this question is. There’s no advice I’d like to give to the youth of the country. I just want to remind them of the awesomeness that lies within their spirit. A part which they often choose to ignore. There’s a lot one could learn from the world, a lot one could imbibe into their character to develop this factor of awesomeness. I just believe that the moment YOU start believing in yourself and choose to ask the world to take a hike (just using a nice, non-profane sentence), YOU will already begin your journey towards success.
Thanks, once again for interviewing me, Mayank. It was nice talking to you.