Book review: Being Mortal

Since my last post on this blog site several months back I read several books but none of them prompted me to sit back and reflect upon as much as “Being Mortal” did. More than sharing my views on this book I guess I wanted to keep a record of my thoughts on it. Well you may think I could have written a diary for myself in that case, why blog? My reasons for writing this blog are pretty much the same reasons the author of the book, Atul Gawande might have had when he published the book – the topic of the book cannot be left undiscussed.

The deft with which Atul weaved the story around factual info on old age trends across the world, the humility with which he took an unbiased look at the limitations of medicine compared to the unpredictability of life and what matters towards the end of life, and finally the honesty with which he drove the point home on the necessity for discussions that should happen among people and with their doctors on how people would like to write the climax of their stories instead of just assuming mere extension of life on this earth as the universal goal, is just masterclass.

I heard about the book in the past and forgot about it, but while quickly browsing through at a bookstore in Pune airport since I wanted to buy something to beat the boredom on the plane, it was Malcolm Gladwell’s praise for the book printed on the cover page that inspired me to go for it. Overall, chance purchase leads to incredible reading experience.

Cheers 🙂

 

(Book) marketing dilemma!

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During the online launch of my debut novel on March 10, one of the participants asked me, “What’s the difference between writing a blog and writing a book?”

I said, “Keeping the writing thing aside, lot of things like editing, file layout, cover page designing, marketing, distribution and coordination with the publisher should effectively fall in place for a book, which do not apply to a blog.”

One of the things I mentioned above, marketing, has occupied my mind for a few weeks before the launch, during the launch and even now. Since I depended largely on direct marketing – directly reaching out to my audience – I had to make lot of choices during our marketing efforts. While making those innumerable choices, these dilemmas constantly bothered me – Will the element of genuineness that we are trying to imbibe in the marketing efforts affect the competitiveness? Will a particular marketing effort on our side be a subtle reminder of the book to the audience or will it bother them in any way?

For example – I created a Facebook group of close friends to seek ideas for the online book launch. After the launch the temptation to use it to push the book further was always there but I chose to dismantle not to bother the group members with message overload.

Another example – I asked the readers to post their reviews directly on the sites they purchased the book, and on my website, and on my social media pages with zero interference from my side to edit the text. What if negative feedback comes in from some readers in spite of the immense confidence I have on the book? But still I chose to respect the readers’ liberty and opinions. Some of their feedback might help me become a better author in future!

Honest message, freedom of choice, non-intruding advertising, value for time and money, and quality of experience have become the expectations of the new-age customers. Balancing them with the enthusiasm to project our products/works is the fine line that I tried to tread. Still a long way to go, but the basic tenets will remain unchanged.

Thank you all for your cooperation. I’ll be glad to hear from you about your experience of reading the GUY ON THE SIDEWALK.

Cheers 🙂

* For those who missed the trailer released during the book launch with all the attractive caricatures specially designed to take the book excerpts to the audience, here we go… (listen to one of my fav sound tracks use in this trailer!)

Without you… there is no GUY ON THE SIDEWALK, Sir!

Manohar Chimmani

Today morning I met the man whom I contacted first when the bug to write a novel bit me… someone who stood by me throughout, until it came out in book form…

My guru, Mr. Manohar Chimmani.

As usual, hours flew like minutes.

Glad that I could finally present a complimentary copy to you Sir. Writing a novel seemed like a distant (almost impossible) dream when I first discussed this idea with you – I remember the Facebook chat we had then. At the end of that conversation I felt you were more confident than me that boosted my morale.

I didn’t know why I picked you to talk about this, Sir… probably because the trust you bestowed on me and the encouragement you gave me as a teacher in my school days, played a subconscious role… probably because intuitively I felt I could talk anything with you without being judged (which I believe today) – I can thoroughly disagree with you at times without fearing that the warmth in our relationship might diminish, which is a rare privilege with people nowadays.

Finally, I can only say – without you… there is no GUY ON THE SIDEWALK, Sir!

Cheers 🙂

* GUY ON THE SIDEWALK, my debut novel is releasing worldwide on March 10. Here is the Youtube link for the trailer if you have missed it –

#BiharResults

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Today, with the results of the most awaited state assembly election in the recent times rolling, I saw the emergence of a new Congress party – BJP, the new Congress. The signals of BJP’s transformation were there since the party got into power in 2014 but its approach to Bihar elections was hopeless. BJP doesn’t look like the party with a difference anymore.

Journalists working on the ground in Bihar has been saying that the writing on the wall was clear from the beginning. Without my ear to the ground, by just following the news with an open mind I could read the results long back. When the PM announced 1.25 lac crore package to Bihar just before elections … the tone with which the package was announced more than the package itself (which was famously mimicked by Lalu Prasad) … I felt Bihar will teach BJP a lesson, and it did.

One and a half year back Bihar gave Modi more than 3/4 of its MP seats against Nitish and today the Bihar gave 2/3 majority to Nitish against Modi.

The message couldn’t be any louder – the PM upping the stakes in state elections for whatever the reason is totally unwarranted. He should go back to the promise of 2014.

Cheers 🙂

పాత నేస్తం పిలిచింది

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ఒక నెల క్రితం జింలో చేరి, వారానికి ఒకసారి చొప్పున మొత్తం మీద ఒక నాలుగు సార్లు వెళ్ళి ఉంటా. ఇది అయిదో వారం, టెంపో మిస్సవ్వకుండా అయిదో సారి వెళ్ళటానికి రెడీ అయ్యి ఇంటిబయటకి రాగానే, ఈ రోజు స్టేడియంకి వెళ్దాం, పాత నేస్తాన్ని పలకరిద్దాం అనిపించింది.

కింద మట్టి, పైన ఆకాశం, చుట్టూ చెట్లు, చల్లని గాలి, ముందు వెనక నడుస్తూ రకరకాల మనుషులు, మైక్ లో వినిపిస్తున్న పాత పాటలు – ఆహా… ఆ కిక్కే వేరబ్బ! జిం లో ట్రెడ్మిల్లులు, ట్రైనర్లు, ఏసీలు, టీవీలు… అసలు ఏమన్న సరితూగుతాయా?!

మంచి పుస్తకం చదవటం, మనసులో వచ్చిన పిచ్చి అలోచనలని పేపర్ మేద పెట్టటం తరువాత, ఉత్సాహాన్ని, ఉల్లాసాన్ని నింపే పని ఏమైనా ఉందంటే అది నడవటమే. అదీ ట్రెడ్మిల్ మీద కాదు, సహజ వాతావరణానికి దగ్గర్లో.

ఇక నుంచి స్టేడియం పాత నేస్తం కాదు, ప్రియ నేస్తం, రోజు నేను పలకరించటానికి వెళ్ళే నేస్తం. జిం గిం అన్నీ బంద్.

“హల్లో… మాస్టారూ… పాత నేస్తం అంట, కొత్త నేస్తం అంట… గాడిద గుడ్డేం కాదూ? సొల్లు చెప్పమంటే బాగ చెప్తావ్. వెళ్ళనివాడివి అసలు జింలో ఎందుకు జాయిన్ అయినట్టు? డబ్బులు అన్ని ఇలాగే వేస్ట్ చేస్తావ్,” సడన్ గా నా భార్య గొంతు వినబడింది.

తల తిప్పి చూస్తే పిల్లలతో హాయిగా నిద్రపోతోంది. ఓ… భ్రమ పడ్డానా?

“చూద్దాం లేవోయ్ జిమ్ముదేముంది. ఇక డబ్బులంటావా… ఎన్ని వ్రుధా ఖర్చులు చెయ్యటం లేదు మనం. నీకు ఇదొక్కటే కనబడిందా?” అని సమాధానం చెప్పుకున్నా (భ్రమ కాబట్టి సరిపోయింది). 🙂