Sunil Sinha, the author of ‘Guruji’s Ashram’, joins us today to not only talk about himself but also about his book. With a beautifully crafted storyline, ‘Guruji’s Ashram’ is filled with plenty of twists and turns. You can read my review of the same here. So, let us start our conversation with him and try to know him more.
Dear Sunil, first of all, I would like to thank you for giving us your precious time. I really appreciate that. And, now, let us start this conversation by telling us something about you.
I was born in Jamshedpur and brought up in Rourkela, a steel township in Odisha. After completing my B.Sc., I did my M.A. (Public Administration), LLB and MBA. I started my carrier as a Medical Representative and later in my life I started my own business. I was in export business for almost twenty years.
Journey of my life have been full of twist and turns, and challenges, and in spite of it being a roller coaster ride, I enjoyed every moment of it. I believe, some people do things what they have to do and some do things they want to do. I have followed my heart and did things which I loved to do.
I live in Bangalore with my wife and children – Saket and Sristi.
It is really amazing to know that you have so many feathers in your cap. What was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
Frankly, I have never dreamt of becoming a writer; not even in my wildest dreams. Even though I love reading books – both fiction and non-fiction, and the books were my best friends ever since my childhood, I had no idea that one day I would become a writer.
However, when I started writing my first novel ‘Guruji’s Ashram’, I fell in love with writing. That is when I realized that this is what I have been looking for all my life. I decided then that this is what I will do for the rest of my life.
Writing is not an easy job. Isn’t it? So, could you describe the mundane process of writing? Do you follow a regular routine?
Although many may call writing a mundane process, I for one find writing an exciting and thrilling process. Writing is a process in which your mind and heart is filled with excitement, this is the only time when your heart, mind and body are in tandem. I found more peace of mind and tranquility while writing than while doing meditation and pranayama.
I can’t say I follow a regular routine. I spend more time in thinking, researching and planning than in writing. While writing a novel, sometimes I don’t even sit in front of my computer for as long as ten-fifteen days, then one day I write for six-seven hours at a stretch (except for several tea breaks).
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing?
While writing, I get lost in the world of my story. I get in to the soul of the character I am writing about. It is like living a dream.
Is there anything which has influenced your life and writing?
Yes, my search for doing something which could give me real happiness and job satisfaction.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I realized that I can concentrate and control my thoughts while writing, which I failed to achieve even after years of practicing meditation.
It is the story which makes a fiction either good or bad. So, what do you think makes a good story?
A story can be called a good a story only when it can make a reader feel like the events actually happening. A story should give a reader a visual effect as if the reader is watching an interesting movie or living the life of the protagonist.
Are there any occupational hazards of being a writer?
I don’t think so. I write because I love to write.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I read books and watch TV – movies, news, infotainment and various English TV Serials.
Tell us some “Good-to-know” fun-facts about you. What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you?
I love adventure sports. I also love cooking and experimenting with new dishes, and invite friends to enjoy exotic dishes cooked by me; most of the time it turns out to be to an adventure for them and I enjoy watching their faces.
Let us turn our focus to your book. What would you like your readers to know about ‘Guruji’s Ashram’?
‘Guruji’s Ashram’ talks about the facts of life and people’s perception in general. This story is targeted at people who are looking for peace and happiness in their life by following different kinds of so called “Gurus”, without realizing that most of these “Gurus” are in fact doing business and making money in the name of providing some peace of mind and happiness. These “Gurus”, if they stop being greedy and use the money they collect from their devotees/followers for the benefit of people and help society, they can do a lot to uplift poverty and eradicate illiteracy and they could actually provide peace of mind and happiness to millions of people.
You have created so many characters in your ‘Guruji’s Ashram’. Is there one particular character who speaks the loudest to you? Does any of these clamour to be heard over others?
In ‘Guruji’s Ashram’, character of Tapas speaks loudest to me.
What kind of research you generally do for your books?
For me an idea of a story comes from currents events. I make an outline of the story and then do extensive research keeping the story in mind. I take help of newspapers, books and internet.
What, according to you, is the hardest part of writing?
Writing a story is fun. Editing part is tough and time consuming as it is difficult for me to find my own mistakes. The hardest part for new writer, I think, is to reach the book to the readers.
Which part of writing do you enjoy most?
I enjoy researching and collecting information for my story. While collecting information I learn a lot of new things which I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Books generally come with a certain message implanted in them. So, is there any message you want to give through your ‘Guruji’s Ashram’?
Everyone wants a Bhagat Singh but they want him to be from someone else’s house. Very few people take the first step. Through ‘Guruji’s Ashram’ I want to give the message that if a person wants he can single handedly change the world. If we stop being greedy and help others with the resources available with us then we can change the face of the world.
What question (if any) do you wish that someone would ask you about your works, but nobody has so far?
“Why are the Gurus of India not doing what Tapas of your novel did?”
What after ‘Guruji’s Ashram’?
I have almost finished by second novel ‘I am not a Terrorist’ and I have just made an outline for my third and fourth book.
Wow! That is really wonderful. I will eagerly wait for its arrival. Do you have any suggestion to help others become better writers?
I am trying to become a good writer, a writer who gives his readers the feels. I have to walk a long way before I could suggest anyone how become a better writer.
What do you think is the future of writing?
Over the centuries, the number of readers has grown and so has the numbers of writers and it will continue to do so in future too.
Favourite Colour – Red
Favourite Cuisine – Chinese
Favourite book – Freedom at Midnight
Favourite Author – Sidney Sheldon
Favourite quote – “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” by George Bernard Shaw
Favourite movie – Sholey
Favourite Actor – Amitabh Bachchan
Favourite Actress – Katrina Kaif
Dog or cats – Dog
Light or dark – Light
Tea or Coffee – Tea (with lots of Milk and Sugar)
E-reader or print book – Print books
Ball point or fountain pen – Key Board