When flight landed on the (NOT in the) Hudson river

Did you ever experience someone saying something really weird and improbable but days later it actually happened? The famous plane landing on the Hudson river in New York city on January 15, 2009, was one of those experiences to me.

January, 2009 was the period when I just completed my graduation from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and walked into the job market hoping my story would be different during the days when fresh graduates were struggling to hang on to the US economy which was at its worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Just days before the US Airways passenger plane landed on the Hudson river, a friend of mine who was in an equally desperate situation like me said, “Life is just boring and seems to be going nowhere. Something drastic should happen like a plane landing on a river.” He was quick to add, “… but nothing should happen to anyone, everyone should be safe.” And that’s exactly how the famous plane landing on the Hudson river turned out a couple of days later. Not sure how the incidents were connected, not sure if they were connected at all in the first place but I smile at the coincidence whenever I remember.

Just completed watching the biographical movie “SULLY”, based on the surreal flight landing and the aftermath – the role of the captain of that flight played by Tom Hanks and directed by Cling Eastwood, and recollected those days.

Back then it was tough to find a job and it was even tougher spending days waiting to get into one. But I look back at those days with a sense of accomplishment… that I survived, like all the passengers and crew of that plane did.

Watch SULLY, great movie.

Cheers šŸ™‚

P.S. The plane landed on the river, but not crashed into the river, as one of the pilots says in the movie. That’s the inspiration for the blog title.

 

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 šŸ™‚

 

(Book) marketing dilemma!

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During the onlineĀ 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 withĀ 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. SinceĀ I depended largely on direct marketing – directly reaching out to myĀ audience – I had to make lot of choices during our marketing efforts.Ā While making those innumerable choices, these dilemmas constantly bothered me – Will the element of genuineness that we are tryingĀ to imbibe in the marketing efforts affect the competitiveness? Will a particularĀ marketing effortĀ on our sideĀ be a subtleĀ reminder of theĀ book to the audience or will itĀ 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 toĀ push the book further was always there but I chose to dismantle not to bother the group members with messageĀ overload.

Another example – I asked the readers to post their reviews directly on the sites theyĀ 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 respectĀ the readers’ liberty and opinions.Ā Some of theirĀ feedback might help me become a betterĀ 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 theĀ enthusiasm to project ourĀ products/works is the fine line thatĀ 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 readingĀ the GUY ON THE SIDEWALK.

Cheers šŸ™‚

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

Without youā€¦ 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 meā€¦ someone who stood by me throughout, until it came out in book formā€¦

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 ā€“ 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 didnā€™t know why I picked you to talk about this, Sirā€¦ probably because the trust you bestowed on me and the encouragement you gave me as a teacher in my school days, played a subconscious roleā€¦ probably because intuitively I felt I could talk anything with you without being judged (which I believe today)Ā ā€“ I can thoroughlyĀ 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 ā€“ without youā€¦ there is no GUY ON THE SIDEWALK, Sir!

Cheers šŸ™‚

*Ā 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 ā€“

#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 itsĀ 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 backĀ Bihar gave ModiĀ 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 –Ā 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 šŸ™‚