An Interview with Vasant Kallola
Thousand Miles Team in exclusive talk with Vasant Kallola, the author of ‘It’s okay to fail, my son’. Having a vast experience in IT and Corporate world since his young age, Mr. Kallola has accepted everything that life has to offer him. He took all his experiences and the lessons he learnt and jot down a beautiful literary piece for the readers to read. This is what he has say to on our questions:
Thousand Miles: What inspired you to write this book?
Vasant: My son, Viraj. I saw his struggle to score good percentages during 10th and 12th standards. What puzzled me was the fact that, when he was preparing himself for great turning point of his life, why was he feeling stressed instead of feeling excited about it?You can say that, my emotions towards him watching his struggle came out in the form of a book.
Allow me to add: this behaviour is not common to Viraj alone; most of the people I have come across demonstrate similar behaviour of feeling nervous during most crucial moments of lives e.g. appearing for a job interview or giving presentation to chairman of the company.
Thousand Miles:The part where Mr. Bhattacharya breaks down is a really impressive one. Have you experienced same kind of character in your real life?
Vasant: Yes. In my school days, I had a teacher who had gone through Bhattacharya kind of tragedy in his life i.e. losing the only son even after donating his kidney to the ailing son. I was not mature enough to feel the pain and agony of a father at that time, but his life incident got engraved in my mind.
Thousand Miles: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Vasant: Human emotions, which define relationships and determine our behaviours. My expertise is on ‘Mind Toughness Techniques’ which enable achieving impossible by people with ordinary background.
Thousand Miles: As a writer what would you chooseas your mascot / avatar / spirit animal?
Vasant: My spirit animal is an Elephant. He is Big; Intelligent; Powerful yet Lovable. He knows no fears, is very sharp in mind and memory and yet does not intimidate smaller animals.
Thousand Miles: Your book is very inspiring. Should it be sent to school principals for getting an idea on how to make studies interesting?
Vasant: Certainly. The chapter in story – ‘Work together, build together’ where Rahul Saxena guides Dr. Amit Mahajan when he publicly ridicules his son, Ameya Mahajan for not answering a question is tested by me. And we often come across parents, teachers venting out their frustration on children in some way or the other. The most common way of venting out the negativity among elders is put down the child through hurting words or sometimes even physical punishments.
I would suggest everyone concerned with education and upbringing of children to read this book, as it covers in great detail psychological aspects of the students. I must add some schools have gone extra miles in adopting the content and put it in practice. One school in remote area of Tamil Nadu got so much inspired with the book that, their teachers and students prepared a play based on book’s story on school’s annual day function. I am overwhelmed to see such kind of belief and dedication.
Thousand Miles: ‘You must learn to accept the failure with same ease as you would normally accept the success’ Please explain.
Vasant: You see, as per human psychology, all our actions are driven by two fundamental factors: Desire to Gain and Fear of Loss. So for every action that we take, we either have the desire to gain something or a fear of losing something, which we want to prevent.
Out of these two factors, fear of losing is more powerful. A fearful mind will only strive to achieve the results that are necessary to address the fear, like in the case of a student; he will work towards scoring marks adequate enough to help him pass the exams.
But, this fear or negativity shackles the creativity of mind, which is essential for achieving bigger success or excellence. In other words, fear of failure / loss acts as a big block in your journey towards excellence. Excellence is the result of your work which you enjoy doing and you are passionate about continuously improving your own standard of performance. So, you need to consciously replace fear of failure with joy of doing things passionately.
Thousand Miles: At some places one feels that book has been written with Bollywood film in mind, do you think?
Vasant: No. The book has not been written with any Bollywood influence. But still, you may find some instances such as Madhuri falls in love with Rahul or Rahul taking head on confrontation with Dagdu, a local don, to free one of his students who was abused by the don, may sound Bollywood style, but such incidents do happen in our day to day lives. Every individual chooses different way of facing the situations.
Thousand Miles: What was your hardest scene to write?
Vasant: Rahul’s grief on learning that his beloved son, Sachin, has consumed poison and tried committing suicide. I was in tears while writing this scene.
Thousand Miles: Do you Google yourself?
Vasant: Yes, I do keep in touch with my readers. As a matter of fact, I receive 8 – 10 mails from readers every week. They give honest feedback / review of the book. I must tell you that, I am overwhelmed with the love and affection my book has got from the readers. Plus, there are many milestones that book has achieved since its launch like featuring in top 5 selling books on Flipkart in Bangalore (no. 1), Delhi ( no. 2) and Mumbai (no. 4) in The Economic Times – Flipkart survey titled – ‘What India Reads’.
Thousand Miles: What are the most difficult things about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Vasant: To portray female characters in a negative shade. My belief is women are the most beautiful thing to happen to us! I have been very fortunate with women in my life; my wife, mother, sisters, teachers and friends. They all have been so good, so to imagine a character just opposite to my own experiences is the difficult thing.
Thousand Miles: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Vasant: Fortunately, I did not have to struggle much to get my creation published. After writing the manuscript, Times Group Books was the first and last publisher I met. They liked the subject and agreed to publish it.
However, the overwhelming success and love showered by the readers on my first book ‘It’s okay to fail, my son’ has made me work for even better creations, so that way my approach to writing has changed. My next creation must meet raised level of expectations my readers will have from me.
Thousand Miles: Which famous person living or dead you would like to meet and why?
Vasant:(Smilingly) I love and adore many people, so choosing only one from that is a real challenge! Still if I have to go ahead and choose the one, then my answer is Lord Rama. Given a choice, I would like to go back 5000 years in history and meet this amazing person! I want to understand his mindset; how can one be so powerful yet so much humble! Much knowledgeable yet so much knowledge seeker! A real lover yet so much principled! The list of characteristics is endless. The more I think about him, the more I get amazed.
Thousand Miles: Your thoughts on being featured in ‘Exploring India’ issue of our magazine ‘Thousand Miles’.
Vasant: It is really a pleasure and privilege to be associated with your reputed and loved magazine. I wish you success in all your endeavours to give best in class reading material to your readers.